Recognise your pupils strengths and weaknesses
A key part of being a successful ADI is to be able to recognise the pupil’s strengths and weaknesses and use the information to help create an effective personal development plan. From this you will be able to choose a suitable training solution.
A key part of being a successful student is to be able to apply the same techniques to your own performance and to be able to recognise your own strengths and weaknesses.
In all training environments it is widely accepted that the use of the training cycle ensures a systematic approach. This approach leads to
- An individual’s training needs being identified
- A training solution being identified or designed
- Action/training taking place
- An evaluation to measure the impact of this action/training
In the learner driver environment you may be more familiar with this in the form of the basic lesson structure of Recap, Objective, Main Points, Practice, and Summary.
Preparing the ground
This cycle starts with identifying your training needs. It is virtually impossible to do this effectively without sufficient information. This is where you will need to work through the information you have been gathering such as action plans, session marking sheets and record of achievement.
There are a number of personal challenges in undertaking an exercise of self-evaluation.
- It requires you to be honest with yourself
- Self-consciousness can make us very defensive, especially if we fear negative feedback.
- It requires a firm commitment actually to do something with the feedback in order to bring about a positive change.
- Impartiality can also be a problem
The first step is to obtain feedback from various sources over a period of time. This should include feedback from your customers, your colleagues, fellow students, your test results and the test results of your pupil’s. You should also regularly evaluate your own performance and note your strengths and weaknesses. Including feedback from these various sources is often referred to as 360° feedback. A simple and effective way of gathering this information is to create a set of questionnaires.
Whoever your questionnaires are designed for, they should ask questions that target the same things but give you a different perspective from your own. You may think you state the fault clearly, but your pupils may not. You may think you praised them, but your pupils may not. You may see yourself as professionally presented, but your colleagues may not.
Once you have a sufficient amount of information you will need to analyse it. Remember, a definition of analysis is to break something down into its component parts in order to investigate how they affect the whole. It is not sufficient to generalise and ask yourself how your core competencies are. You should break this down, for example: If I noticed the driver’s faults, did I inform them? Did I inform them in good time? Did I state the fault clearly? Or did I use positive reinforcement when they did something well?
Once you have analysed the feedback and identified aspects of your performance that require improvement, ensure that what has been noted is prioritised and a suitable solution identified and planned.
Not all issues identified within the feedback will require you to take formal training. A correction to a weakness may be made simply because the analysis exercise has raised your awareness. The corrective measure has to give you a good return on your investment – regardless of whether this investment is time, money or effort. Basically don’t use a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
So, if for example you have decided that your weakness was caused by not knowing what to do, a solution may be to identify a book or website that could improve your knowledge.
If you didn’t know how or why you should do it, you could contact your trainer, a colleague or even the industry forums for an explanation.
If you know what to do, how to do it and why, and have tried to put this into practice, but you still can’t do it, you may then need more training.
This step is simple – carry out the solution, read the book, speak to someone or commit to and attend the necessary training.
The final step in the cycle is often the most neglected. You need to determine if the desired outcome has been achieved. It is vital to evaluate the impact of the changes you have made or the training you have had. Are you getting better results? Is the feedback from your pupils more positive? Is the feedback from your colleagues more positive? If not why not?
…And so the cycle continues.
As stated earlier you are more familiar with this process within the basic lesson structure and therefore you already have the basis for this within your existing skills. The key now to becoming that successful student is to put the cycle into practice targeting your own weaknesses. If this is a new concept to you, the process may seem difficult. However, with guidance you will quickly become familiar and the process of creating a personal development plan becomes second nature. The effect of this will be that you, your business and your pupils will be reaping the benefits.
There are many books written on the subject of the Training Cycle. One that I would recommend and have found particularly useful is Penny Hackett’s ‘Training Practice’, which is used support the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) training courses.