What do I need to do to do well here:
- Provide timely and appropriate verbal intervention
When considering how to deliver timely and appropriate interventions, the amount of time you have from recognising the developing hazard to dealing with the hazard will determine how much responsibility you can allow the pupil within their capabilities. The more time you have to support your pupil, the more responsibility for risk by way of guided instruction or by way of physical intervention.
Generally speaking, when dealing with potential safety-critical situations it is important to consider both the goal of the session and the area of risk. If the pupil is dealing with the risk appropriately and the risk situation is not relevant to the learning goal then the most appropriate intervention would be for you to remain silent, allowing the pupil the responsibility for their actions and the focus to control the physical act of controlling the vehicle. Any diversion of their focus would be inappropriate at the moment since it could distract the learner from the task and the risk.
If the pupil initially failed to notice or respond to the hazard then it would be appropriate for you to raise their awareness using a leading question such as ‘ have you noticed the pedestrian at the crossing?’ Once again, providing the learner reacted to the prompt and acted appropriately and that pedestrian crossings or building an ability to spot hazards or manage risk whilst driving, were not part of the learning goal of the session then it would be appropriate for you to remain silent, allowing the pupil to focus and take responsibility for the task. Perhaps raising the situation as part of the conversation around the goal, during a reflective period on the route, if you felt it would benefit your client’s learning and progression as an example you could use the situation of the pedestrian at the crossing to highlight the importance of good all-round observations when doing a parallel park was perhaps part of the goal of the session.
It would also be appropriate to deliver any levels of support which is agreed upon between the instructor and the pupil when dividing up the responsibilities for risk. Failure to do so could have a serious detrimental impact on the learner’s ability to progress. A pupil left to flounder independently through a situation in which they were expecting a level of support from their instructor that never arrived, could be left confused about their understanding of their own ability to manage risk and in their confidence around their capabilities as a driver or perhaps the capability of their instructor.
At the other end of the spectrum, it would be appropriate to provide more support than had been agreed, in a situation where the learner was clearly managing the risk and coping independently as this intervention could be as unexpected and distracting for your client as it is unnecessary. It could create a cognitive overload and prevent your pupil from performing as well as they would have, without your input and would likely be demotivating and confusing, creating barriers to their learning.
If your pupil is showing no signs of being able to manage the risk, has failed to respond to leading or command questions or is out of their depth because the situation is too complex for them to manage then you will need to step in with either guided instruction to deal with the immediate risk and to keep the car safe or you may need to provide support by way of physical intervention.