'Practice with a Purpose' and make the most of your time.
Updated: Jul 10
Teachers need to follow a lesson plan to ensure they have the necessary teaching aids and strategies in place so that their students learn the lessons required and benefit from the time spent in the classroom. No point being there unless this happens!
The same is the case when you take your learner driver out for a drive. Sure, you can just wander aimlessly through the streets and kill another hour in the logbook. But eventually this will lead to boredom, stressful moments and the inevitable arguments that will destroy the motivation of the most enthusiastic learner and the most earnest home tutor.
To ensure home tutor bliss, following are a few key things to think about and plan before you head out on the road together.
What will you teach them?
Starting from today, this depends on their experience so far.
If you are at the very beginning, you need to cover the basics first such as car control (starting, stopping, steering, indicators), and progress to basic procedures (cornering, roundabouts, intersection safety, reversing).
For the more experienced learner you would incorporate more complex driving situations and major intersections (the ones with traffic lights), multi laned roads and our old favourite - changing lanes.
This is, by no means, an extensive list of all the things that your learner needs to be able to do before they go for the driving test and be a capable driver, but I hope it gives you an idea there is a necessary teaching order to follow to make it easier for you as well as your learner driver. The logbook is a valuable reference that will provide a basic framework of the order of topics and skills that need to be introduced and practiced.
Tip: If you are really not sure of the skill level of your learner driver, or what you need to focus on, you can take them on a quick evaluation drive.
Get them started in a quiet location (from home?), and progressively direct them into more complex driving situations. As soon as they start to make a few mistakes, and your heart rate rises and your foot is trying to hit a non existent brake, then you know it's time to stop evaluating and start teaching. Don't progress to anything more complicated until everyone is smiling again.
2. Location, location, location
If you know what you want to teach, you can pick the environment that will match the topic you are teaching and the ability of the learner driver.
For example, if you are going through the basics and practicing cornering, pick a quiet location with flat, square blocks that are totally isolated from main roads (one road in and out). We call this a nursery area. You don't want to suddenly find yourself on the main road heading to Wollongong screaming at each other with no where to safely pull over and swap sides.
Similarly, the time of day is an important consideration. If you want to introduce lane changing you would pick a multi laned road as your environment of choice, but don't start this topic in peak hour or when the sun is setting and you are driving due west. You are ensured a stressful time with little achievement.
3. Be armed with your teaching aids and strategies
In my last blog post I talked about learning styles and how best to get the message across, remember? After planning what you are going to teach, and where you are going to teach it, you can finally add how you are going to teach it. Will you use diagrams, demonstrate or simply talk the whole time? Make sure your teaching style matches their learning style and you are on the road to success!
My last thought: Your time is precious so when the stars align and you and your learner find an hour or so, then make it count.