In order to regulate the industry, by law, all fully qualified driving instructors must pass three exams governed by the DVSA which when passed, entitles them to teach for financial reward. You would therefore assume that all instructors are the same and that there would be little concern on whether your chosen instructor is a bad choice.
Most driving instructors are good, some are exceptional and as with most industries, you’ll come across the odd bad one. You can of course reduce your chances of hiring a bad one by learning how to find a good driving instructor. But what if you’ve already made your choice of instructor, are currently having lessons and are having second thoughts about your decision?
Having that niggly feeling that your instructor isn’t as good as you’d hoped? Here, we’ll explain the key skills that differentiate a good instructor from a bad one. That way, you’ll understand how to know if your driving instructor is good, or whether it’s time to change. The key skills that make a good driving instructor include:
1. Being Punctual and Reliable
Roads can be unpredictable, so might expect your instructor to be late perhaps once or twice. They should inform you that they will be late and with a reason why. If your driving instructor is frequently late or often cancels lessons, then it might suggest that they are not taking their job seriously and as such, it could be time to look for another.
Part of a good driving instructor’s attributes is patience. We all have different abilities and we all learn at different rates and a driving instructor that gets irritable or angry when you mess up, is not a good instructor. All this does is makes you even more anxious and stressed, which then results in more mistakes being made. If you have a grumpy instructor that affects your ability to learn and make progress, say goodbye and look for another.
3. Teaching Style
As can be expected, driving instructors adopt a teaching method that most learners easily understand. However, not all learner drivers are the same and some may struggle the teaching methods being used.
A good driving instructor will change their teaching methods to adapt to the learner. This could be by the use of more diagrams, a greater level of verbal prompting while driving, to break lessons into smaller components for easier understanding – the list goes on.
Driving instructors are usually pretty good at recognising problems with their learners, but if you are having difficulties understanding the methods that your instructor is using to teach you, ensure that you let your instructor know. They will then hopefully adapt to a method that suits you. If they don’t, it’ll likely take you longer to learn and might be worth looking at trying a different instructor.
4. Good Communication Skills
A driving instructor needs to be able to appropriately communicate not only the areas in which you’re doing very well, but also the areas that need more work. This needs to be communicated in such as way that doesn’t leave you feeling disheartened or worse still, that your lesson was a complete failure.
It’s important that an instructor keeps raised spirits, particularly during and after a lesson where you make more mistakes than usual. Driving lessons where anything that can go wrong, does go wrong happen from time-to-time. The instructor needs to keep your morale high and assure you that progress is being made.
If your instructor is overly negative, it can affect your confidence. Long term, this may then affect your ability to learn and make progress. Nobody wants to feel like a loser, so change that instructor for one that gives you the confidence to succeed.
5. Making Progress
Another important factor in determining how good your driving instructor is, is the amount of progress you’re making. This does of course vary as each and every learner is different, but a good driving instructor should be able to gauge an appropriate progress rate in which to conduct lessons. Every learner progresses at a different rate and the instructor should not set a rate that’s too fast as to overwhelm, but equally, not set a rate so slow that the learner feels held back.
6. Planning Skills
As a learner, you need driving lesson plans. You’ll be following a learning to drive syllabus, starting from the basics and working your way towards test standard. The instructor should keep a record of what you have covered so far, along with areas of the syllabus that you are proficient and areas that require more work.
The instructor should also have a record of these lesson plans that you can take home and refer to when needed. Additionally, part of the procedure requires the instructor to plan what you’ll be doing on each lesson and when the lesson finishes, verbally run through the highlights of the lesson and areas that require more attention on the next lesson.
7. Friendly and Approachable
You’ll find learning to drive far easier if you’re relaxed and feel comfortable sitting next to the person that’s teaching you to drive. Having a little chat here and there takes off the stress a little. People skills is something that your instructor should have, so if they’re friendly and approachable, it’ll make all the difference.
8. A Sense of Humour
A sense of humour isn’t crucial, but having a laugh about everything and anything really does make driving lessons much more pleasurable. The more you enjoy them and the more relaxed you are, the better you’ll learn. Obviously there’s a time and place for everything, but a well placed giggle here and there does wonders.