Imagine a sunny day. A learner driver sits at home, watching the TV. Every few seconds, she peeps eagerly through the net curtains to see if her instructor's turned up. She really looks forward to her lessons and gets very excited thinking about what she might do today
After a couple of minutes, her instructor arrives in his shiny new car. She walks down the path to meet him, and jumps into the drivers seat with a smile. She just can't wait to get going. Her instructor watches her get in and says "Hi Julie. How are you this week?". "I'm fine, thanks" she replies
She quickly run's through the cockpit drill and gets herself comfortable. She turns on the engine, turns to her instructor and says "Where too today?" Her instructor smiles back and says "Well, I just thought that we'd go for a drive to find some traffic, and see what comes up. Have we done the reverse left yet, Julie?"
After a few more words the car is off - to find some traffic and see what comes up
This is exactly how a great many typical learner driving lessons get under way across the UK each and every day. But can you see anything wrong?
Well, neither instructor or learner have any idea what today's lesson will be about. They have no idea what skills they will consolidate, what new skills they'll learn or where the car is heading for. They haven't discussed what happened last week - it's as if the last lesson has been put into a box and had the lid screwed closed, and they haven't set any firm aims and objectives for the lesson
All of these ingredients are vital for adult learners. They gain the maximum benefit from a lesson when they know exactly what they should achieve, how and where it will be achieved, and how it will build on their previously gained skills
It's the instructors job to ensure that each and every lesson is planned effectively. Not just as they arrive to pick up the learner, but beforehand
One of the problems SE's find on a great many check tests throughout the UK is a complete lack of lesson planning. The 'let's see what happens' plan appears to be the most common. SE's regularly comment that neither the learner, the SE nor the instructor had any idea of what the lesson subject was. This isn't teaching, it's reducing yourself to being little more than a passenger
Just a couple of minutes before the lesson, perhaps even the night before, can make all the difference. A few notes to remind you of the aims and objectives and your intended route can save you a great deal of stress on the move. If you'd like to see an example, 'right click' the following link and choose 'save target as' to download a copy of a very simple lesson plan, courtesy of the Dash driving school, Hull
In our example above the instructor had no idea if the learner had previously covered the reverse left. For effective instruction, a very simple record system for each learner needs to be kept. But that's a subject beyond part 3, so let's stick to the aims and objectives of this page
Think of the plan as an overall strategy for the lesson
A typical lesson has the following outline. You can think of this as a basic plan for each part 3 30 minute lesson
Each lesson starts with a briefing, where the instructor recaps the last lesson (so previous skills aren't in the box with the lid screwed shut) and sets out the aims and objectives for the lesson. This could be "the object of today's lesson is for you to perform the turn in the road exercise, under full control, and with due regard for the safety of other road users". The instructor may also say how this will be done "I'll demonstrate the manoeuvre first, then fully talk you through it"
After the briefing, we reach the developmental phase, where the instructor teaches the subject and the learner practices. Clearly, the level of instruction will vary, and each and every lesson needs to be planned around the needs and abilities of the learner
We then reach, towards the end of the lesson, the recap stage. Here, the instructor and learner discuss the lesson and what was learned, they may agree how much was learned and how much needs to be learned. They can also discuss the aims and objectives for the next lesson, and how the skills practiced in this lesson will be built upon
This is the overall plan, the strategy, for the lesson. The skill areas of the core competencies, your question and answer techniques, and how you use your communication skills are the little details that allow us to reach the aims of the lesson and achieve the objectives
The simple truth is that at part 3 the lesson plan is laid out for you in the pre set test. The subject has already been chosen, and the SE will give you the route. All you have to do is consider the level of instruction and how you'll effectively teach the chosen subject. Remember, the SE has to consider whether they learned anything, and whether your instruction helped or hindered the learning process
After you pass part 3, the whole job of lesson planning will be yours
Your skills as an instructor determine how well or how poorly you plan for each lesson