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 !!
"When I want to, I perform better than when I have to. I want to for me, I have to for you. Self motivation is a matter of choice" Sir John Whitmore - Coaching for Performance
Traditional driving instruction does not allow the student to take ownership of their learning, as the student remains a passive learner. The instructor sets the 'Aims & Objectives' for the training session. This form of learning is Driving Instructor - led and the students' motivation is to pass a DVSA Driving Test and the Driving Instructor helps them to achieve this. The student learns because they have to.
In a Coaching, Client-Centred approach the student is encouraged to set their own goals for the session. Putting them right in the centre of their learning, helping them to take ownership and responsibility for it. The motivation is now to achieve their goals that have been set by them, because they want to.
Goal setting is a process that should be inclusive of the student but is more than merely asking " So, what would you like to do today?" and then accepting whatever they say, providing it's within their capability, by saying "OK then, so let's go and do it then"
For example, if a student has asked to try a Turning in the Road it needs to be established what skills they already have and what skills they need in order to complete the Turn in the Road. Then which of these skills is it most important to learn/achieve first. How will they use these skills? What in particular would they like to focus on during the Turning in the Road, the control of the car?, getting round in 3?, to be more aware of what is going on around them? So now we are getting down to the specific needs of our students. This is starting to set the goals for the lesson. There could be several goals in a driving session, particularly if it is 1.5 - 2 hours in duration.
So next time you are setting goals with your student, consider is this really a Goal?