The Process of Training to Qualify as a Driving Instructor

The process of becoming a driving instructor is broken down in the following pages, which describe the ADI exam format, the lesson structure and client-centred learning methods of KISS, and also the principles of advanced driving.
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  • The ADI Theory Test
    This consists of 100 questions selected from a published question bank of 920 and you are required to get at least 85 correct.  There are four categories however and you must get a minimum of 20 out of 25 correct in each of the four categories. It is possible to achieve a a score of 85 plus and still fail the test simply because you got 19 out of 25 in a single category.
  • The Hazard Perception Test
    This is a set of 14 video clips in which you are required to identify, by clicking your mouse, 15 developing hazards.  Each clip is 1 minute in length and in each clip you will see a number of potential hazards of which one, will become a developing hazard, one clip will have two developing hazards. You will score a maximum of 5 points down to 0 points for each hazard depending on the speed with which you identify the developing hazard. You are required to score a minimum of 57 out of a potential 75 points.

    A potential hazard is something that MAY cause you to change speed and/or direction, a developing hazard is something that WILL cause you to change speed and/or direction.

    Think of a car waiting to come out of a junction (potential), if that car then comes out in front of you (developing), it will probably cause you to slow down, swerve or stop. 
  • ADI Part 2: Test of Driving Ability
    As with the ‘L’ test, you must first pass an eyesight test at 27.5 m (90ft) before being permitted to enter the car to take your practical driving test.  Remember, your eyesight deteriorates over time.  Don’t leave it until the last minute to get glasses if you need them.  They do make a difference !!
    Reaching your car, the examiner asks you to ‘get in and make yourself comfortable’.  When you do, put your seat belt on as they do not expect you to do the cockpit drill.  They record the number plate and check round the vehicle to ensure it is roadworthy.  The examiner will refuse to conduct a practical driving test if they cannot satisfy themselves the vehicle is serviceable i.e. tyres,  warning lights visible or you can’t prove the vehicle has been rectified if subject to ‘a product recall’.
    When an examiner gets into the car they advise you they are looking for a high standard of driving.  They tell you to ‘follow the road ahead unless given an instruction to turn left or right’ and ‘read the road signs and markings’.  You are expected to demonstrate expert use of the car controls, road procedure, judgement and anticipation.

    Before you start the car the examiner checks to see you carry out the safety checks (handbrake in neutral).  During the test you are asked to stop approximately ten times to demonstrate your ability to carry out a series of manoeuvres under control, accurately and with effective observation.  Included in this will be to:
    • Move off straight ahead, at an angle, uphill and downhill 
    • Reverse round a corner to the left and right (either sharp or sweeping) 
    • Turn in the road using forward and reverse gears 
    • Reverse park  
    • Emergency stop
    Be aware!!  It is possible for some of us to ‘just scrape through’ the Part 2 Test.  This may say more about what you encountered on the route than your ability.  One of the most difficult aspects of the practical driving test will be concentration.  Most of us cannot ‘turn it on’ for the test.  If your style isn’t instinctive you are likely to spend more time thinking about what you are doing inside the car whereas your attention should be focused on what is happening outside.
    If your driving style is not instinctive it will show, it’s easy to see if someone is relaxed and driving normally or tense as they try hard to ‘get it right’.  You are also much more likely to make mistakes if you are not able to anticipate and react early to anything that will cause you to change speed or direction. The solution is simple!  Your trainer will cover every aspect of driving during your driving instructor training programme.
    Try to put all of these things into practice every time you get into your car.  Use the controls as smoothly as possible and only when necessary.  Application of ‘acceleration sense’ – the ability to use anticipation and judgement to avoid the use of the brake as much as possible will be monitored.  Be honest with yourself.  If you are your biggest critic you will become a very good approved driving instructor.
    Never put your car where your eyes haven’t been first.
  • ADI Part 3: Test of Instructional Ability (The Teaching Programme)
    Lesson Plan
    This is the structure by which you establish and maintain CONTROL over the learning process whilst ensuring you achieve the correct level of COMMUNICATION and INSTRUCTION.  Before you meet a pupil you will have only very basic information such as their name, address and phone number.  Add to this perhaps you are told they are a beginner, they’ve driven before or they already have a test booked.  Given the poor standard of tuition delivered by many (over 70%) instructors, you must not assume your learner has been taught how to drive safely at this point.
    Each lesson, regardless of the stage your pupil is at, should begin with a recap of the last driving lesson before linking it to this one. You should then state your aims and an objectives for this lesson.  One AIM is to simply make some progress towards delivering your pupils objective.  In the process you are likely to show them you can do what another driving instructor couldn’t.  You must also always have the objective of teaching ‘safe driving for life’.

    Some instructors prefer to start with a two hour lesson to ensure the pupil achieves some driving.  Others believe that the CONTROLS lesson followed by MOVING OFF & STOPPING is enough for a pupil to cope with.  In either case be sure to let your pupil know what to expect from their lesson at the earliest opportunity.  The lesson structure will follow your normal routine of establishing WHAT the pupil knows.

    If your pupil has had lessons or driven before you can be quite prescriptive in your first lesson.  Look at the cockpit drill as 80% of those who have driven before will tell you they don’t know it.  Next, establish what if anything they know about the use of mirrors.  Now cover the POM routine and having moved off safely spend time turning left and right.  Be prepared to TALK THROUGH the MSMPSL routine until you see some progress in this area of their driving.
    Pull over in a position to conduct a TURN IN THE ROAD and briefly recap and feedback on what you have observed.  Try to ASK them about their performance rather than TELL them what they are doing wrong.  Lead them to where you want them to think about their driving.  You will now be able to have a discussion about WHAT went wrong, WHY it was wrong and HOW they need to fix it.  You are 20 minutes into the lesson and your pupil is impressed.
    Now do the TURN IN THE ROAD to check on their clutch and steering control as well as observation skills.  If time permits move on to look at their AWARENESS and ANTICIPATION (LADA).  Are they identifying and reacting early enough to any potential hazards ahead and using ECO FRIENDLY driving skills?  You should now have a good picture of the pupils’ ability and you will be able to advise them how you can help them achieve their objective.
    You must keep accurate records and grade each subject/lesson with pupils to track their progress.  Always make sure you are in CONTROL and try to get them to get things right the first time.  When a pupil does something two or three times it will begin to form as a habit, is it a good or a bad one.  If it’s bad, you’ll have to fix it at some stage, SO DO IT NOW!! If it’s a good habit your average pupil will develop this into an instinctive routine.
    Having identified faults, act quickly to rectify them and always try to prevent pupils from committing serious or potentially dangerous faults.  Emerging from a junction without effective observation would be an example of the latter faults.  Read them the Part Two manual for a breakdown of what are driver and procedural faults, which will help them understand how an examiner assesses a pupils driving.

    Phase 1 Learning
    This is where you teach pupils each of the subjects for the first time in a disciplined and structured way.  You must do so in an engaging way by asking rather than telling and in doing so you will get them to remember what they need for ‘safe driving’ quicker.  Lead them with the simplest questions to the answers and by getting them to read off the page and then getting them to explain to you what they know.  As with a manoeuvre, you would normally begin the lesson in a place which allows you to use the landscape, such as in full view of a junction ahead.
    Delivering detailed briefings orders both the instructors and pupils’ minds before you give them fully guided practice (talk thru).  Then you will have a pupil that understands what they are trying to do and both of you can focus more clearly on every aspect of the subject on the move.  In this way you won’t distract your pupil whilst driving as they are now hearing what they should be doing a second time.  As ‘doing is understanding’ they begin to make sense of what they are trying to do as they do it.  Then, it’s a question of how many times you need to TELL them what to do before moving on to ASKING and finally WATCHING them.

    Phase 2 Learning
    You’ve briefed the pupil, moved on through the syllabus and now need to revisit some important aspects to reinforce a pupils understanding.  Use the PHASE TWO questions in your training manual that help identify the key elements of each of those subjects.  Again, ASK as this will highlight more easily any gaps in your pupils knowledge and from here you will be able to reinforce their skills in each specific area.
    Or, a pupil comes to you from elsewhere and tells you they have had ‘X’ lessons and more significantly, that ‘they can drive’.  DON’T BELIEVE IT.  If you assume they can drive, it could put other road users, your pupil and you at risk because their understanding of driving and yours may be considerably different.  A few simple key questions help you establish a rapport, an understanding of who is in control and their knowledge base.  At the end of the lesson don’t be surprised to hear you have taught them more in that lesson than the instructor taught them in all their other lessons.
    Don’t be surprised if you have to revert to a full briefing as few instructors are trained to do this effectively.  Many use a blank page and a pen as visual aides and only basic information is imparted by at least 50%, which would not be an exaggeration!  To do the same with any manoeuvre simply begin with the three questions provided for the REVERSE PARK manoeuvre.  If you try to establish knowledge on the move you will be working harder than necessary and distracting your pupil.
  • Lesson Structure
    Regardless of a learner’s current driving ability, at KISS we will offer the most professional advice and only deliver the training required to meet their requirements.  We may need to work closely with some for six months or more simply because of their ability, availability and financial constraints.

    Instructor Training Aims and Objectives
    After spending a minute or two with the introductions and settling in, introduce the lesson, intended outcome (aim) and the steps that need to be taken to achieve it (objective) and perhaps a little of the route/site.

    General Questions
    Regardless of a learner’s current driving ability, at KISS we will offer the most professional advice and only deliver the training required to meet their requirements.  We may need to work closely with some of them for six months or more simply because of their ability, availability and financial constraints.  Asking brief open questions allows us to quickly establish a number of crucial elements.  Each question is intended to simply open the conversation and will undoubtedly lead to secondary questions.

    What Do You Do?
    This perhaps reveals any underlying reasons for wanting to drive and perhaps the time and financial resources available.  This is crucial to understanding what is achievable as your diaries may not match or, a pupils aspirations may be unrealistic and they need to be informed of this. Asking them what job they do could be perceived as politically incorrect and could easily offend.

    Why Do You Want To Drive?
    This is intended to establish motivation.  Is there the desire, in which case the learning process should be relatively quick and easy.  If there is a need, they are likely to be less focused and thus make slower progress.  A woman expecting a baby in six weeks is not an ideal candidate for a six week course, especially if they haven’t passed there theory test and have a holiday booked.  Again, as a professional, you must let your pupils know what is achievable by them and you together.

    What, If Any, Driving Have You Done?
    Ask how many driving lessons they’ve had and we then know if they have had any other driving experience.  We mustn’t assume that thirty lessons equates to a certain level of competence. Find out when it is safe to hand the keys over.  Do we let them drive straight away or take them to somewhere quiet in order to ensure we can retain control whatever happens.

    What Did You Do In Your Last Lesson?
    This enables us to establish if the pupil had any problems requiring further clarification and at the same time provides a link to this lesson.  Look at two simple aspects which should, in most cases reveal weakness in the key elements of that subject and in general.

    In order of importance, ask yourself if the previous subject involves AWARENESS and ANTICIPATION (LADA) as when we approach potential hazards like pedestrian crossings, meeting traffic and crossroads (major crossing minor). If not, use CONTROL, REASONABLE ACCURACY and EFFECTIVE OBSERVATION as these last three elements are present in every aspect of driving and should reveal any problems.

    Recap and Link
    The recap and link are normally one and the same thing as you look at and use either AWARENESS and ANTICIPATION or CONTROL, ACCURACY and OBSERVATION to recap.  You should briefly recap the last lesson to address any concerns the pupil has about what they did, offering further clarification as needed.  Be sure to investigate beyond the simple ‘it was ok’ as very rarely would it be alright if the instructor is moving the pupil forward.  If it doesn’t seem there are any concerns then move on to the next lesson relating as necessary to what they have learned already.

    Cockpit Drill
    Lead pupils through this drill on the first lesson rather than reacting, as this is much quicker.  The briefings show how to do this briskly and maintain control.  The DSA prefers you to allow pupils the opportunity to show what previous learning has gone on.  Expect many learners to respond, seat, mirrors, seat belt though it may be seat belt then mirrors.  Remember to cover aspects they haven’t, such as checking doors and steering column adjustment.

    An effective briefing uses visual aides and the environment around you.  It must also be brisk, engaging, detailed and focussed on the subject.  Ensure your pupil fully understands WHAT they are expected to do and deal with on the route or at a site.  They must understand WHY they do things and HOW they need to do them.  By the end of the lesson they should have progressed their understanding and competence within this area of their driving.

    Remember, you’re not looking for perfection at this stage although some will progress faster than others.  When doing junctions for instance, the next lesson may cover a manoeuvre.  You will have to approach and emerge from junctions again to reach the site you intend to use.  Alternate lessons between ‘on the move’ and manoeuvre subjects.  Each manoeuvre works on the clutch and steering control which is helpful with their general driving skills.
  • Client Centred Learning
    This is the latest buzzword introduced into the driving instructor industry quite recently by both the Driving Standards Agency and many industry leaders. All of them are quite rightly trying, as we are, to improve the standard of driving instructors in the UK. Our Driving Instructor Training course has been training driving instructors to do this for over eight years.

    Instructor Coaching
    Coaching is a complex subject in its own right and the problem is most of us would take an awful long time to understand enough about it. To achieve what our driving instructors do is simple and it’s our job to show you how you can very simply achieve what we do. It’s not rocket science but we don’t want our competitors to catch up any time soon because we are possibly ten years ahead of them.

    Coaching is a generic term for the natural learning or development that can be achieved provided someone has a reasonable level of knowledge and skill. If we use the example of coaching someone to play golf, the individual first needs to how to swing their arms. This is not the same as using LCD when training a pupil to use the pull-push technique as their brain in many cases  does not know how to move their arms in this way.

    Wholly coaching would require us to allow pupils to choose how they would hold and move the wheel. Experience shows us without the correct level of instruction and mentoring, this task would end in failure and leave pupils demoralised. Only when an activity has been trained can we look to a pupil to develop an understanding of the rights and wrongs of what they are doing.

    The GDE Matrix
    GDE is a an acronym for Goals for Driver Education and matrix is a posh word for a table. More importantly, this is the structure which is set to be adopted throughout Europe and by the DSA and in turn the industry. In brief there are four levels through which pupils skills need to be developed.

    It has already been determined that to train pupils to the two higher levels driving instructors will need to be able to coach rather than instruct. The DSA has already published a teaching schedule and structure they see, as being a minimum requirement for teaching in the not too distant future. At KISS we already have and work to a comprehensive schedule and structure which far exceeds what the DSA has published and we have simplified the format.
  • Advanced Driving
    All of our trainers have been trained to the highest standard. All are fully qualified Driving Standards Agency Approved Driving Instructors and hold a ROSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) Gold Certificate, Advanced Tutor status within ROSPA and some hold the BTEC Level 3 Certificate In Advanced Driving Instruction.

    KISS Principles of Advanced Driving
    The standard of driving we teach is in accordance with ROADCRAFT, the Police Drivers Handbook as used by all Advanced Driving Institutions and recognised the world over.
    Some of the subjects our Driving Coaches will cover include:
    • How to develop your higher mental skills to increase your brain's ability to process information.
    • Recognising how different types of stress affect our driving and how to minimise them.
    • Understanding how attitude and culture affect our driving.
    • Recognising driving D.N.A.
    • Speed and subsequent safety margins.
    • Enhanced Observation and Anticipation.
    • An Advanced System of car control applied to all potential and developing hazards.
    • Advanced acceleration sense and use of gears.
    • Skid control and how to brake safely.
    • Overtaking.
    • How to maintain vehicle stability at all times.
    • Principles of cornering.

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