How People Learn

Is your method of teaching/coaching working for your pupil?

Some pupils like to learn by reading whilst others may learn better by having a discussion or even looking at videos or words and pictures. Try to home-in on your pupil’s learning style as early as you can. Remember, some people may have more than one learning style

Is your pupil comfortable with your method of teaching/coaching?
If you notice that your pupil is gazing out of the window watching the airplanes go by while your trying to engage with them and perhaps trying to give them information and support , then you’re probably not using the correct learning style for that particular pupil.

We spoke with two driving schools, one being Shauns Driving School from Andover and the other was Mike from Wanna Drive Well – Shaun who is our contact in the coaching industry and he told us that a pupil that is engaged with you is generally a pupil that learns best. Maybe you could try engaging your pupil more by using a different learning style. It’s very important that you watch your pupils body language as this will give you good indicators as to whether or not they’re engaged with you and that your learning style is working for them.

Learning style and level of ability
Depending on the level of ability your pupil is at, will depend on what level or as to what level you would engage with your pupil with their learning style. For example, it’s no good using an in-depth question and answer technique if the questions you are asking are too technical or are too in-depth for the ability of your pupil. Mechelle from The Academy of Driving in Peckham confirmed this to us. This could potentially hinder or confuse your pupil about the topic or subject instead of helping them and therefore your teaching style is not suited for the level of your pupil’s current ability.

Options – How would you like to do this?
As a suggestion, you could ask your pupil how would they like to approach this, for example, you could offer them a choice if they would a talk through and maybe to look at some diagrams in your book, watch a video perhaps, see a demonstration or even offer them the opportunity to draw a mind-map. It’s important that you give them a range of options, after all, they should know how they learn best. You can use any teaching style that you think is appropriate for the level of your pupil and lastly, I would steer you away from taking a pupil to your standards check that you don’t know very well.

There has been much debate about driving instructors having to be coaches, otherwise they will fail their Standards Check. This simply is not the case.

What is important is that you should be helping your pupils in an active way by putting your pupil at the heart and centre of the learning process. This client centred approach has proven to be more beneficial in helping pupils take responsibility for their own learning and helps them to become more self-aware.

Driving lessons should be client centred led and not instructor led. Using the following skills will help:

• Creating and maintaining a good rapport with your pupil
• Effective questioning using simple open questions
• Actively listening to what pupils say on a deeper conscious level
• And encouraging or eliciting feedback from your pupil about their performance, thoughts and feelings
• Linking theory to practical

People learn in different ways and there is lots of information on the Internet about learning styles, when you get time, have a look at a model called The VARK model by Neil Fleming.

The VARK model quantifies different learning styles such as Visual, Audible, Read/Write and Kinaesthetic. Your pupil will probably fit into one of these learning styles. It’s possible that your pupil can have more than one learning style, for example, Audible and Visual.

It can take a few lessons or so to find out what learning style best suits your pupil but probably the quickest way to find this information out is to simply ask you pupil a question such as:
Do you know how you take in information best? For example when you was at School – Is it through watching videos, listening and having a debate about things, or do you prefer to read things and then jot things down or do you learn best by actually doing things and then learning from the experience.

Depending on their answer sort of depends on what tools from your resource toolbox you could use. So, for example, someone who learns best through a Kinaesthetic way of doing things might benefit less from a full briefing for example a Turn in The Road and might benefit more by just letting them have a go and then shaping things from there using coaching skills or clever use of Q&A?

For your Standard Check, I would probably steer you away from taking a pupil that you don’t know as you probably won’t know which learning style is best suited for that pupil. Unless of course you wanted to use this as part of your lesson plan?

As an ADI, it’s important that you can adapt your teaching style and methods that will best support your pupil’s learning.