Core competencies

Core competencies are at the heart of any DSA test and are a sound and proven way of dealing with faults. DTE-ELITE Elite has a simple ELearning course on these competencies but I will give a brief reminder of the functions of each here.
Fault identification
Without Fault identification (FI) the analysis and remedy cannot take place. Learn to give route direction to your pupil and look at them then watch your pupil through either the MSPSL or POM routine for each of the core elements. If you look for each element of Mirrors, Signal, Position, Speed and then look at where THEY look you will see the faults. Likewise looking for the Preparation (control), Observation and the Move (Accuracy) you will see these faults. There are no other faults to spot. No matter what the subject, your only decision is which routine MSPSL (procedural) or POM (stationary to moving). Practice looking for faults with these routines and you will be able to spot every fault, first time, every time.

Fault Analysis
Having spotted the fault it is now time for the analysis (FA). This, in my opinion, is the most misunderstood of all the competencies. What you need to know first when a fault has occurred is why this fault happened. Is it a lack of knowledge, insufficient skill or down to attitude? So first ask either a ‘what, where, when, how or who’ question. It is best to avoid a ‘why’ question at this stage. The ‘why’ question requires more thought from your pupil and therefore may not be appropriate or well-timed yet.
Your pupil fails to check their left door mirror when turning left.
FI  You did not check your mirror there Bob.
FA  What mirrors do we check to turn left Bob?

Now your pupil can only give you one of two answers, a correct one or a wrong one. If he gives the correct one then a few prompts for the next junctions would suffice. A wrong answer here and we would probably pull over and have a little chat as knowledge is missing. So;

Pupil Your pupil fails to check their left door mirror when turning left.
Instructor You did not check your mirror there Bob.
Instructor what mirrors do we check to turn left Bob?
Pupil Oh sorry the centre and left mirror (correct)
Instructor Take the next road on the left and what mirrors will you use Bob? (Prompted remedy)

Had the answer to the analysis question had been wrong then pull over and have a chat about mirrors.

Remedial action
You have seen here that the remedial action (RA) is directly linked to the answer to the analysis question. This makes it much easier to keep control of the lesson. However, what of the ‘why’ question? The Driving Instructors Handbook (2009) says ‘remember to make the remedy effective and use the why question’. Here you can clearly see that the why question is part of remedy and not analysis. A pupils needs to know what it is they should do first, and then learn the why. There is little point in a pupil knocking a cyclist off a bike because they did not know what mirrors to check but did know why!! The why question is a deeper question and requires more thought so the best time to ask these are in quieter traffic moments or at the side of the road. Too many trainers try asking pupils ‘why’ questions, which can risk overloading a novice pupil while they try to negotiate junctions etc.

Remember to ask the why questions when there is time and not when the pupil is busy thinking about negotiating a traffic situation.

Work your way through the levels until your pupil can complete the task independently of you. It is a good idea to use ‘soft prompts’ with your pupil, such as ‘I will let you do your MIRRORS on your own at the next junction’. Substitute mirrors with whatever you are letting them do on their own.

This is a brief recap of core competencies, if you need further help then book onto the ‘Beyond Part Three’ courses or ‘Part Three Rescue’ courses as appropriate.

Driving assessment forms
Ensure you use some form of Driving Assessment for to record the pupil’s progress. Whether you use paper or electronic is up to you but it is important that your pupil and their parents can see how they are doing. Many disputes have been resolved easily by the use of these and many problems caused by the lack of them. 1st 4 Driving associates get an online record app that allows them to record each lesson as it is done and the pupil has their own login to view their progress and show their parents. Most pupils love this as they can access it at any time and do not need to carry round paperwork. The instructor too has this information readily available and cuts down on paperwork. Associates are covered by 1st 4 Driving data protection act registration.