Professional yet personable – bridging the gap

Lately there has been a shift in the style of learning that the DVSA are promoting, in line with the newly updated standards test for ADIs. Instead of expecting instructors to coach on a one-to-one basis, with rigid instructor/learner roles; where the instructor is the one expected to hold all of the knowledge and explicitly teach the pupil how to drive by offering remedy to their mistakes, a new policy called ‘Client Centered Learning’ is being implemented. This encourages instructors to advance their pupils’ learning primarily by helping them help themselves. Translated, this simply equates to refraining from always dictating exactly what they ‘should’ be doing but instead giving them more space to work it out on their own accord.

This is an arguably subtle yet significant transformation in the approach to instructing which should help do away with the outdated ‘chalkboard’ style of teaching. Studies show that learning is something which best occurs when the onus is on the subject. Hence, under the new scheme, instructors are now being encouraged to let the more inconsequential mistakes unfold naturally, rather than intervening. While this method stops learners from making mistakes which could be considered good practice in preventing the forming of bad practices, in actuality it stops them from figuring out what occurred and most importantly, why which is plainly counter-productive. The new Client Centred Learning policy should give pupils more control over their development by letting them find their own solutions to problems they encounter whilst learning to drive.

Additionally, it should help reduce the formality of instructors’ and pupils’ relationships, creating a relaxed and thus more learning-conductive environment. It is still important that they refrain from engaging in too personal a relationship by maintaining their prescribed role to a certain extent however it seems that some easing off the old-fashioned notion of an instructor will do a world of good for the whole industry. The importance of a healthy working relationship cannot be emphasized enough, since it is the primary basis for communication i.e. the transfer of information in both the instructor’s competence in giving feedback and the pupils’ ability to retain it.

The More You Know

The driving test itself came from Prussia conducted by an establishment by the name of Dampfkesselüberwachungsverein or the ‘steam boiler supervision association’.

The late great United States which had a spate on the eighth of May in 190810 warned them they would be getting licensing laws a few months later on 1st August which would have been a first taste of ‘the acquiring a driving licence rigmarole’ although weirdly enough only if your job title was ‘chauffer’.

A licence designed to have universal status across Europe was brought into use in 2013 which will be used instead of the individual 110 designs throughout the continent.


Though driving lessons may seem like an age old concept, their implementation was actually more recent than the stone age meaning that Fred Flintstone was probably among the first to enjoy locomotion without a licence – although not without having to run to get anywhere. In reality it was Karl Benz, the inventor of the automobile as we know it, who was the first to require a driving licence in the year of 1888. Benz had been tootling about in his unidentified driving object, which was later to be labelled ‘a car’ making all manner of offensive sounds and smells, causing havoc for the locals. This is what inspired him to apply to the Grand Ducal Authority for official permission to use the public highways and thus the driving licence was born.


A learner’s rant

In order to console myself over my longer than average time spent learning to drive, I am consorting the medium of language as a therapeutic device in an attempt to try and unravel the cause.

Where whinging has failed to elicit sympathy of my listeners to my unfortunate and involuntary, natural predisposition towards severe neglect of my dearest instructor‘s feedback, I turn to the boundless time and space offered by The Ever-Loyal, Omnipresent open page brought to you by The Almighty, Omniscient OpenOffice Writer in honour of The Infinite Omnipotence of written expression. If that wasn’t an autological sentence, then I don’t know what is. Like ‘Word’ or ‘English’; it demonstrates itself. Human cognition says please and thank you when autological expressions arrive at the auditory cortex because they turn up wearing only a smile. Am I getting through to you, yet? If not; good, just keep reading and all may become clear.

Put it this way; when your instructor harks ‘Stop the f*cking car immediately’ it’s bright as a midsummer day what they want you to do but when they advise you to ‘pull over somewhere safe, legal and convenient’, there is, let’s say, ‘room for ambiguity’. If someone who isn’t me interpreted it to mean, for instance, at the exit to an ambulance station – and if it were definitely safe and convenient for them – then that person surely cannot be held accountable for negligence of the law on the basis that they misheard, ‘illegal’. Ladies and gentlemen, the inadequacy of spoken communication.

Alas, I feel like this is a worthy scapegoat. Don’t get me wrong, the message has come through loud and clear before and I’ve chosen to ignore it. Just sometimes there are more pertinent issues on my mind than checking my blind spot every time I move off, like using common sense to deduce that a small child probably hasn’t crept up on my rear since I last checked it 10 seconds ago, at 7:30am in the morning, in a deserted car park. And if one has, then my poor achey neck is quite obliged to take the risk of making concertina out of someone I’ve never even met before.

Then other times it is unquestionably our flawed system of communication; language that is at fault. Imagine your instructor says ‘stop swinging to the right’, what this could mean to me unfolds into a rich tapestry of interpretation: Is it me who’s doing the swinging?; if so is it just my hands, or is it my hands on the steering wheel, swinging the car. If I am swinging it too much and that’s not okay, then how do I make it swing less without swinging too little so we still get around the corner – or is swinging never okay? These are the things that keep me up at night clinging ever so tightly to that oh-so-familiar bright red right angle of a barnacle on my rear bumper.

This works both ways, too. If I say, ‘Give me a break or I’m going to have a panic attack’ and I don’t actually have one, is it necessarily the case that I’m not having a mental breakdown? I’m obviously not the first to throw a paddy at the strain of learning to drive, oh no, instructors have seen it all before and have become desensitized to the outcry of the fledgling learner. Still, does this make my plea any less genuine? Sometimes I ask to go and stretch my legs and secretly find a quiet spot to pick the scabs off my wrists because ultimately it’s less painful than having to hear for the umpteenth time that mini roundabouts are for going around, not across. But if the clue’s in the name, then why can roundabouts also mean ‘indirect’, as in taking the second exit after being told to ‘go straight on at the roundabout’ and ploughing right over the central island. But surely I took the instruction in a roundabout way?