ADI training – my first student on a proper driving lesson

My First student on a proper driving lesson

Well, today I took my First student for a proper driving lesson, no role play, the real thing.

My Student was a young man who had been near test standard 5 or more years ago but hadn’t driven since.

So, my plan was to pick him up and drive him somewhere quite to get him started, after all he’d probably be very rusty & would appreciate starting from a easier location than in a busy area of Hull.

I was apprehensive because it was my first time instructing after more than a 25 break, and I also had the eagle eyed Stu sat in the back to evaluate my performance and offer recommendations.

As it turned out Stu proved he was also useful as my personal assistant, responsible for passing my training workbooks from the back seat when I needed them.

Next time I’ll get him to fetch the starbucks ūüôā

After meeting my student and explaining the plan to drive him to location, I asked him about his previous experience on the way, and why he hadn’t taken lessons for over 5 years.

He was nervous, which was evident from his shaking hands, but I reassured him that the lesson would go well, and he would enjoy his time with me.

Having no previous knowledge of his ability, I asked if he had any concerns or worries from past lessons, and suggested we should start with a drive which would help him get used to the car as well as me and Stu.

We both agreed that was a good idea, and before getting underway I asked him if his seat and mirrors were adjusted correctly, and if he could recall where the blind spots were.

We then spoke about the balance of responsibility, and how much input he wanted and needed, and that that responsibility might alter during the lesson.

I also assured him¬† that I had dual controls, but would only use them as a last resort, and if I did use them, I’d let him know, and we’d pull up and talk about it.

He asked for a dry run through the gear box with the engine off, and I also suggested he take a few attempts at finding biting point with the engine running.

Ok, “ready to move” Yes, “then move away when it’s safe please was my instruction.

I was prepared for him to stall (negative) but he moved the car with very little problem. “well done”,¬†I said “that was nice & smooth” (early praise).

After 8 minutes of driving a fairly basic route we pulled over to the left. This was my chance to workout the lesson plan.

His driving was as expected rusty, but it was his driving position that was my first focus and in need of immediate attention.

He drove way too far to the right, and a mile away from park cars, which left oncoming vehicles needing to move to the left.

He also had a habit of cutting left turns resulting in the rear wheel nearly mounting the kerb on several occasions.

Time for Mr fix it, ta dah.

Right, I said; “How do you feel that went.

“I was a bit scared he said but it wasn’t as bad as I expected”.

“Yeah, I completely understand why you would be scared after 5 years, but you did well, your move away was good, as was your gear changing” I said.

“What do you think about your driving position” I said, “especially during normal driving, and passing parked vehicles”?

“I’m terrible with distance, and scared of hitting parked cars” he said

“Yes, I understand why you would be scared of hitting parked cars, do you feel you move further to the right to compensate” I said.

“I’m not sure how far I am from the left” he said.

So, we agreed the distance required from the left hand side of the carriageway, and an adequate distance from parked cars.

We also made sure we both agreed on a measure, for example I asked him what a meter looked like to him, He demonstrated using his hands with a gap of only half a meter, so that was a big learn for him.

We spoke about the result of being too far right or left and the danger of colliding with other road users, parked cars and even the kerb.

We also spoke about cutting the left corners, and I explained why this happens, and the dangers of getting it wrong .

“So, if we were to go back over that route again, how would you handle it differently?” I said.

He explained what he would do differently, and we agreed on his aims and objectives for the lesson.

After the lesson I reflected on my performance with Stu. We agreed it went pretty well, my student gained in confidence and ability, and I felt I’d done an okay lesson.

Sure, I was in control of the lesson, but I felt my communication skills needed work, and I also knew I needed to involve my student more, giving him an input in the lessons direction and content, and allowing him a more active role in the decision making process.

This was also confirmed by Stu after the lesson.

So, the big take from today’s lesson is communication, it’s a two way thing. I should treat the lesson more as a conversation in which my student and I talk about their goals, and how between us we can acheive them.

Until the next outing

See Ya.



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ADI training part three 2nd session

ADI training part three, the story so far


ADI training part three 2nd session & Wow, 25 years away form the driver training industry and the teaching methods have really changed.

Sitting in the passenger seat instructing feels alien. You wouldn’t believe I’d been an instructor in the past.

The first thing I noticed are all the new road layouts in the city. I don’t normally travel¬† around these area’s so planning the route has led to a few hiccups.

There were few roundabouts I totally cocked up on directions. The first was at the end of mount pleasant, where you can no longer turn right.

The second was at a roundabout in Hessle. We had just left the A63 at what I call the B&Q roundabout heading towards the flyover in Hessle, the one where Asda is.

I asked Stu to take the first exit, before noticing that a new super market had been plonked to the left. The result could have caused confusion had Stu put a signal on. Fortunately he entered the roundabout passing the exit of the car park first before signalling.

Stu recommended I put some miles into driving around the city and re-learning the roads and new layouts.

But, the big change to teaching is the DVSA’s desire for instructors to be client centered in their training. I gather this is one change many ADI’s themselves are struggling with.

I’ve found there’s a lot of confusion among instructors, and it seems as though the DVSA haven’t been clear about what client centered learning looks like in today’s lessons.

Stu’s got client centered nailed, but he said ADI’s are seeking help to understand what the DVSA want, especially from those ADI’s who have been invited for a standards check.

Any way back to my part three training. My early sessions are the role play method, before we move on and find students for me to teach.

Stu put me in control, and left me to decide which lesson theme we would be practicing, and what level the student’s knowledge and ability would be.

Eager not to start at too high a level, I chose a trained pupil at a reasonable standard, but not yet ready for a test as the character Stu would role play. And the lesson theme I decided to tackle was defensive driving.

Now to be clear, we didn’t treat the role play like the old part 3 role play scenario. Stu portrayed as near as dam it a real learner consistently making mistakes throughout the lesson aimed at throwing me off the lesson theme.

I started the lesson with a recap of the previous lesson covering what was learnt and what we had agreed to work on this lesson.

I asked questions that probed his knowledge and helped him find solutions that would help him fix the mistakes made from the previous lesson.

We agreed on the lesson structure, and who would be responsible for the various roles during the lesson.

“Ok Stu, have you got your seat in the correct position and mirrors adjusted correctly, yes? right then move away when safe please” was my instruction.

Within the first 10 seconds we found ourselves leaving the car park we were in via an exit that had a blind view to the left due to overgrown foliage.

And, a blind bend 50 meters to the right to contend with. I asked Stu, to point out the danger, and how we should deal with it safely.

He said that his main worry was a vehicle coming quickly round the bend while he was creeping out into the junction to get a clear view of the left.

We agreed that it would be the best practice for him to lean forward and quickly check both sides constantly until we were sure there was not danger from the left, then at that point we could briskly emerge to the right before a vehicle could be upon us.


A good start I thought, even though we’d only traveled a few hundred feet.

As the lesson progressed, I identified errors Stu was making and relayed them back to him with the dangers that they could cause, and what was needed to avoid these mistakes again.

The more serious problems, and those difficult to talk about on the move, I pulled Stu up on the left for a chat. This was an area which wasn’t great for me because I was telling and not questioning as the DVSA wanted.

Ask questions that probes their knowledge. This approach will help you understand their thinking and then you can help them find a solution that they can focus on to resolve their mistakes, Stu said.

Easier said than done, because the original method of instruction I was taught 30 years previously, is to tell them what they’ve done wrong, explain why it was wrong, and demonstrate the correct way to do it, simples.

Anyway, at the end of the lesson after my debrief, Stu gave me some examples of using client centered techniques during a students debrief, which would help me gain valuable feedback and in turn help both myself and my student understanding where the gaps in their knowledge might be.

My my big learn from today is to ‘listen more talk less (something my partner reminds me to do often), ask better quality questions and understand the needs of my students’.


Watch out for my next post, the journey so far.

“Till next time”

See ya.



Training to become a driving instructor? Follow my Progress.

Training to become a driving instructor, back to the very beginning


30 Years ago I qualified as a driving instructor, and spent 5 years teaching people the skill of driving. I loved helping people pass their driving test, it was a absolute buzz.

Training to become a driving instructor was the best thing I could have done at the time, because it got me away from working for others, and gave me the opportunity, and independence to make my own way through life.

Although I loved being a driving instructor, I found something I loved even more, which was business.

And for the last 25  years I owned, managed and been a partner in four businesses, and I continue to be a director of two today.

During those 25 years I’ve not been involved in teaching people to drive, but recently I volunteered to retrain.

I was asked by a good friend, and respected trainer to retrain as a driving instructor, purely to help them re-model their training plan, so I said yes why not.

But, what I didn’t know at the time is he wanted me to start from scratch, and that meant study preparation for the ADI part one theory.

Now, I thought I still had a good knowledge of the information an ADI needed to know, but after 25 years away from the job, it’s amazing just how much one forgets.

Anyway, I decided to go all in and planned to give myself four weeks of study before taking the test.

Now, four weeks is a demanding schedule, because when I trained 30 years ago, I spent 20 weeks preparing for the part one before passing the paper test in Leeds.

Training to become a driving instructor

Armed, with all the usual books that you have to read, I wasted the first two weeks, and didn’t open any.

So, with the fear, not to mention embarrassment of failing the test, I knuckled down and spent a fairly intensive two weeks reading and practicing the online theory software the school had provided.

I managed to squeeze two hours into 6 evenings, and a 5 hour stint on a rainy Sunday. Yes, I know that’s not really intensive, but it was all the spare time I could allocate to study.

I went to bed dreaming about signs, markings, stopping distances, road procedure, and goodness knows what else.

Anyway the big day arrived and I wasn’t filled with confidence, but that said, even if I had given myself 20 weeks, I would have wasted most of that time doing everything other than study, and I would have still felt the same as I did.

A couple of hours later, I left the test center with a reasonably healthy pass. So, the big take from this lesson is don’t wait to get perfect, and definitely avoid given yourself 20 weeks to study, because like most people, you only need¬†4 weeks of fairly intensive study.

A big thing I learnt, was to stop wasting time sat in front of the telly. I would say many of us can find 3 hours a night to read just by not turning the telly on.

On to part two. Stu took me out on a two hour assessment, and gave me some pointers of what I needed to practice in my own car, before my second two hour session.

Another 2 hours later and I was taking the test. Strange turning up at the test center, and waiting for an examiner and praying that you pass.

Anyway, I passed but I did¬†get one minor for¬† hesitancy. Me, hesitant never. It’s weird why you do stuff that you wouldn’t do normally.

So, back to the present, and I’m starting preparation for the part three. I went out for my first session yesterday with Stu.

It was good fun, and brought back many good experiences, but, I knew straight away that it wasn’t¬†going to come flooding back to me, and the worlds moved on, the new buzz word is client centered learning.

Basically, my understanding is that instead of telling the client what to do umpteen times and hope it sticks, we now have to find a method that helps them learn from their own experiences.

This involves asking thought provoking questions, and discussing the learners needs.


Training to become a driving instructor

Now I know from experience that many people who embark on training to become a driving instructor can find the part three overwhelming.

But, on a positive I think of it this way. If you had a big enough piece of land, a car you didn’t need ha ha, and someone who’s never driven before. You could throw the keys at them and say get on with it.

Now without help, over time most would learn to drive the car. Now put an experienced driver next to them, and they’ll learn much quicker.

Then put a driving instructor with them and they’ll learn even quicker. So, a driving instructors job is to teach a system developed by the DVSA, and manage the risk of the learning environment.

So, most drivers already posses some of the skills necessary to help people learn. But, the major skill is to learn the DVSA teaching syllabus, and the skills of good communication, listening,observing patience and understanding.

So, like  with any new job, you have to learn a system or process, but most importantly you must want to become an expert of what you do, which means setting time aside to research and learn.

And, that is what I’ll be doing this week in preparation for my next lesson with Stu.

I’ll keep you informed of my progress, mistakes I make (which will be many) and my big learns as I go through the final part of the training.