It’s common for me to come across trainee instructors who don’t really understand the MSM routine in the way they need to if they are to instruct a pupil how to deal with hazards. It’s not their fault – their personal driving skills are normally very good and they are able to everything they need to as drivers – but they do it in an unconsciously competent way. Until they re-examine how the routine should be used under the guidance of a good trainer they lack the conscious awareness that’s necessary to show a pupil how to do it.
Their weakness is often illustrated when they’re instructing Pedestrian Crossings; as the pupil is driving towards the Crossing the instructor will say something like “we can see the Crossing ahead – so check the mirrors and ……..”[private-registered]
In “real life” the pupil probably will see the Crossing – and if they hadn’t seen it already they will once they get a “clue” from their instructor that it’s there. When I’m in role during Part 3 training I won’t see the Crossing – and nor will many S.E’s. because until I’ve been shown how to look for the Crossings I won’t do it. Because the trainee is a good driver and they have been trained to scan the road for hazards it’s easy to assume that others do the same as they do; but poor drivers don’t – and learner drivers certainly don’t do it, at least not in an organised way until they’ve been shown how.
But surely, say the trainee instructors “anyone can see and recognise a Pedestrian Crossing”?
And that’s part of the problem – they don’t understand the principle of how we instruct, when we show the pupil how to scan the road for the tell-tale signs of a Pedestrian Crossing ahead we’re doing much more than looking for Belisha beacons and traffic lights.
Can you honestly say that you never “miss” a road sign? I doubt it – I know I certainly “miss” some – but why? The answer is because we’re either not specifically looking for them or even though our eyes see them they’re not recognised in our brains or we’re not scanning the road effectively and we actually don’t see them. Experienced drivers fail to see Pedestrian Crossings every day and drive through them without a thought of slowing down. It usually doesn’t end in disaster because even though their brains aren’t specifically looking for Crossings they are pretty well tuned in to Pedestrians, if there’s a Pedestrian actually on the Crossing the less than alert driver will normally react to them – perhaps not as well as they should but they won’t normally collide with a pedestrian but they risk a rear end collision from following drivers who might be not be paying proper attention either.
So if even expert drivers can miss the occasional road sign or marking – and experienced but inexpert drivers can fail to identify Crossings so can a learner! And anything a “real learner” can do wrong your Part 3 learner will certainly do wrong.
When we’re teaching our pupil how to scan the road effectively to identify Pedestrian Crossings we’re actually teaching them a method of identifying any hazard! The specific warnings that they’re looking for will differ depending on the subject but the method of ensuring we see them is the same for every hazard.
If we show the S.E. that we can do it in the Pedestrian Crossings lesson they can be confident that we could do it for any other subject.
Even more importantly (for us), when we can show a pupil how to identify Crossings we can use the same method to show them how to identify Crossroads, Speed Limit signs, Obstructions, Road Markings – anything that’s tested in the Part 3 test and anything that we’ll encounter in “real life”.