Understanding the expectations for role play is essential if you are to avoid the risk of gambling, and deliver effective learning
Element 6.6.2 of the National Driver and Rider Training Standard sets out fourteen performance standards the trainer needs to meet in order to deliver a successful programme of role play. It is essential you understand these in order to be successful in delivering lessons to the correct standard. Following on from last month, this article focuses on the last seven performance standards.
When I first started training people to be driving instructors, over 25 years’ ago, I didn’t really understand the importance of managing the risk – avoiding trainee driving instructor overload, and simulating high-risk faults. I remember using pedestrian crossings to develop the trainee instructor’s level of instruction with an inexperienced learner driver. On time, when we were creeping along in traffic on a high street approaching a zebra crossing ahead, my intention was to obstruct the crossing, albeit momentarily, but as I attempted to move onto the crossing, the trainee used the dual brake to stop me and the car behind went into the back of us. My emotional response was one of anger with the trainee for being too quick with his dual brake. Fortunately, I don’t think I showed this too much (or at least, I hope I didn’t!). There was no real harm done and certainly no damage so, after a conciliatory discussion with the driver behind, we pulled up in a safe place to reflect on the situation.
I certainly learned a lesson, and these days I understand much more clearly the importance of managing the risk to prevent such situations occurring. Firstly, I should have divided up the responsibility for risk at the start of the role-play and informed the trainee that he would not be expected to use the dual controls during this exercise. Secondly, I should have discussed how many faults I was going to put in and what I was expecting of the trainee when thinking about the goal of the exercise. Finally, given the amount of traffic on the road and the likelihood of a rear-end shunt, it would have been more sensible to simulate or hypothesise the situation – I could have asked: ‘Is it alright for me to stop on this crossing?’ The following four competences from the sixth unit in the Driver Training Standard lend themselves to this because they are all about managing the risk whilst conducting the role play.
Make sure that safe practices are followed while in role, such as:
● verbal simulation of high risk faults where possible
● threatening unsafe manoeuvres without actually making the manoeuvre
● portrayal of high risk attitudes that act as a barrier to safe and responsible driving or riding, where appropriate
Manage the balance of risk and simulation so that neither you nor the trainee instructor is overloaded, adapting the level of fault simulation to match the trainee instructor’s ability. Use situations that develop on road to your advantage, while maintaining safety.
This next competence about showing realistic improvement illustrates the importance of remaining focused, as the trainer, on the goal of the role play exercise. Learning must take place and if the trainee instructor is achieving this, then the role play must reflect the same. Show realistic improvement when the trainee instructor identifies and targets a development need.
Once the role-play exercise is finished, it is essential that the trainer remembers details of the drive. Sometimes, this might mean saying to the trainee: ‘OK, I’m out of role now. Please give me a moment to make a few notes so that I can remember what I wanted to discuss with you.’Remember details of the drive or ride while in role, so that you can give feedback when out of role.
It is important to remember the trainee’s goal for the session and that the point of the role-play is to help the trainee achieve this goal. The feedback you give the trainee needs to be balanced around the goal. The trainee should go away with a clear idea of what to develop and how to practise. So, making your techniques transparent will really help with this. For example, pointing out to the trainee how you divided up the responsibility for risk at the start of the exercise, how you set the exercise up and played a particular role throughout the exercise, limiting the number of faults you put in so that the trainee could achieve the goal, will give them a good benchmark of what they need to do to improve and develop. Provide accurate but supportive feedback to help the trainee instructor to develop good instructional technique and safe practices.
The trainer’s ability to manage role play is assessed for ORDIT (Official Register of Driving Instructor Trainers), based on these competences. Reflecting on your training sessions by measuring yourself against these will help you develop your role play and instructor training skills.