A comparison of learner driver instruction and coaching

Driving Instruction

Traditionally driving instructors have used a do this do that method of driving instruction regardless of the students ability or learning style. Driving instructors were trained to identify faults, analyse the reason faults occurred and to provide a solution. This method of training was totally instructor lead and forced instructor views and methods upon a student who may see things or learn in a completely different way. Because students were not actively involved in the learning process and encouraged to think for themselves or find their own solutions it often took them longer to learn and limited the development of driver responsibility.

Driver Coaching

Coaching is a client centred approach to learning to drive which adapts communication techniques to suit the student and follows a goal centred approach where a student may set the agenda for the lesson therefore maintaining control of what they learn and when. Students are encouraged to take responsibility for their decisions by analysing, regulating and controlling their own progress, questioning their own beliefs and realising solutions for themselves. However a safe controlled learning environment needs to be maintained and to ensure a students goal is realistic the instructor may guide a conversation based on eliciting feedback. This is accomplished by asking students, for example, to scale their performance from 1 to 10, justify the scale given, suggest methods of developments and to decide the level of help, support they need from the instructor.

What’s the most effective method for improving road safety?

Having discontinued traditional instructing techniques, Steve Kingham from Kinghams Driving School in Bournemouth now recommends coaching as the most effective method for driver training and improving road safety because it provides the driving instructor/coach with an array of tools and methods to help the learner driver progress more quickly, understand their feelings and how it affects their driving and increases their ability to understand and recognise risk so that the high rate of accidents among young drivers may be avoided. Coaching is client centred and therefore rests the responsibility of learning with the student.

The tools and methods that form the basis of this recommendation are:

  1. Effective listening: Important to gain knowledge of students understanding, attitudes and proposed actions to a situation.
  2. Rapport: A nonjudgemental and equal relationship with a student to allow free discussion of their thoughts and feelings which may affect their attitude and their ability to learn.
  3. Questioning: Effective at eliciting feedback to determine a student’s goals, their thoughts on progress and past experiences and to help them self-determine a plan of action to increase their learning.
  4. Positive Structured Feedback: Feedback given by the instructor must be positive, honest, specific to the situation, measured and warranted.
  5. Intuition: A coaches gut feeling is an invaluable tool which may be important to get to something a student can’t express or reason. Equally encouraging a students to use their that feeling in or about certain situations can increase understanding and enhance confidence and the learning process.

As coaching requires an equal relationship of trust and respect between teacher and student, a coach becomes more of a role model which addresses a problem where students adopt risky behaviours and poor driving attitudes from friends or relatives.

End Post

If you have any questions or want advice about driving lessons please visit Kinghams Driving school or phone Steve Kingham on 07749 621632.

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