Lesson 3 of 6
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Leading And Embedded Questions

Definition: 

Leading questions encourage the desired response.
Embedded command questions subconsciously order the brain to respond in a certain way.

Purpose:

To manage risk and keep the car safe. 

When to use:

On the move (time permitting)

Leading questions are a call to action, to enable the learner to be responsible for the decision-making process, by drawing their attention to an area of risk, they may not already be aware of. Therefore these types of questions can be extremely valuable to both parties, keeping the instructor in control of the safety of the vehicle and empowering the pupil to be responsible for their behaviour. We know that when a question elicits a response in the brain it fires nerve cells that create links in the hippocampus region linking the behaviour to the experience and enabling the brain to recall the response more quickly when it recognizes a similar situation.
Learning is more effective and efficient in this case than when the brain responds to simple commands and instructions.

Embedded command questions would ideally follow leading questions if necessary, however, if time doesn’t permit they may also precede leading questions and become the first response to an area of risk. In this case, the learner would be pointed to the area of risk, and the necessary response but by way of a question again enabling and triggering a decision in the brain by way of response and again ensuring that learning takes place efficiently. When asking these questions be sure to be extremely specific in what you are wanting them to manage. Being vague can lead to the safety-critical intervention being required as the learner focuses their attention on unnecessary objects (what can you see up ahead? is not a leading question)

It must be stated that the overall safety of the vehicle and surrounding areas by far outweighs the importance of eliciting a response when managing risk. Therefore, if time doesn’t permit, or the desired response is not forthcoming then instruction would be preferable as an intervention. Physical intervention (duals etc) is a last resort. Remember that the last resort can sometimes be the first and most appropriate action.


Example Q’s:

Leading: 

  • What will you do about the cyclist up ahead?
  • Have you noticed the pedestrian at the crossing?
  • What lane will you need for this?

Embedded Command:

  • When will you slow down/move out/give space for the cyclist?
  • when will you BRAKE for the crossing?
  • Are you going to check it’s safe to move into the right-hand land?

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