Many ADIs are concerned with how the Risk Management section of the Standards Check needs to be met. Today's blog will hopefully make the requirements a little clearer.
In the Standards Check guidelines in the ADI 1 Standard Operating Procedure, it states:
The ‘balance of responsibility’, between the pupil and the ADI, will inevitably vary in different circumstances. For example, compare the following two scenarios:
a) A pupil in the very early stages of their training, in a car fitted with dual controls.
In this situation it might be reasonable for an ADI to start a lesson by saying something like:
‘At all times I expect you to drive as carefully and responsibly as possible. I will expect you to be aware of other road users and to control the car. However, I do have the ability to take control of the car in an emergency. I will only use these controls when I feel that you are not dealing with the situation yourself. If that happens we will take some time to talk about what happened so that you understand for next time.’
b) A pupil who has passed their driving test but has asked you to give them some additional training in their own car, which is much bigger and more technically advanced than the one they learnt in.
In this situation an ADI might say something like:
‘You have passed your test and I will therefore assume that you are taking full responsibility for our safety. I will be talking to you from time to time but I will try to keep that to a minimum so that I don’t distract you. If I am quiet don’t worry; that just means I am comfortable with what you are doing. I will, of course, let you know if I see any risk that you appear to have missed.’
This statement, or something similar is very important, however there is more to responsibility of risk that a mere statement at the beginning of a lesson.
At The Beginning
If, for example the ADI has been working with approaching and emerging at junctions and their topic for the lesson is how to deal with roundabouts. How will the responsibility for risk be shared? What can the student be reasonably expected to be responsible for?
This will depend on their previous experiences. If they were dealing with junctions really well on their own on the last lesson then it may be reasonable to suggest that they try these independently with a little help at first just to get them warmed up. Or, if they still needed a little help last time you may start with a full talk through and then follow up with a few questions.
Who will be responsible for the areas that they know nothing about yet? This is the responsibility of the ADI, so a great deal of help will be needed here.
However the sharing of risk is divided, this must be agreed by the student, but this agreement does not need to be set in stone for the duration of the lesson. Ultimately the ADI is responsible for the safety of the car, occupants and other road users, so if you need to take a bit of responsibility back (more help), or indeed give the student a bit more responsibility (less help), then this must be discussed and agreed with the student.
On The Move
Risk should also be managed on the move. Keeping the roundabouts topic as an example, the ADI needs to use Q&A to manage risk in other areas of development, not just on roundabouts, for example:
At junctions: "Tell me when you think it's safe to go"
At the brow of a hill: "What are you preparing for as you approach the brow"
Meeting situations: "How will you know if the vehicle ahead is going to hold back"
These are just some examples but there are of course many more.
When does a situation become safety critical?
The easy answer to this is when the ADI has to intervene either verbally or physically to avoid danger.
The above question examples are a 'call to action', and gives the student an opportunity to demonstrate that they are dealing with the potential danger, the ADI expects the correct response, but what happens if the student does not respond in the expected way? The ADI needs to then respond verbally by telling the student what they need to do. If the student does not respond to the instruction, the ADI would then need to take control by maybe using the dual controls.
If an intervention by the ADI, either verbally or physically, is necessary then it is imperative that the student has an opportunity to discuss the situation and the ADI helps them to come up with a solution of how to deal with similar situations in the future and not just ignore the issue as if it never happened!! Give them lots of help.
The next question the ADI needs to ask themselves is:
Will this situation affect the success of the student to achieve their learning outcomes for this lesson?
Yes? Change the lesson plan
No? Ask the student if they wish to change the lesson plan
For example: A lesson on how to deal with roundabouts has been agreed, the student has tried to emerge at a junction unsafely. Here the lesson plan must be changed.
However, if their lesson plan is to improve their reverse around a corner and they had the same problem, the lesson plan does not necessarily need to be changed but the student must be given the choice. If their choice is to continue with the original plan, in this instance this is completely acceptable but, help will be required to prevent the same issue reoccurring. In other words you must agree what help is required if the same situation arises.
So we can see that the responsibility for risk continues throughout the driving lesson and is shared by agreement between ADI and student. If the responsibility for risk shifts this must be discussed and agreed.
I hope this helps to clarify the this section of the Standards Check and I wish all of you who are awaiting the day the very best of luck.
If I can help anyone to prepare for the Standards Check please do not hesitate to contact me on my mobile 07714440800 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
the 2nd December 2015 I took my Standards Check and received an 'A' Grade with 50/51. This month's blog is about my experience in the hope that it may help others.
I don't teach many learner drivers, in fact at present I have one student, most of my work is in ADI development and fleet work. As I spend my time delivering Standards Check Training, ADI development courses and Driving Instructor training, I was feeling the pressure to perform in a way that was a good representation of my knowledge and understanding.
I managed to convince my student to take the morning off work in return for 3, 1 hour driving lessons free of charge, well worth it in my opinion. I also had a backup student a friend of mine who is a FLH, in case my student let me down at the last minute.
The lesson before the Standards Check we were working on Clutch Control, Up/Down Hill starts and the Turn in the Road. During the lesson it became evident that my student was not using her mirrors consistently. During reflection at the end of the lesson goals were set for the Standards Check, developing the Turn in The Road, improving accuracy and using her mirrors more consistently.
The evening before the date my student text me " I am feeling awful, I have caught my boyfriend's cold but don't worry I won't let you down. See you in the morning." My heart stopped momentarily, but at least I had been pre-warned that my student may not have the concentration that I would expect from her normally.
The awaited day arrived and I picked my student up at 09.30. She was standing outside her house, nose and eyes streaming and coughing. I asked her if she still felt up for it and she said "Yes of course, provided we can stop if I need to blow my nose or have a coughing fit,. I didn't take any medication this morning as I would be driving" I reassured her that we could and we set off to the test centre.
On arrival at the test centre, my student chose to wait in the car while I went to meet the examiner. The examiner wanted to see my ADI badge and said that she initially thought that my ADI number had been printed incorrectly as it only had 5 numbers!! I told the examiner a bit of information about my student and had printed of a copy of the reflective log and mind map from our previous lesson so that she had an idea of what had been discussed and how my student had decided her goals for the lesson.
Once in the car, I asked my student to get herself comfortable and to tell me how she was setting her mirrors to gain the best view. I then asked her to tell me about her last lesson and referred back to the mind map and reflective log.
I then reaffirmed her goals with her. I asked her if she had ever had passengers in the car and how this may affect her when she is driving? I also asked her who was responsible for ensuring that her passengers are wearing their seatbelts and had their head restraints adjusted correctly? I then asked my student how much help she would like with the roundabout and junctions on route to site and she said that she would like to try them without help. I then confirmed this, and explained about the sharing of risk, pointing out that I had dual controls and that if I needed to use them. we could discuss the issue so that she could manage the situation better the next time.
OK so the goals were set, risk & responsibility sharing had been discussed and we were ready to start. I did this by asking questions to test her knowledge and understanding regarding her use of mirrors. I then asked her how much help she would like on the move, it was agreed that I would prompt her, in a way that would give her the reasons to check. This was agreed, as was her need to tell me if she needed to pull over to blow her nose or cough.
My student blew her nose loudly, apologised to the examiner and off we went. That's where the problems began!!!
On leaving the test centre car park, my student over steered and clipped the kerb, dealt with it on the move, turned left, emerged left, so far so good but did notice that my student was struggling to get her feet off the pedals cleanly.
Turned right at a roundabout, she was struggling a tiny bit so just asked her a couple of closed questions. As she accelerated and started to change up through the gears it became more apparent that she had not set her seat properly and was sitting too close to the pedals, we agreed to find somewhere safe to pull up and adjust her seat. We turned left from the main road and she took the turning so wide that we ended up on the wrong side of the road. I had risk assessed it before I allowed it to happen, we then pulled up opposite parked cars with a lorry coming into the junction behind us. I asked her if she was happy with where she had chosen to stop and she decided to move a bit further down the road to allow room for the lorry to get past us.
We then discussed her seat position and how important it is to get this right and also the left hand turn. All of this I could draw from her as I had allowed her to experience it safely. We also reviewed her mirror work as we had been working on this on route. I asked her if she wanted to work on her junctions now and if so we would put the turning in the road on hold till a later time. She wanted to work on the junctions, speed on approach and steering, this was agreed along with how much help she required from me. We set off.
The next junction was a give way, she was still doing this independently, as agreed, however her clutch went down far too early, the car too fast. I asked a question, Do you need to slow down to walking pace? I instructed 'Stop', I hit the dual brake. It was a closed junction with cars parked in the new road making it difficult to see, and she was going to emerge unsafely. We were emerging to the right and we had a car turning into our road from the left who had held back to allow us to get out of the junction. I got her out of the junction and asked her to choose somewhere to pull over. We discussed why this was a safer place than the last place she chose to pull over and then discussed the last emerge.
She said that she could see through the parked car's windows, that it was clear and that as the other car was waiting for her she needed to get out quickly. I challenged these beliefs through questioning and during the conversation she divulged that the reason the clutch was down too early was because she had a fear of stalling. We now had another conversation about the workings of the clutch.
So now we are working on turning left, emerging at closed junctions & mirrors. We have agreed that I would take some responsibility back by talking her through her junctions, and give back some responsibility by her using her mirrors independently unless I noticed that she wasn't using them, in which case I would prompt her.
OK, now everything was back under control, until I asked her to turn right at a 'Y' shaped junction, yes she took the left fork to turn right. Another conversation!!
Time was now ticking by and I had about 7 minutes to get back to the test centre, no choice but to emerge right onto a busy 'A' road. I talked her up to the junction and then asked her what she was looking for? and to tell me when she thought it was safe. I confirmed when she did and we emerged really well. From then on I agreed with my student that I would now only prompt her if required as we approached & emerged at junctions, she did really well until the final left turn, so I immediately jumped in again to keep her safe. This junction was very close to the entrance to the test centre car park which she needed to turn left into, I continued to talk her safely into the car park, but forgot to tell her we were turning left!! Hence I lost a mark.
Once safely parked up, I asked her how she felt the lesson had gone? Had she achieved her goals? Then filled out a new reflective log, What went well? What not so well? How can I improve? Then set goals for the next lesson.
The rest is history.
We all have experience of driving on today's roads and the frustrations that come with it. How do our emotions affect the way that we behave behind the wheel? How many times today have you called out in the privacy of your vehicle "Idiot, what are you playing at?" Do we ever consider why another driver is behaving in a particular way, or just put it down to poor driving skills? Or, do we attach emotions to the behaviour, without actually knowing what these emotions are?
Our thoughts/beliefs, feelings/emotions and behaviour are inextricably linked. As human beings we cannot function without all of these elements and change to one of these elements will affect the others.
We already know that how we are feeling can change our behaviour behind the wheel and our emotions can sometimes make us behave totally 'out of character'. If we have had an argument with someone this may make us more aggressive on the road, leading to tailgating, speeding, going for unsuitable gaps and not being as courteous as we would normally be. If we have just had some great news, this too could cause us problems, being too courteous, not making progress, speeding etc. One thing that these emotions have on all of us is that they can be distracting and make us behave in a way that not only has an effect on the way that we drive but also others on the road.
The first step for us is to recognise our own emotions, and how they make us act behind the wheel, and then to be aware that they will make other drivers act in very a similar way.
So the next time someone 'cuts you up', is tailgating you, pulls out in front of you or holds you up, consider not just the behaviour, but also what may be going on in their lives at the moment which may have causing this behaviour, try to hold back the judgement. Don't take it personally, it may have nothing to do with you!!
Drive safe! Be chilled :-)
This blog is a little different to my previous ones, I think they call it reader participation. I would love you to reflect on the questions below and maybe give some advice to other readers.
When THAT letter drops through your letter box inviting us to attend a Standards Check how do you feel? I know that I have had several Checks and sat many exams in my lifetime and that initial feeling is always the same.
So, how or what do you do to calm your nerves? If you were giving advice as if to someone else what would you say?
Most of our students feel the same about driving tests, what advice do you give them? Is it the same as you would give yourself or something different?
Where once upon a time my worry was mainly about MY performance, I am now more concerned about the needs of my student and how they may cope in a similar situation. By understanding ourselves we can have a better understanding of others, and therefore help them to become more aware of themselves. How do you go about achieving this?
Please feel free to leave a comment below, I would be interested in your thoughts.
Since that experiment, and of course with a more client-centred approach, I no longer look at my diary and think "Oh no, why did I do that?" I now have a diary full of students who are as keen to learn as I am keen to train. So if you ever find yourself doing lots of left hand turns and avoiding right turns, try out the experiment, see how it works for you and your students.
I remember starting senior school (Yes I have got a good memory),I considered myself to be fairly intelligent, I had done quite well at Junior school and I was feeling excited about a new school and my future prospects. I was following in my sister's footsteps, she had been at the school for 2 years and I was looking forward to joining her.
The day came, my new school uniform pristine, shoes shiny, feeling apprehensive about the prospect but also raring to go. Then it happened, the first question that I was asked was "Are you so and so's sister"? Unbeknown to me, my sister had a reputation of being a trouble maker, uninterested in school, with no motivation to learn. From that day on, I was treated as though I were my sister and lo and behold, after just a few months I started to behave as I was expected to. I did just enough and no more, I became a low achiever, capable of much more. My reports had a familiar ring to them "Diane has the ability but doesn't use it", I wonder why?
This experience has stood me in good stead being a driving instructor. Imagine the scenario you are sitting outside a new student's house, the front door opens and you see them for the first time. Maybe you know nothing about them or maybe you have taught their relation or friend, What is running through your mind at that moment?
Sometimes, before they have even reached the car we start to judge what they are like, what sort of personality they might be, what their background is, what their social standing is, who their friends might be, if they are a student or what job they do. Are they sporty or a 'couch potato' and so on, and so on. mentally we categorise them into types of student.
If a student turns up in scruffy clothes, do be believe that they will be unreliable? Do our students judge us in the same way?
How does this thought process affect the way that we interact with them? Is it possible that this may change the way that we treat them? Do our expectations of certain types of students turn them into that type of student?
Being judgemental can be so destructive to the learning environment. Being non-judgemental allows our students to open up to us and allows us to really get to know who they are, not who we perceive them to be. We, in turn will not be influenced by who we 'think' they are, improving the way that we interact and relate to them, without expectations.
I believe that I would have been more likely to reach my potential in school had I had been treated in this way and not prejudged........ Just a thought !!
How often have you asked someone "How did your day go?" and never really heard the answer, or asked your student "How has your week been?" while sorting out your lesson plans. If you're anything like I used to be, all the time. How does it make you feel when someone does this to you?
If you want your student to feel valued and that what they have to say is important, then you need to learn how to 'actively' listen. This is not just a matter of of not 'butting' in, although this is a very important part, it is actually listening to your student's words and body language to hear what they are actually saying AND showing them that you are listening. The following flowchart shows what qualities are required when actively listening.
Listen very carefully to what your students says to you, don't interrupt!! As a traditional driving instructor it was quite normal for me to ask questions and before listening to the complete answer, start to formulate the next question in my head.
Make your body language open and inviting and show an interest in what they are saying. Give them opportunities to
expand or correct what you think they said by paraphrasing or repeating back or, ask questions to clarify certain points if you want more information. Treat them as they would like to be treated.
Before I honed my active listening skills I missed so much really important information, I am now learning as much from my students as they learn from me. We are neither their parent nor their friend, and yet if we give them the opportunity to talk to us and feel appreciated it may be the only time that they can truly be themselves.
It is something that we can practice in and out of the car. Next time your other half gets home, ask them "How was your day?" really listen to what they have to say. However use wisely, you don't want them to think that you're after something do you?
Have fun with it, Happy Coaching and
As 2014 comes to an end, I feel that this would be a good time to look back and reflect on what a great year it has been.
Over the year I have met some very forward thinking ADIs and have learnt almost as much as they have, through the enlightened discussions we have had. It has been an absolute pleasure to travel around the country delivering 'Tri-Coaching Partnership's' aCCeLerate BTEC Level 3 Advanced Award in Coaching for Driver Development, and it makes me very happy to receive the ADIs feedback in what a difference this is making to their passion in driver training, and indeed to the enjoyment their students are getting from a more client-centred approach.
For those ADIs who wanted continuous development of their skills, and to meet like-minded trainers of all levels, to discuss solutions to day to day challenges, we have held low cost monthly meetings where these trainers have developed and taken strides in becoming confident with coaching/ccl. In 2015, we look forward to these popular meetings growing in numbers, gaining even more insight and input.
I congratulate all the PDIs who have reached their goal this year in becoming qualified ADIs, all the work that you put in has finally come to fruition. i wish you well in your new career!!
This year has also brought about changes in the way we are assessed, changing from the 'Old' Check Test to the New Standards Check. This has brought about many debates on the usual forums, and for some the jury is still out as to whether this is an improvement or not. In my opinion, it is a much more rounded method of assessment allowing ADIs to do what they do far more naturally. From the feedback that I have received over the year, many who I have helped make sense of it, have enjoyed the process. It is of course too early to know if changing the way we teach is making a difference to road safety, but it is my belief that it ultimately will if we keep producing drivers who think for themselves, self evaluate, reflect and take ownership of their learning.
Who knows what 2015 will bring, but whatever it is I wish you all a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR with Good Health, Wealth and Happiness.
Happy Coaching !!