Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Standards Check - Client Centred versus Coaching

Choose your approach.

When do I use Client Centred Learning, when do I coach and when do I instruct?
Being a driving instructor can be difficult at times knowing when to either instruct, coach or use client centred learning? Often there’s a lot of controversy surrounding this subject. Sometimes we have to be flexible and have all three of these teaching techniques in our armoury, but I suppose the key aspect is knowing when to use them?
What is important, is that when teaching we try to make it client centred as possible i.e. we are putting the learner at the centre of the learning process. The DVSA made a statement saying that it’s not all about coaching, it’s about client centred learning. They have also said that instruction based around the old Part 3 core competencies is still pretty good so this should not be thrown away.
The DVSA have increased the number of options available to us so that the learner can learn in an active way. So, this means that we may have to use a combination of teaching techniques.
Coaching is a powerful tool when used correctly but it is not a replacement of your existing techniques, it’s just an add-on. The principle that underpins coaching is that an engaged pupil is likely to achieve a higher level of understanding and that self-directed solutions will seem far more relevant.
Direct instruction is useful in the early stages of the learning to help the pupil cope with new situations or supporting a pupil who is clearly struggling in a certain situation. It’s often said that a good instructor will use the correct technique at the correct time and therefore matching the pupil’s needs.
If I do use direct instruction, then I usually try to encourage the pupil to analyse what the problem was and see if they can take responsibility for learning from it, therefore reinforcing learning?

Client Centred Learning.... generally requires the ADI to fully understand the pupil’s needs and to act in the best interests of the learner and not just what the ADI wants to do. Therefore, you’ve got to know what the pupil’s needs are. This information can normally be found by clever use of Q&A and both the ADI and pupil are having a conversation about appropriate goals for the lesson. Your goals may have been discussed on the previous lesson, if so, then ensure that you ask your pupil if the goals are still the same as previous set

So let’s say your pupil wants to improve on T-Junctions, then you can ask them what bits would they like to improve about the T-Junctions. You could ask them where would you like to practise the lesson. You could ask your pupil if they would like a full briefing again? You would ask them if they wanted to see any diagrams again? You would ask them what level of support do they want from you i.e. a full talk through to begin with or prompted or maybe they want to have a go themselves. By asking similar questions you are being client centred.
You may find that your pupil wants a full briefing followed by full talk-through practise, this is fine as it’s still client centred.

Instruction.... is usually described as "guided practice". The instructor tells the learner what to do and the learner carries out the actions. This is fine, but good instruction goes a little further than that. If I give guided instruction then I will tell the pupil why I'm telling them to do it this way and I would perhaps tell them what the consequences are if doing things a different way. So for example, I may tell my pupil who is approaching a T-junction to bring their speed down to 10 mph at least 4 car lengths before the junction because I want you to stop smoothly at the give way markings. If my pupil is hesitant let's say and not making progress on a national speed limit road and it's safe to get to the speed limit, then I would probably instruct the pupil to be at 60mph before they reach the second telegraph pole and tell them the reason why.

I always try to ensure that my pupil knows what action to take and why to take that action and how it is relevant to everyday driving.

Coaching.... There are different various definitions of coaching but in one way or another they all refer to "self-empowerment". The self meaning your pupil.  As an example, it's unlocking your pupils potential to maximise their learning and own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.

Because there are many different coaching models, I'm going to write a whole article in my next letter to you which closely looks at coaching models and the benefits of coaching versus traditional methods. Please look out for my next article in a few weeks time.

Kind regards

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