The Leaf Blower
Fiona Taylor ADI writes:
I was with a new learner driver a couple of days ago, and we were mischievously chuckling as we watched a small tractor unit with a leaf blower attached to it.
The reason we were giggling was because, as the driver chugged along, he was magnificently clearing the path of fallen leaves... which swirled in golden majesty up and behind him... only to fall as a perfectly even carpet on the path a few metres behind - just as they had been a few moments before!
It was mesmerising and comical all at the same time!
What has this got to do with a Leaf Blower?? ... Well...
We had stopped the car to discuss my pupil's upcoming test. Notably, she wanted to know what the Examiner would be expecting of her.
I find these types of discussions a massive challenge - not for the discussions themselves - but for the effect that it has on me as a Trainer....
I find I catapult myself back into my old training habits. Ones which I have worked hard to eliminate a far as I can. I prefer to be 'solution focused' as opposed to being a 'fault finder'!
(This is my preference, and it is not aimed at being a slur on anyone else)
I will explain a little more if you would like to follow:
My initiation into Driver Training 18 years ago was Fault Identification, Fault Analysis and Fault Remedy. To deliver training as 'this is wrong change it - I know why you are doing it - do what I say and change it - I am the expert'.
It worked... I don't deny that.
I do feel, though, like I was using a Leaf Blower with this method! For example: When a driver wasn't checking their mirrors I would identify that fault, give a full talk through and briefing on where, how and why they need to check them. Then give a full talk through, prompt and then be gleeful when (if) they were independent by the end of the session!
The following lesson?... yup!... no mirror work!! There was no permanent change to their behaviour because the learning had not come from within. The teaching was motivated by me. There was no commitment from the Driver for any long-lasting behavioural change.
The old method was similar to the leaf blower; moving the leaves (or mirror work) in a big flurry of activity as I went through the fault Identification, analysis and remedy! The very next lesson there were hardly any mirror checks because the Drivers were not invested in the learning. It was externally manufactured by me, so the swirl of leafy activity mirrored the Driver resorting to their old behaviours of rarely checking their mirrors in subsequent lessons... the leaves falling exactly where they had lain before, is the analogy.
This repetitive part of the job used to drive me nuts - and was the reason I decided to book on the next BTEC 4 Coaching Course! To me it is obvious that the Driver is the one who has all the power! They hold the key to long-lasting behavioural change. I needed a course that focused more on Behavioural Change techniques than the hierarchical exchange I find so ineffectual.
... and the BTEC 4 helped me gain the tools to engage Drivers to make their Learning more permanent.
Contrary to my former life... on the occasion with my Driver the other day, she read the reverse of the DL25 section 14 about use of mirrors....we chatted about her preferences so far... and she adapted a little last week... but had a much better idea of what was expected of her on test.
... and today.... without any mention, discussion or hinting from me at any point, she began narrating upon her timing and use of mirrors. She kept bringing it up when she missed opportunities!
It has been hard work for me to change my training approaches since 2011, yes - but thank goodness for that BTEC Level 4 in Coaching for Driver Development! Come and join Kev Field and me on the next BTEC 4 course starting on Thursday 5th December in Milton Keynes.
I got my love of the job back!!
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