17: Control of the Lesson

Warning – this unit was last revised in 2007

Unit 17: Control of the Lesson

Research Material:
The Driving Instructor’s Handbook

“Deals with the overall control of the lesson and the interaction processes within it. Directions must be clear and given at the correct time. Instruction should be given in good time to help the pupil respond to the situation at hand. Instructions must relate to the prevailing road and traffic conditions. This has strong links with the ‘Core competencies’, ‘level of instruction’, and ‘Feedback and encouragement’.” – From the examiner’s marking guidelines (ADI1)

Planning and observing everything around you – while being fully aware of what your customer is doing takes huge concentration. When it works it is great, but when it starts to go wrong it feels like you are having to constantly catch up with yourself. Your instruction becomes more frantic, less planned, and everyone gets stressed – at this point you know you need a break, and your customer will as well. Control is about creating those breaks and using them constructively – to learn and to get ahead of things, rather than trying to catch up.

Fault analysis is often the first thing to go by the wayside. It takes brain power and it is often hard to judge whether it should be done on the move, or whether parking up is necessary.

If a fault occurs which is a safety concern and your customer is in any way unsure about what happened, why it happened, or how to deal with it if it happens again – pull over.

While learning to drive – certainly in the early stages – much of the brain’s concentration is focussed inside the car, on the use of the controls – this often means that remembering circumstances, and thinking through consequences will take away concentration from the control of the car. This is when stopping is necessary. Often you will be alerted to this when you start to analyse the mistake, and you will find that your customer will frown, ‘um’ and ‘err’, and generally show that they need to stop in order to think things through. The more worrying effect is that they might transfer all of the thought process from the control of the car to the analysis of the problem, and you will find that you are heading rapidly into trouble!

Often customers will think that being pulled over is a bad thing. Remind them that there are different processes going on, there is the acquisition of knowledge, practice of the skill, and learning how to deal with real life situations. Time spent at the side of the road is time spent learning – a positive thing.

Make sure that you stop as soon as is safe after a safety issue has arisen – talking about the problem ‘at that roundabout about a mile back’ is liable to get the answer ‘erm, which one?’. Fix things while they are fresh in the mind.

Many faults are minor, and depending on circumstances will have no effect on safety – these can and often should be dealt with by question and answer on the move.

Discussion Points:
Alert (Fault ID) on the move – pull over as soon as is safe
Fault analysis then allow them the chance to correct it
Ensure that parking up is positive
Fault analysis on the move – safely and constructively

Exercises:
Your trainer will role-play faults which you will need to use your core competencies on. You will need to decide whether you can or should fix them on the move or by pulling over

Approaching junctions to turn left or right

Gear problems

Clutch control problems

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