You Understand That They’re Still Learning, Right?

Driving Lesson Packages Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy

Over the years we’ve had the odd call from a sharp-eyed person complaining about a minor infraction they observed a student driver make behind the wheel of one of our school cars. Sometimes they go on to point out that “If this is the way you teach your students to drive, then you should…” followed by helpful suggestions such as firing the instructor, learning the rules of the road and so on. Others are very sincere and genuinely trying to help; “I thought you should know that ______ happened…”

The common thing these callers are forgetting is that we’re teaching new drivers, and yes – they make mistakes. And we’re ok with that.

Our coaches are there, ready to take control if a situation puts anyone at risk. But if the mistake is minor and involves little or no risk, the student may be allowed to complete the manoeuvre, followed by questions from the coach. A typical exchange might go like this:

Coach: Ok, let’s find a safe place to pull over and we’ll take a minute to go over some things.

Student: Ok.. (finds a safe spot, pulls over and parks)

Coach: So on that right turn at the last intersection we went through – how did you think that went?

Student: Ok, I guess.

Coach: Right. Let’s put a number on that – on a scale of 1 to 10 (ten being perfect) how would you rate that turn?

Student: Hmmm, I don’t know – maybe a 9?

Coach: A 9 eh?  That’s pretty high. I had you a little lower – maybe a 7. Let me ask – how do you decide where to stop at a stop sign?

Student: I think I can remember – it depends… If there’s a line, you stop behind the line. If there’s no line, but a sidewalk, you stop before the edge of the sidewalk. And if there is neither, you stop before the edge of the cross road.

Coach: Great! That’s exactly right. Thinking back to that last turn at that intersection, can you remember where you stopped?

Student: Oh, I see now. I went a bit past the stop line so I could see better. I should have stopped behind the line first, checked to make sure the crosswalk was clear and it was safe to move forward, then checked for traffic when I could see clearly before deciding to go.

In this example, the coach was fully aware of the mistake the student was making but allowed the mistake to occur, creating an opportunity to ask the student what they knew and to see if they could determine their mistake. The coach could have instructed the student to stop at the stop line, or even stopped the car if the situation was unsafe.

Making mistakes. Coaching. Self-evaluating. Learning.



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