Sunday, 10 August 2014
Develop Your Skills as a Driving Instructor
We're getting towards the end of the National Standards document and what a journey of learning it has been so far. I'm going to skip unit 6.4.3. as it relates to health and safety issues in the workplace and seems more geared towards larger organisations rather than the solo driving instructor. Besides keeping your car clean and well serviced there's not a lot to be done within our working environment.
Unit 6.5.1. Is much more useful as it relates to the continued professional development of driving instructors. A subject close to all our hearts. the first item of the performance standards column tells us we must identify the skills, knowledge and understanding needed to be a driving instructor and evaluate our performance against this standard. I take my criteria straight from the official texts such as The Driving Instructor's Handbook and the official DVSA books. If you're teaching this then you can't go wrong. I hear some instructors argue against some of the points made in the books and choose to do things differently but that's not for me. Methods of teaching will differ between instructors but the overall syllabus must remain a constant I say. We've all got to conform to legal requirements too or there'll be trouble ahead.
Keeping up to date with changes in the industry and adapting to any changes is extremely important. I tend to get my information from the driving instructor trade magazines which can often be found lurking around the test centre. There's a lot of repeat content in these magazines so a quick scan read usually picks up any points of interest. the main changes have been in the areas of marketing and client-centred learning in recent times.
We need to get feedback on such matters using training records of previous pupils. I don't keep mine. When they've passed I throw the records away. My scruffy writing makes for hard reading and I'd never look at them again. We can get advice from managers if we have a manager or from our instructor colleagues. I find instructors are loath to criticize or offer advice to each other. Most talk in test centres is anecdotal and tends to back up an instructor no matter if they are right or wrong. Nobody likes to be confrontational.
We need to identify any gaps in our knowledge and set objectives for our ongoing development. I'm all for a bit of self improvement but as we all work in isolation it can be difficult to see where the gaps are. I tend to seek feedback from pupils by letting them set the agenda for the lesson. They come up with some good ideas sometimes which I take on board. There are plenty of training events conducted nationwide but they are usually on a working day and tend to be far away making them difficult to attend. I really must make the effort to attend one of these roadshow events at some point.
Keeping a reflective log is a technique used in many a professional environment. I tend to keep a small notebook handy. I write down a quick note of anything of interest that I've seen or heard which then gives me blog ideas. I try to learn by writing this, see. It means I have to do a bit of research and find things out. You could say that this is my reflective blog!