The standards check is a more realistic assessment than the part three exam according to Anita Gilbey. Read her experience of the standards check and her top advice for any ADI awaiting their first check.
Anita’s story is the third in our competition to win two tickets to the ADINJC Conference.
Here’s Anita’s story…
She’s been an instructor for two years and hadn’t had a check test so Anita went into the standards check with no preconceptions or expectations.
“The examiner wants to experience a normal lesson so unlike the part three you are not following a structured exam or role play, you are simply showing what you can do.”
Anita’s lesson took place with a student who had mid-range skills and she chose to introduce dual-carriageways to the lesson.
“We hadn’t done dual-carriageways before and I feel it’s best not to rehearse the lesson before your standards check because then the learner is listening to you rather than just repeating previous lessons.
“It’s less likely to look staged and will come across as more natural.”
Anita said relaxing is the key. “The best advice I could give to other instructors is to try not to be nervous or tense on the day.
“At one point, I almost completely forgot the examiner was in the car with us because I just carried on as I would normally in a lesson.”
You’ve all heard the phrase ‘client-centred learning’ and Anita puts it into context for us.
“Client-centred learning is about listening to your learner’s viewpoints and using their feedback to structure the lesson.
“I always approach my lessons in a conversational way which helps and if you get the learner to reflect on what they’ve just done then give them the space to adjust.”
Instead of debriefing at the end of the lessons, Anita finds her learners are more attentive in the lesson time.
She said: “At the end of the lesson a learner is usually eager to go to where they are heading after the lesson so their focus is not really on what I am saying. So, instead I try to stop about 20 minutes before the end to summarise and allow them to give me feedback, by encouraging them to reflect and tell me what they’ve learnt.
That way, they’ve got time left to drive and hopefully, subconsciously they will be changing their behaviour based on what they’ve just learnt.”
This is a big part of the new standards check as Anita discovered. “My learner was approaching a roundabout on a slip road from a dual-carriageway at about 40mph and slowing. She hadn’t changed gears on the approach so the car stalled. I quickly put the hazards on and steered the car safely out of danger of other approaching vehicles.
The learner restarted the car and continued after due observations and no harm was done.”
There was was a layby on the next road and I should have asked the learner to pull up to talk to her about what had just happened and encourage her to suggest what could be done differently and what had been learnt from the experience.
“We later approached the same roundabout and on that approach, with plenty of time, I ensured that the learner was aware of what she needed to do to avoid a repeat of the previous situation, by asking appropriate questions, taking note of her responses and observing her actions.”
Anita’s biggest learning from her standards check experience is that she needs to allow more time to get feedback from the learners. Don’t just stop the lesson when you get back to the test centre and breathe a sigh of relief. Finish the lesson as you would normally do.
“A top tip for all instructors heading to their standards check is to mention the dual controls in the context of responsibility for safety in the car. I didn’t mention it and the examiner picked up on it. I had mention it to the learner in previous lessons so didn’t think it safety critical to mention it again.
I would suggest talking about it to emphasise that the student is in control of the car and our safety, however should the need arise, I would take action to avoid any hazardous situations by using either dual controls or adjustments to steering if necessary.”
What advice would you give to someone about to take their standards check?
“Don’t be afraid to change topic if the one you have proposed is not working out. For example, if you are practicing roundabouts and the learner is struggling, perhaps suggest reviewing junctions using approach procedures to help improve the learning experience.”
“Use anecdotes if you think they will help the learner understand a situation with a real life story.”
“Don’t rehearse it. I used a topic my learner hadn’t experienced before which meant they were not fixated on repeating something I’d previously taught them which made it more natural.”
“Just relax and remember that the examiner just wants to see your abilities.”
Anita attended a couple of workshops beforehand and read articles online. She passed with a B grade (38/51).
“Read through the grading sheet, work out and aim to improve your own strengths and weaknesses before your standards check.”