It's a modification of the old cliché, but in some ways it's true none the less.
When I took Elaine out, a few days before my check test, we dealt with several uphill situations, and she was fine with them, as she was by and large on the check test lesson itself. Yet when asked, without hesitation she identified uphill situations as a weakness.
Yet there were other weaknesses in her driving technique, that may just have a bearing here.
What Elaine has is not an inability to deal with these situations, but a lack of confidence in her ability to deal with these situations, and I suspect that this lack of confidence goes some way beyond the specific area she identifies.
So here's my reasoning. My analysis. My hypothesis.
Confidence comes from control and knowlege.
If you are able to make decisions based upon a position of awareness, and if you have the control required to act upon those decisions, then with a little repetition, you will gain confidence.
The test marking sheet reflects this idea. Almost all of it is based around control and observation.
If you do things on the basis of chance and unawareness, this carries a psychic cost of knowing that you just might be about to smash into something. A lack of confidence is inherent in a lack of observation.
Here's an example. In my last post, I wrote,
Elaine was struggling a little with roundabouts. Specifically the routine for moving from the middle of a roundabout to the outside when you're turning right. She wasn't using her left hand door mirror, relying instead on her interior mirror, which tells you next to nothing about what's going on to your left, just slightly behind you or alongside you.and
We were now on Derby Road in Birkenhead. A notoriously challenging road because of it's combination of lots of parked cars, tight narrow road, and heavy traffic. We got through OK. It required a lot of changes in road position to negotiate the parked cars, and once again, Elaine wasn't really using her door mirrors to make sure it was safe to move before moving.Every time she had to turn right at a roundabout, she was taking a risk. She was putting herself in danger. Every time she changed lane or her road position without checking to make sure it was safe to do so, she did nothing to bolster her self confidence, and everything to undermine it, even if nothing happened.
I might not be getting across the magnitude of how this feels to me. If you're not an instructor, it may seem straightforward, so let me put it this way:
The check test I've just done has given me new insights, and therefore new tools that I can use to do my job.
As a driver, I am extremely confident, and rightly so. I leave absolutely nothing to chance. Usually anyway. I sometimes make mistakes. I sometimes have a bad attitude.
As a teacher, my template is always my own driving. The better I understand my own driving, the better I can teach others.
Linguistically, the phrase "psychic cost" means something to me that I'd never really thought of before, except fairly dimly.
The reason most people fail their driving tests is not because they can't drive properly. It's because they're nervous and/or lack confidence.
So if I develop this idea, through practicing it with my pupils, I might just really get under people's skin and get them smashing through whatever issues are holding them back.
My first question to Elaine, next time I see her will be "Why did you want to do hills?"
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