Thinking is too hard for some learners

Cartoon image, thinking...too hard!

Do your learners find thinking too hard?  If so, do they like you to give them full instruction so they don't have to think?  Full instruction works well for some, so long as the instruction is gradually removed, and has been the cornerstone of driving instruction ever since the driving test was first introduced!  But now, as you are aware, things are moving on and client-centred learning is to be expected from ADI's during their check tests, to be known as the Standards Check, from April next year.

But what exactly does 'client-centred' mean?  Well it actually means putting the client at the centre of the learning process rather than the instructor. This can lead to more of a 'coaching' style, allowing the learners themselves to take the lead, dictating the pace of the learning, the focus of the learning, possibly the location for the learning and the assessment of the learning. In other words, it is the learner taking the lead on the lesson brief, the core competencies, feedback and goals for the following lesson.  In order to achieve this, the instructor has to become proficient in leading the learner along a learning path about which they start off knowing varying amounts, bringing with them a whole array of beliefs about the driving task. Each learner has their own preferred learning style and personality traits which the instructor must accommodate within his/her preferred learning style and personality! So the ability to ask coaching questions, then listen actively to the replies, are essential skills to be developed. To help you, Ed Marshall has delivered 3 coaching webinars since the Dile launched:

  1. The Benefits of Eliciting Positive Structured Feedback
  2. Active Listening Skills
  3. Developing and Maintaining a Coaching Relationship

All of these webinars are available to watch at any time in the site video library.  Ed's next webinar, scheduled for Nov 20th, will cover learning styles.  

However, this does not necessarily mean traditional instruction is thrown out, far from it!  There will inevitably be times when instruction is needed for safety reasons, and there will be those pupils who need to be instructed, often because they are nervous and need the 'prop' of being told what to do whilst they are battling to overcome their nerves.

Recently I had a pupil who had been insistent that she had to learn for herself, by simply 'doing it', her preferred learning style. The VAK questionnaire I give out, which gives a crude but helpful result, echoed her needs, showing her to be strongly kinaesthetic and visual as a learner.  So, I have conducted her lessons to suit this, allowing her to carry out the tasks in a suitable practice area, using Neil Beaver's app 'Road Board' to help her to assess her own progress.  Last lesson, however, she was very moody and impatient with herself and decided she didn't like learning to drive any more because she didn't like thinking!  She declared she was not capable of thinking, which was the reason she attends a private school which caters for pupils who prefer to take vocational courses.  I offered to switch to full instruction, but she was having none of that, she had to 'learn by doing'.  So, she wants to learn by 'doing', but doesn't want to evaluate her own learning, nor does she want the trainer to do so. The trainer asking questions designed to lead her to the solutions she needs was making her think too much!

So, how would you handle this situation?  Have you had a pupil like this?  If so, how did you solve the problem?  Please use the comments box below to share your thoughts and experience on this.

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