Or more importantly ‘active listening’. Active listening is a term coined by Carl Rogers and Richard Farson in 1957 in a paper of the same title.
The paper states:
Active listening is an important way to bring about changes in people. Despite the popular notion that listening is a passive approach, clinical and research evidence clearly shows that sensitive listening is the most effective agent for individual personality change and group development. Listening brings about change in people’s attitudes toward themselves and others: it also brings about changes in their basic values and personal philosophy. People who have been listened to in this new and special way become more emotionally mature, more open to their experiences, less defensive and more democratic and less authoritarian.
Active listening involves using and matching body language, tone of voice, repeating and paraphrasing the speaker’s own words, to build rapport through a shared interest in the conversation on an equal level. It’s quite common for a listener to move to their agenda when replying in conversation, however, when considering Client Centred Learning, the experience should revolve around the pupil taking responsibility and control of a learning process where their thoughts and feelings are validated by both parties.
An example of a typical conversation might sound like this:
Instructor “How are you feeling?”
Client “Not great to be honest”
Instructor “Me either, I had a terrible night’s sleep yesterday anyway, let’s get going and see if driving makes us feel better”
Any feelings expressed by the client in conversation should not be overlooked, and neither should conflicting or negative body language.
An example of a Client-Centred conversation should sound like this:
Coach “How are you feeling?”
Client “Not great to be honest”
Coach “Not great?”
Client ” No, I’ve had a terrible night’s sleep, the baby was awake half the night”
In this way, the conversation remains client centred simply because the coach repeated the client’s own words back to them rather than inputting their own. The conversation is now heading along with the clients and about aspects of their daily lives that will create barriers and increase risk in the future. Allowing the conversation to progress towards the effects these feelings might have on our client’s ability to drive well, to cope with multi-sensory processing and how these feelings might present themselves post-rest helps the client to evaluate their life and plan strategies, perhaps to even consider alternatives to driving, to keep them and their families safe in their world as a driver.
The Hermes Project (2007-2010) states:
If the learner is to have responsibility and decision-making in driver training, the coach has to listen to make sure the learner’s needs are being met and the coach’s questions, if they are following the interest of the learner are tightly linked to what the learner has already said. This makes listening to important skill for coaching. However, perhaps the hardest thing for an expert is to learn when to keep quiet. The learner should not be denied the instructor’s experience, knowledge or wisdom but this expertise should be given an extra, surplus on what they have already experienced and thought through for themselves. It’s at this point that the instructor’s expertise and contributions may be fully welcomed.
Use regular reflective periods along the route to help your pupil analyse any problems they might have encountered. ask effective questions such as “how were you feeling as you..?” or “What were your thoughts on the approach to..?” to accelerate learning around these situations, moving learning from short term memory to long-term learning by linking thoughts and feelings to behaviour and to help your clients to combat emotional responses post-test. Encourage your clients to form strategies for themselves by asking them to consider “What will you do differently next time?” and reinforce the strategy with context by asking them to consider “what will be safer about your driving if you do that?” Allow the learner time after questions to process their thoughts and to strategies solutions, the practise of reflection takes time to process, don’t jump in with remedies of your own unless it becomes clear that the learner jas exhausted all avenues potentially safety-critical situations. Instructor input can be essential to full understanding, however, SILENCE can be the key to a client’s ability to develop the skills for new drivers post-test. Ensuring that your pupil has control over developing situations and emotional responses, together with the ability to change behaviour for themselves independently.
The DVSA ADI 1 outlines its competencies as follows:
Indications that all the elements of competence are in place could include:
- providing time in a suitable location, to explore any problems or issues that arose during the lesson or that were raised by the pupil
- providing timely opportunities for analysis; promptly in the case of risk critical incidents
- taking time and using suitable techniques to understand any problems the pupil had with understanding an issue
- suggesting suitable strategies to help the pupil develop their understanding, such as using practical examples or pointing them further knowledge or understanding
- leaving the pupil feeling that they had responsibility for their learning in the situation
Indications of lack of competence include:
- leaving the pupil feeling that the ADI was in control of the teaching process
- failing to explore alternative ways of addressing a problem – in response to evidence of different learning preferences
- providing unsuitable or incorrect inputs