A comprehensive guide to passing the Approved Driving Instructor Part 3 Teaching Test

This guide is dedicated to helping you to understand how to pass the Approved Driving Instructor Part 3 teaching exam with a Grade A mark.

You will find links to other pages on this site that can help you to instruct to a high standard overall too, but this page is dedicated to helping you to pass the Part 3 or ADI standards check with a Grade A.

An overview of the purpose of the ADI Part 3 test, how it is scored and instructor skills needed to pass

The aim of the assessment is to ensure that you can deliver a client centred lesson, which is appropriate to the needs of your pupil. you need to help your pupil to learn in an active way

It is very important to be aware that there is a difference between

  1. Client-centred learning
  2. Coaching

Teaching in a client centred way means:

  1. Listening to your learner (the client) to find out how they like to learn
  2. Discovering the things that are getting in the way of their progress
  3. Using appropriate methods to help them achieve their goal

Coaching is a way of helping a pupil or client to learn, which:

  1. Is about asking the right questions to help the individual work through their own issues
  2. Offers no expert advice and doesn't require the coach to have expert operational knowledge

In spite of many trainers advocating coaching as the way to pass the Part 3 exam coaching is not always necessary or appropriate. For example, if the pupil wants expert advice and you don't offer it, then you will be acting contrary to the very first rule of client-centred learning. Although it can be a powerful extension to increase the range of learning options available to your pupil, coaching is not an automatic replacement for any of the recognised three core competencies.

What are the core competencies that a driving instructor needs to demonstrate during a teaching standards check?

Those three core competencies are your abilities to:

  1. Identify faults
  2. Analyse faults
  3. Correct faults

But, they don't necessarily need to be done in that order, or even done at all depending on:

  1. The severity of the fault
  2. The situation
  3. The lesson plan

If the fault is dangerous you must always identify it, even if only in your own mind, and correct it to keep people safe. If you have time you should identify the hazard for pupil too so that they can react.

If the fault is serious it should always be attended to with some form of analysis. If part of the lesson plan or a fundamental problem that will impact on the lesson then this should be done at the roadside.

If the fault is less serious then it may or may not be ignored depending on the level of skill of the learner.

There will be more detailed information about this further on.

In the Part 3, or Standards check,  assessment of teaching ability, these competencies are assessed across three interlinked strategic aspects of capability, namely:

  1. Lesson planning
  2. Risk management
  3. Teaching and learning strategies

These three aspects of capability cover a total of 17 tactical instructor skills. Each skill is marked on scale of competence descending from 3 to 0.

Marks will be given as follows:

  • 3 = high skills - competence demonstrated in all elements
  • 2 = acceptable skills - competence demonstrated in most elements
  • 1 = poor skills - a few elements of competence demonstrated
  • 0 = negligible skills - no evidence of competence

At the end of the test these marks are added together to produce:

  • A possible minimum of 0
  • A possible maximum of 51

The assessment will be regarded as not being up to standard and you will fail if you:

  1. Score a total of 30 marks or fewer overall
  2. Score a total of 7 marks or fewer out of a possible 15 in the Risk Management section
  3. At any point in the lesson, behave in a way, which puts you (the PDI), the pupil, the examiner, or any third party in immediate danger. In this case the lesson will be stopped and the test will end with immediate effect.

Should you score sufficient marks to pass you will be graded depending on your score:

  1. 43 -51 marks - Grade A - A high overall standard of instruction demonstrated
  2. 31 - 42 marks - Grade B - Sufficient competence demonstrated to permit entry to the Register of Approved Driving Instructors

Lesson planning asks the questions:

  1. Did you, the trainer, identify the pupils learning goals and needs?
  2. Was the agreed lesson structure appropriate for the pupils experience and ability??
  3. Were the practice areas suitable?
  4. Was the lesson plant adapted, when appropriate, to help the pupil work towards their learning goals?

Risk management assesses:

  1. Did the trainer ensure that the pupil fully understood how the responsibility for risk would be shared?
  2. Were directions and instructions given to the pupil clear and given in good time?
  3. Was the train are aware of the surroundings and the pupils actions?
  4. Was any verbal or physical intervention by the trainer timely and appropriate?
  5. Was the finishing feedback given to help the pupil understand any potential safety critical incidents?

Teaching and learning strategies judges:

  1. Was the teaching style suited to the pupils learning style and current ability?
  2. Was the pupil encouraged to analyse problems and take responsibility for their learning?
  3. Were opportunities and examples used to clarify learning outcomes?
  4. Was the technical information given comprehensive, appropriate and accurate?
  5. Was the pupil given appropriate and timely feedback during the session?
  6. Where the pupils queries followed up and answered?
  7. Did the trainer maintain an appropriate non-discriminatory manner throughout the session?
  8. At the end of the session - was the pupil encouraged to reflect on their own performance?

These specific skills are broken down into their elements further on down. But before you worry about those specific skills you should be sure that your general preparation is all it should be.

General preparation for an ADI part 3 test

Make sure that you know how to drive to a high standard

You should be familiar with the tactics and operations necessary for a high standard of driving. You might think that this is what is checked in the ADI Part 2 test: Assessment of driving ability. That is not the case. The Part 2 checks that you use specific tactics - namely MSM. But it does not check that you use specific operations for positioning the car. The DVSA are happy with the operations being heuristic skills. That means they don't need a specific method, all they have to do is be good enough to be reasonably safe.

Now think back to how you were taught to drive. Naturally you were taught the tactics of mirror-signal-manoeuvre. But were you taught specific operations for something like turning left at the end of the road? Did your instructor tell you exactly how hard to brake? Did they tell you at exactly which point to steer, and how much to steer? No they didn't. You had to work it out for yourself by trial and error. Eventually it became a heuristic skill. You did it well enough to pass the test, without necessarily being conscious of what you were doing exactly.

But being able to do something as a heuristic is quite different to explaining how it is done to a high standard.

Unless you can explain such operations to your pupil in detail, they are going to have to work things out by trial and error too. It is therefore going to be extremely difficult for you to maintain full control of the lesson. Which means that your risk management is going to suffer.

Unfortunately for PDI's many instructor trainers, even ORDIT ones, fail to have concise theoretical operational knowledge. This is why many such trainers espouse the use of coaching. Coaching, as already explained, needs no expert operational knowledge.

If your trainer struggles to explain the precise operational steps - when to slow down, how hard to brake, when to steer, how much to steer etc, - of how to do something as basic as turning left from a minor to major road you may well be better offer finding one who can.

For if you are not absolutely clear about how to explain the operational processes necessary to drive to a high standard you are likely to give unclear or misleading advice on your teaching assessment. This should be avoided.

A comment such as ‘You're positioning a bit close to the middle of the road when you emerge left’ is of little use as it doesn't fit the measurable part of the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-framed) guideline that should be used to aid learning.  ’A bit’ is not measurable. Such a statement could however be used to introduce coaching on an operational weakness.

Once you are sure that you know how good driving works, and if you don't you can find out on our how to drive proactively guide, you can move on to helping the pupil to acquire your high quality of understanding of how to be safe on the road.

There are three main elements to this:

  1. Controlling the speed and position of the car on approach to the hazard
  2. Controlling the speed that the hazard is negotiated at
  3. Maintaining directional control while negotiating the hazard.

Maintain control of a driving lesson and manage risk by controlling the approach to a hazard

This is the absolute number one priority skill that you yourself need and need to get a learner to understand.

Even at a very early stage, once a learner has acquired the best practice, theoretical knowledge of how to do something, the reason that they get things wrong is usually that they are going too fast. They are time stressed.

The reason that they are time stressed is that they know that if they don't take some form of action when a hazard becomes apparent then within a few seconds they are inevitably going to collide with something.

It therefore seems obvious to take steps to minimize such stress, as according to many studies stress affects learning and memory recall.

The only logical way to alleviate this stress in every case is always to act as if to stop smoothly and gently at what feels like a safe distance from the hazard, as soon as the hazard is seen.

This simple, single repeatable action that can totally manage the risk and remove the stress of a hazard is the first lesson that should be taught to learners once they are on the move.

It was suggested in 'Safety margins in the driver' by Rickard Nillson that there are two levels of processing available to us when we perform a task, automated or deliberate.

Most of the time, while encountering frequent or regular hazards, the driver operates at the automated level. At the automated level, which is without volition or conscious control, processing is fast and effortless.

When something new or unexpected happens and the driver lacks experience regarding how to both decide and act in such a novel situation the deliberate level is demanded. These processes are slow and demand cognitive effort. Time and space can both run out very quickly while thinking.

So by getting your pupils to automatise this stopping response in reaction to any hazard it will become their default automatic reaction. The safety of all their future driving is therefore likely to be improved. This is especially true when encountering rare and singular hazards.

If you do this you it will greatly enhance your chance of passing your teaching ability test.

If you feel safety is possibly going to be compromised by any hazard you must intervene using the options of Alert, Instruct, Control.

  1. Alert - If you feel that the pupil does not appreciate that their actions lead you to believe that your feeling of safety may be compromised you should alert them to the hazard. This means that their driving is moving from the Comfortable, pro-active style to the Everyday, reactive driving style
  2. Instruct - Should they not take appropriate action you will instruct them in what to do. Most normally this will be "Slow down as if to stop..." but may involve steering or other control instruction
  3. Control - Should the pupil still not take appropriate action you must use the dual controls. These can be used in good time to demonstrate the correct pro-active risk management tactics and operations as well as to manage unexpected  risk.

However this "Slow down as if to stop a safe distance from the hazard" risk management procedure is not explicitly evident in the government recommended tactics for dealing with hazards of Mirror-Signal-Manoeuvre. Nor is it commonly acknowledged as good practice by driving instructor trainers. It is therefore unsurprising that the pass rate for the part 3 test has historically only been at around 30%.

Not only does this tactic de-stress the learner, it also gives them time to deal with situations in a deliberate manner. These deliberate actions gradually become automated through regular repetition.

Another feature of slowing down as if to stop is that it will also always give you all the time you need to give any further instruction.

This procedure should absolutely be at the core of your fault identification, analysis and correction as well as risk management. Whether you coach it or instruct it is really neither here nor there.

Controlling a lesson means that you get the pupil to put the car exactly where you would put it, assuming that you drive to the high standard recommended earlier. Once you have controlled the approach to a hazard you need to control how the pupil negotiates the hazard. There are two aspects to this. Speed, and directional, control.

Make sure that you know how to get the pupil to control the car very well at low speed

Low-speed car control is particularly important. Because it is the speed at which most manoeuvering takes place and where things can go wrong almost instantly. Going even one mile an hour too fast may cause big problems for a learner.

If you're teaching in an automatic then this should be relatively easy. A very handy tip is always to pause when coming off the brake before using the accelerator. This allows the car to get moving and essentially do the equivalent of finding the biting point. Only then should you apply the gas.

In a manual car make sure that you understand about clutch use at low speeds. Contrary to popular belief the clutch is not just there to prevent stalling, it's there to prevent jerkiness. If the car is jerking it is not properly under full control. What's more, your pupil will know that it's not under full control and will quite reasonably doubt their skills.

Clutch control is rarely well taught due to a lack of understanding and many half truths around the subject. This is particularly true of coasting. Many instructors and trainers incorrectly believe that having the clutch down at low-speed is coasting and therefore incompatible with proper car control. Coasting is in fact having the clutch down when it is not necessary. Make sure that you understand this.

To make things easy for you, make things easy for your learner. Remember this is a guide to help you get through your part 3 test as simply as possible. Making things easy might reasonably involve putting a lift under the driver’s floor mat so that your pupil is able to pivot their heel on the floor while having the clutch at the biting point.

Limiting the downward travel of the clutch to just beyond the biting point can also be very beneficial. This makes it much easier for a pupil to find the biting point. Consult a professional mechanic or motor engineer if you feel uncertain about doing this safely.

Ensure that the eyes are accurately leading the vehicle positioning rather than lazily leading or following the direction

This skill is part of the braking as if to stop routine.  This is because the pupil will always concentrate their gaze at the part of the scenery that offers most information with regard to safety. If they prioritise looking at other hazards, due to any fear factor caused by going too fast, there is no way that the pupil will look in any other direction.

Gaze direction skill is lacking in many instructors and instructor trainers because they have learned to steer heuristically, that is in a non methodical way. It is likely that you, yourself don't have to think about steering, as you have learned to drive the same way. So you can see why it is unsurprising that very few drivers have this skill. If trained early however it is likely to become an automatic reaction and is therefore likely to make people safer.

Specific preparation for an ADI part 3 test

Know what elements are needed for the various Lesson Planning 'low' competencies and which elements indicate a lack of preparedness

  1. Did the trainer identify the pupil's learning goals and needs?

Elements that would give an indication of your competence include:

  • The fact that you actively recognise the need to understand the pupil’s experience and background
    - recap about their reason for learning to drive
  • Being certain to know what the pupil wants from the lesson. Encourage the pupil to talk about their goals, concerns etc. and actively listen to what the pupil has to say
    - If there are any safety critical issues that are not regarded as comfortable driving explore further
  • Always ensuring there is understanding about responsibility for managing risk
    - if necessary remind about the three different types of risk statistical, subjective and objective
    - the prime object of any lesson should be about getting a pupil to manage objective risk so that other road users and not just they, the pupil, feel safe at all times
    -  they must understand and agree to this before they move off
  • Asking questions to ensure understanding
    -  repeating their replies in a different format is good technique here
  • Checking understanding as the lesson progresses
    - use the pupil progress chart if necessary
  • Listening to and understanding the significance of what what the pupil is saying
    - are their replies in line with good driving if not Identify, Analyse Correct
  • Take note of other indications, e.g body language. The pupil may express something but perhaps does not put it into words
    -  some pupils may be inhibited by the presence of an examiner frame a suitable  closed question that doesn’t put pressure on them to be correct. E.g. “I sense that you are not comfortable with this is that correct?”

Indications of a lack of competence could include the following elements:

  • Making assumptions about understanding or experience without checking
  • Failing to note negative or concerned comments about the lesson
  • Not noting body language that shows discomfort
  • Undermining the pupil’s confidence by frequently asking questions obviously beyond the pupil’s knowledge or understanding
  • Pushing the pupil to address issues that they are not happy to talk about, unless there is a clear need, such as an identified risk or a safety critical issue

Was the agreed lesson structure appropriate for the pupil's experience and ability?


Indications that all the elements of competence are in place should:

  • be structured so the pupil can progress at a manageable rate
    - identify the next two to three steps on the path to being a fully skilled driver
  • stretch the pupil without overwhelming them
    - multiple gentle stretches are better than one big one
  • ensure the pupil understands what they plan to do and agrees with that plan
    - check that they know what the steps will do to improve their driving
  • reflects the information given by the pupil and the learning goals they want to tackle
    - make sure that their goals are SMART
  • be building in opportunities to check the statements made by the pupil before moving to more challenging situations
    - don't necessarily take their word that they can do something before launching them out of their depth
  • checking theoretical understanding
    - get them to describe what they are going to do

Indications of lack of competence include:

  • delivering a pre-planned, standard lesson that doesn’t take into account the pupil’s expressed needs or concerns
  • failing to build in a suitable balance of practice and theory

Were the practice areas suitable? .


Indications that all the elements of competence for choosing a suitable practice area are in place could include choosing a practice area / route that:

  • Provides a range of opportunities to address the agreed learning objectives
    - make sure that you have scouted the area on the day and planned your route
  • Stretches and challenges the pupil, but is realistic in terms of the pupil’s capabilities, competence, and confidence
    - better to be too easy than too hard, use roadside discussion about potential upcoming problems to check the achievability of dealing with those hazards

Indications of lack of competence include the PDI taking the pupil into an area that:

  • takes the pupil well outside of their competence zone - so that they spend all their time ‘fire-fighting’ and have no space left to look at learning issues
  • exposing the pupil to risks they cannot manage

Was the lesson plan adapted, when appropriate, to help the pupil work towards their learning goals?

Indications that all the elements of competence for adapting a lesson plan to help the pupil work towards their learning goals are in place if:

  • you are willing and able to adapt the lesson plan if the pupil appears to be uncomfortable or unable to deal with, the learning experience that  you have set up
    - check they are happy before the actual lesson starts, but offer alternatives along the way
  • you change things if the pupil suggests that the lesson is not providing what they were looking for
    - apologise and ask for more specificity
  • you adapt quickly if the pupil’s inability is creating a possible risk situation.
    - you may require a few extra questions to clarify what  the problem is. It may be that the issue is because of the teaching style, rather than the overall plan being wrong. Whatever the reason for adapting the plan, you must make sure the pupil understands what they are doing and why.

Indications that all the elements of competence are in place could include:

  • comparing the actual performance of the pupil with their claims and clarifying any differences
    - use the scaling technique
  • responding to any faults or weaknesses that undermine the original plan for the session
    - if the pupil struggles acknowledge it ASAP and make it easier. Also vice versa
  • responding to any concerns or issues raised by the pupil
    - check for detail
  • picking up on non-verbal signs of discomfort or confusion
    - pull in and discuss

Indications of lack of competence include:

  • persisting with a plan despite the pupil being clearly out of their depth
  • persisting with a plan despite the pupil demonstrating faults or weaknesses that should lead to a rethink of the plan
  • changing the plan without reason
  • failing to explain to the pupil why the plan has been changed

Risk Management

It is vital that all parties in any on-road training situation understand, and are clear about, where the responsibility lies for the safety of themselves, others in the vehicle and other road users.

From a legal point of view, learner drivers have the same responsibility, with regard to a duty of care towards other road user,s as experienced and skilled drivers do – even if it’s their first time behind the wheel. This principle was established in the case of Nettleship v. Watson [1971] at the Court of Appeal. At the same time the Court ruled too that the instructor was also responsible as they are partially in control of the car.

You should therefore impress on the learner that if they feel at all anxious about being able to deal with a situation at their current speed they should take the initiative to slow down and stop if necessary.

Although in practical legal terms both learner and instructor are jointly legally liable while in the car, from a professional and moral point of view it is up to the teacher to take primary responsibility with a new driver and gradually transfer it to the pupil.

There are two aspects to the management of risk in any training situation:

  1. Maintaining absolute safety and the feeling of being safe. The DVSA advocate the use of dual controls when the pupil is not managing risk sufficiently to keep everyone feeling safe. - Never assume that the pupil is capable of being fully responsible for risk management
  2. Developing the pupil’s awareness of and ability to manage risk (as the driver, the pupil also has responsibilities).

Did the trainer ensure that the pupil fully understood how the responsibility for risk would be shared?

You must always show that you are actively managing the issue for assessment purposes.

Indications that all the elements of competence are in place could include:

  • checking that the pupil knows what is meant by risk - 3 types of risk. Statistical, Subjective (Pupil's perceived risk as driver), Objective (Passengers perception of Headway, or time to collision)
  • asking the pupil what sorts of issues create risk, such as the use of alcohol or drugs
    -  ask them if they know of anybody who has had a crash or if they've been in a vehicle that has had a near miss
  • explaining clearly what is expected of the pupil and what the pupil can reasonably expect of you
    - That the style of driving being taught is one that eliminates objective risk as well as subjective risk
    - They should seek to keep headway infinite by taking action as soon as possible.
    - If you feel safety is possibly going to be compromised you will intervene using the Alert, Instruct, Control method described below
  1. Alert them to any hazard at times when your feeling of safety may be compromised
  2. Instruct them as to what to do, should they not take appropriate action
  3. Control the car using the dual controls, should they still not take appropriate action - The dual controls can be used to demonstrate the correct technique if necessary but make the pupil aware of this
  • Discuss any changes in the balance of responsibility, or level of acceptable safety and how long they will last
    -  give reasons for these
  • checking that the pupil understands what is required of them when there is a change of plan or they are asked to repeat an exercise - get them to describe what they will do

Indications of lack of competence include:

  • failing to address the issue of risk management
  • giving incorrect guidance about where responsibility lies for management of risk
  • failing to explain how dual controls will be used
  • undermining the pupil’s commitment to being safe and responsible, e.g. by promoting risky attitudes to speed or drug use
  • asking the pupil to repeat a manoeuvre or carry out a particular exercise without making sure that they understand what role the PDI is going to play

Were directions and instructions given to the pupil clear and given in good time?

Over instruction on the move is generally due to a lack of understanding of risk management by the pupil and reflects poorly on your preparation for that particular drive

Indications that all the elements of competence are in place could include:

  • clear, concise instructions that are kept to a minimum
    - imagine how hard it can be to watch a movie or play a video game and have a conversation at the same time
    -  Instruction should be timely, appropriate and sufficient
    - Alert, Identify, Direct
  • ensuring the pupil understands what they plan to do and agrees with that plan
    - check to see the pupil is reacting correctly
  • directions given at a suitable time so that the pupil can respond
    - enable maximum reaction time

Indications of lack of competence include:

  • giving confused instructions
  • giving unnecessary instructions
  • giving instructions too late
  • failing to recognise when your input is causing overload or confusion

Was the trainer aware of the surroundings and the pupil's actions?

This question lies at the heart your risk management skill as a PDI.

Indications that all the elements of competence are in place could include:

  • Your awareness of what is going on outside the car as well as inside
    - control the lesson and especially the approach to hazards to give you time to observe all around
  • Observing the actions of the pupil, especially their awareness of the surroundings and potential hazards, also includes what's not going on comments and body language
    - once again keep it slower than normal if necessary to manage risk. Tell the pupil if their competence is poor that you need them to go slower so that you can manage risk and teach
  • anticipating whether the pupils likely actions are suitable in any given situation
    -are they using the best practice tactics and operations
  • responding accordingly
    - use Alert, Instruct, Control and check knowledge and understanding

    Indications of lack of competence include:
  • lapses in awareness
    - Any serious lapses in this area are likely to lead to a 0 marking and possible instant test failure.

Was any verbal or physical intervention by the trainer timely and appropriate?


Indications that all the elements of competence are in place could include:

  • Keeping verbal intervention while on the move to a minimum
    -  this will allow the pupil to concentrate better and can signal your confidence
  • Ensuring that stationary inputs and interventions take the form of a dialogue
    - Use question and answer techniques
  • Make sure that your input is not too great or too little
    -  ask your pupil for feedback about this
  •  Intervening in a way that actively supports the pupil’s learning process and safety during the session.
    - use the Alert Instruct Control technique
    - use the SCAN routine and best practice operations
    - if you are going to use talk through or prompting let the pupil know beforehand
  • allowing the pupil to deal with situations appropriately
    - if they are doing fine, keep quiet, with encouragement when they have improved or done something unexpectedly well.
  • taking control of situation where the pupil is clearly out of their depth
    - this intervention should be early. If they feel like they are are only up to their knees so to speak, but you can see they are soon going to be up to their neck do something - slow as if to stop is usually the answer

Indications of lack of competence include:

  • Ignoring a developing situation and leaving the pupil to flounder
  • Taking control of a situation the pupil is clearly dealing with appropriately
  • Constantly intervening when unnecessary
  • Intervening inappropriately and creating distractions
  • Undermining the pupil’s confidence
  • Reinforcing yourself as the person who is in sole control of the lesson

Was sufficient feedback given to help the pupil understand any potentially safety critical incidents?

Indications that all the elements of competence are in place could include:

  • finding a safe place to stop and examine the critical incident
    - do this as soon as practical to ensure that the incident is fresh
  • allowing the pupil time to express any fears or concerns the incident might have caused
  • get them to speak until they have said their piece
  • supporting the pupil to reflect clearly about what happened
  • Add or correct detail with Q&A
  • providing input to clarify aspects of the incident that the pupil is not aware of
  • Education - Had the pupil been taught to direct their attention to the appropriate place
  • Perception - did the pupil see the situation
  • Comprehension - did they recognise the situation as hazardous
  • Decision - why did they decide to do what they did
  • Action - was the action performed in line with best practice
  • support the pupil to identify tactics and operations for future situations
  • Check their understanding of SCAN


  • providing input where the pupil does not understand what they should do differently
    - usually to do with subjective risk versus objective risk
  • checking that the pupil feels able to put the strategy in place
  • Do they currently have the necessary skills and knowledge
  • agreeing ways of developing that competence if the pupil feels the need
  • Instruction, demonstration or easier practice

Indications of lack of competence include:


  • failing to examine the incident
  • taking too long to address issues generated by an incident
  • not allowing the pupil to explore their own understanding
  • telling the pupil what the solution is and not checking their understanding
  • failing to check the pupil’s ability to put in place the agreed strategy


Teaching and learning strategies


  • The important thing to remember when considering teaching and learning styles is that it is about client-centred learning.
    - Discover what people wants to learn and guide them on the path to discovery


  • Instruction based around the core competences of Identify, Analyse, Correct, is pretty good
    - when identifying a problem make sure that the  pupil knows the difference between cause and effect.e.g. Poor steering might be the effect of which poor gaze direction is the cause


  • Direct instruction is useful in helping a pupil in the early stages cope with new situations or supporting a pupil who is clearly struggling in a certain situation
    -  it is unlikely that people is going to reach a high standard of technique in a short space of time through coaching


  • Coaching is a extension of the range of options. It is not an automatic replacement for any of the existing ones.
    -  once a pupil knows the correct tactics or operations then you can coach their performance of those
  • Self-directed solutions will seem far more relevant. This applies in every situation, including instruction
    -  do not try to coach if a pupil has asked for instruction


Was the teaching style suited to the pupil’s learning style and current ability?


Indications that all the elements of competence are in place could include:


  • actively working to understand how they can best support the pupil’s learning process (they might not achieve a full understanding in the session – it is the attempt that demonstrates competence)
    - ask them what kind of help they need. Do they want Q&A Or do they want to be told what to do

    • using a question and answer technique that matches the pupil’s level of ability
    - encourage them to use a higher (GDE matrix) level of thinking to give a response

  • allowing the pace of the session to be set by the pupil
    -  encourage them to challenge themselves but do not force them to go beyond their capability

    • allowing a pupil to experiment, if this is within safe bounds
    - explain that you will allow them to try something but may intervene if necessary
  • modifying the teaching style when they realise there is a need to do so
    -  change from coaching to instruction if there is increased risk (due to the pupil having set themselves a task which then turns out to be too challenging) or change from instruction to coaching when risk decreases


  • providing accurate and technically correct demonstration, instruction or information
    - giving technically incorrect instruction or information is an automatic fail if that input might lead to a safety critical situation. Explain in simple terms first and see if that suffices, or if they need more detail.

  • assessing the effectiveness of a question
    -  note if there has been an increase in understanding and communicate this to the pupil
  • using practical examples and other similar tools to provide different ways of looking at a particular subject
    - Recall previous incidents or use visual aids to demonstrate


  • linking learning in theory to learning in practice
    -  ask what they know from the theory test, watching videos or reading


  • encouraging and helping the pupil to take ownership of the learning process
    -  if there's any way that they think lesson could or should progress


  • responding to faults in a timely manner
    - Remember they have agreed to learn to be objectively safe so that your interventions can be nice and early


  • providing enough uninterrupted time to practice new skills
    - define a practice route or time during which there will be minimal intervention even if on occasion there are lapses from comfortable to everyday driving

  • providing the pupil with clear guidance about how they might practice outside the session
    -  remember not push themselves too far. Get them to refer to the learning materials that you have recommended if uncertain or in conflict


Indications of lack of competence include:


  • adopting a teaching style clearly at odds with the pupil’s learning style
  • failing to check with the pupil whether the approach they are taking is acceptable
  • failing to explore other ways of addressing a particular learning point
  • concentrating on delivering teaching tools rather than looking for learning outcomes
    • asking closed questions that are below the obvious demonstrated knowledge of the pupil
    • asking questions that are  way beyond the knowledge of the pupil
  • ignoring safety issues


Was the pupil encouraged to analyse problems and take responsibility for their learning?


Indications that all the elements of competence are in place could include:


  • remaining silent so that the pupil is encouraged to actively problem solve
    -  watch the pupil’s body language to see if they are formulating an answer or are uncertain of what to do

    • providing time, in a suitable location, to explore any problems or issues that arose during the lesson or that were raised by the pupil
    - use the necessary competencies progress chart
  • providing timely opportunities for analysis
    -  this should be done promptly in the case of risk critical incidents, but maybe done at a scheduled stop if not critical
  • taking time and using suitable techniques to understand any problems the pupil had with understanding an issue
    - Q&A, draw diagrams, demonstration
  • suggesting suitable strategies to help the pupil develop their understanding
    -  use practical examples or pointing them at further reading
  • giving clear and accurate information to fill gaps in the pupil’s knowledge or understanding
    - Identify, analyse, correct.
    - Is it an issue of education, perception, comprehension, decision or action?
    - Do they use Search, check, approach, negotiate?
  • leaving the pupil feeling that they had responsibility for their learning in the situation
    - recap asking them if they're pleased that they were the ones that sorted things out
  • offering the option to explore the subject further and reflect upon a particular problem out of the lesson
    - do this if it it not core to the lesson plan


Indications of lack of competence include:


  • leaving the pupil feeling that the PDI was in control of the teaching process
  • failing to explore alternative ways of addressing a problem – in response to evidence of different learning preferences
  • providing unsuitable or incorrect inputs
  • pushing a pupil to come up with answers on the spot may be unproductive for some


Were opportunities and examples used to clarify learning outcomes?


Indications that all the elements of competence are in place could include:


  • using examples identified on a lesson in a suitable way and at a suitable time to confirm or reinforce understanding and technique and link it with theory
    - instantly praise correct new behaviour on the move, praise in recap when stopped
  • exploring different ways to use examples to respond to differences in preferred learning style
    -  memory, diagrams, what if scenarios
  • using examples that are within the pupil’s range of experience and ability to understand
    - ask them if there is anything similar to date think of


  • recognising that some pupils will be able to respond instantly while others will want to think about the issue
    - offer them time to think when you ask them

Indications of lack of competence include:


  • using examples the pupil cannot really understand through lack of experience
  • using complex examples that the pupil doesn’t have the ability to respond to
  • failing to give the pupil time to think through the issues and come to their own conclusion
  • imposing an interpretation

Was the technical information given comprehensive, appropriate and accurate?


Indications that all the elements of competence are in place could include:


  • giving accurate, appropriate, relevant and timely demonstrations or explanations to ensure understanding
    - ask whether they want a demonstration or explanation
  • checking understanding and, if necessary, repeating the demonstration or explanation
    -  ask if they think they could now carry out the exercise - if not why not
  • finding a different way to demonstrate or explain if the pupil still does not understand
    - Ask them to explain as best they can, so that you can then find out what areas of knowledge are lacking

Indications of lack of competence include:


  • Noting a fault but providing inaccurate, unclear or any information, too late or too early in the learning process. This can result in an instant fail if a safety critical situation subsequently occurs
  • Coaching an answer rather than giving a clear answer when the time taken will be excessive
  • failing to check understanding
  • failing to explore alternative ways of presenting information where the pupil does not understand the first offering


Was the pupil given appropriate and timely feedback during the session?


Indications that all the elements of competence are in place could include:


  • providing essential, realistic, balanced feedback in response to questions from the pupil
    - Highlight the good. Areas that are lacking should be expressed as opportunities for learning.

  • seeking appropriate opportunities to provide realistic feedback that reinforces understanding or confirms achievement of learning objectives
    -  offer brief praise while out on the road, recap during stationary periods Use the necessary competencies marking sheet to encourage self awareness and self assessment


  • providing feedback about failure to achieve learning objectives that helps the pupil achieve an understanding of what they need to do to improve
    -  once again you can use the competencies marking sheet


  • providing feedback that the pupil can understand
    -  always check that they have understood by rephrasing things if in doubt
  • providing consistent feedback that is reinforced by body language
    - positive body language for success, neutral or still body language when improvement is still needed


Indications of lack of competence include:


  • providing feedback a long time after an incident so that the pupil cannot link the feedback to what happened
  • providing feedback that overlooks or fails to emphasise a safety critical incident
  • providing feedback that is unrealistic
  • continuously providing feedback when this may be distracting the pupil
  • failing to check the pupil’s understanding of feedback
  • providing feedback that is irrelevant to the pupil’s learning objectives, for example commenting on their personal appearance
  • refusing to hear reasonable feedback about the PDI’s own performance


Were the pupil’s queries followed up and answered?


Indications that all the elements of competence are in place could include:


  • responding openly, readily and as soon as possible to queries
    - if on the move answer closed questions or those with a short answer
    - if on the move inform that the answer may result in performance affecting distraction. Suggest that you stop soon to discuss it. Ask them if they know the solution to the problem and to give it to you
  • providing helpful answers or directing the pupil to suitable sources of information
    - if the question is not related to the lesson topic ask if they wish to change the topic briefly or find out more information afterwards
    - If related but not critical ask if they want an answer or where to find an answer
  • actively checking with pupils if their comments or body language suggest they may have a question
    - remind them that sooner they ask a question the less likely it is to drop out of their mind only to regret not asking it later

    • actively checking with pupils if their comments or body language suggest they may have not understood an answer
    - get them to restate it in their own words
  • encouraging the pupil to explore possible solutions for themselves
    - ask them whether what they did fitted in with the SCAN routine or best control practice

Indications of lack of competence include:

  • refusing to respond to queries
  • providing inaccurate information in response to queries
  • avoiding the question or denying responsibility for answering it


Did the trainer maintain an appropriate, non-discriminatory manner throughout the session?


Indications that all the elements of competence are in place could include:


  • respecting the pupil’s values and what is appropriate behaviour in their culture
    - make yourself aware of these before the part 3
  • creating an open, friendly environment for learning, regardless of the pupil’s age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic background, religion, physical abilities or any other relevant factor
    - the relationship should be one of colleagues working together to solve a problem
  • maintaining an atmosphere in which the pupil feels comfortable to express their opinions
    - keep the conversations professional and related to the task of learning to drive
  • keeping a respectful distance and not invading the pupil’s personal space
    - should you accidentally get too close or touch while using dual controls or in another situation apologise immediately

    • Challenging the pupil if they display inappropriate attitudes or behaviours to other road users
    - comment on the behaviour that your pupil is aggrieved with not the person
  • asking the pupil how they wish to be addressed
    -  usually unnecessary if you are familiar with the people
  • asking a disabled driver to explain what the PDI needs to know about their condition
    - You could even reasonably ask a pupil that you are familiar with if they have any hearing difficulties or dyspraxia that might cause problems. You could even ask if you are speaking clearly enough
  • adopting an appropriate position in the car
    -  keep your elbows in to make sure there is no contact while you keep all changes gear
  • using language about other road users that is not derogatory and that does not invite the pupil to collude with any discriminatory attitude
    -  draw attention to the actions if necessary not the person

Indications of lack of competence include

  • invading somebody’s physical space
  • touching the pupil, including trying to shake hands, unless it is necessary for safety reasons
  • using somebody’s first name unless they have said that this is acceptable
  • commenting on the pupil’s appearance or any other personal attribute unless it has a direct impact on their ability to drive safely, such as wearing shoes that make it difficult for them to operate the vehicle’s pedals

End of the session - was the pupil encouraged to reflect on their own performance?

  • At the end of the session, the pupil should be encouraged to reflect on their performance
    - Use necessary competencies cheat sheet
  • the pupil should be encouraged to discuss their thoughts about their performance review.
    - encourage honest self-appraisal and use client-centred techniques to highlight areas that need development if the pupil has not recognised them.
  • identify areas for future development
    - encourage the pupil to make these part of future development and outline a plan for the next lesson