It must be 14 years ago now when, as a full time driving instructor trainer, I began to realise how people were struggling with their driving instructor training.
Back then I worked for The Instructor College full-time and saw between 4 and 8 trainees every single day. So many were struggling with the part three test yet to me, it seemed very easy. The teaching materials provided by the College were vague to say the least – a series of drawings put together in a book for each of the pre-set-tests (PSTs). Many of you will remember that back then, the part three test simply consisted of memorising a set of ten lessons where you would have to show two from the ten for your test.
I decided to reproduce lesson plans to go with some drawings as many trainees were struggling with the basic structure of the lesson. These lesson plans were written in a way that followed the requirements of the PSTs, and if followed formed the basis of a fool-proof way of covering what the examiner was looking for. This, along with my Core Competencies flow chart and teachings, led to an almost fool-proof pass rate. These materials were very popular with trainees and other trainers would recommend them to their trainees too.
At the time however, the teaching materials were only ever designed with the part three test in mind and in my opinion, did not have any value in ‘real teaching’. 14 years on, I find instructors still use these books and still ask me to produce a more substantial teaching aid, though I never found the time.
During this time away from normality I’ve been thinking about why some instructors still struggle with the training. And at the end of the day it amounts to the same thing as before in that PDIs don’t typically follow any real structure in their lessons. Gone are the days of PSTs, now the part three test follows the same format as a real driving lesson and the examiner simply observes this lesson.
So that got me thinking – is there a market for a better lesson planner that helps driving instructors to follow a plan?
My next thought was that I see very few qualified driving instructors following any real syllabus and given that the DVSA have produced the Learning to Drive Standard and syllabus, it makes sense for any lesson planner to follow this syllabus. I knew that the market needed a lesson planner to guide instructors step by step through what the DVSA examiner is looking for on a part three test.
Part three test vs standards test
Given that a part three test and a standards test follow the same format now, the same problems cause PDIs and ADIs to fail their tests, so any lesson planner would be able to help both.
First, I wondered is there really a need? There are already quite a few on the market.
So I set about some research. I keep seeing the same thing, lots of pretty pictures in bright colours, some in 3D others with photographs and few with built in lesson plans. With my background in education and teaching, I knew that whilst these all look very nice and will appeal to more visual learners, many learners would just be left out. As well as that, most lesson planners on the market don’t all help the instructor with planning. Something was needed along the lines of what I produced before for PSTs, but to cover all the driving lessons and the whole syllabus
. What is needed is something that follows a pedagogical approach for instructor and learner alike.
The 1st 4 Driving System
I was already working on a new learning system for pupils, but put that on hold seeing the more urgent need for this. My original thought was to adapt the pupil system for instructors, but realised it needed a different approach.
While the country has been halted over lockdown, I’ve been working on lesson plans for all the DVSA syllabus driving lessons and aided by my team in the office, some very clear and professional diagrams.
The lesson plans have be kept simple for instructors to follow and use as prompts and the diagrams are mainly simple schematic type diagrams that learner drivers will find useful. There are prompts, teaching tips and notes for each lesson accompanied by simple images to prompt instructor to ask those all-important coaching questions and get the discussions going.
1st 4 Driving instructors receive a GOLD Edition Lesson Planner absolutely FREE. This includes lifetime updates, printable blank diagrams and a laminated copy of the GROW model and Core Competency prompts.
A new beginning
This new lesson planner is far better than the old one.
The original one was produced entirely by myself using PowerPoint for diagrams that I was not entirely confident with. They were produced quickly to help instructors only pass the test. The new Planner has had diagrams professionally completed by my team based on simple draft and sketches from me. They have been given a modern and friendly look to appeal to learners and instructors. The lesson plans are not just for the test but can help driving instructors during all lessons.
If you are looking for a system to help you get your teaching on track every time, these are the plans that will help you. The first series helped hundreds of driving instructors to pass and become qualified driving instructors, these are set to help thousands to do the same.
Dave Foster MA, Dip.DI (or Driving School Dave) is the most qualified driving school owner in the country, after completing his Master’s Degree in Driver Training Education in 2011 at Middlesex University. He also holds a diploma in Driving Instruction and is a Cert Ed. qualified teacher. Dave is the founder and Managing Director of 1st 4 Driving Ltd, and also looks after over 15 driving schools across the country on a consultancy basis.