I’m used to hearing trainee instructors teaching a Pedestrian Crossing lesson to see the first Crossing and say to their pupil (me) “we can see the Crossing ahead (you may already know what I think of this question) – what type of Crossing is it”?
There are a few questions that I hear used often that I’d like to “ban” – and “What type of Crossing is it”? is certainly one of them!
There are a few reasons why I don’t like it; firstly because it’s normally asked en route to the first Crossing we encounter and at that stage of the lesson we shouldn’t be asking questions at all. We use questions as part of the process to assess what our pupil knows and when the pupil is being taught anything for the first time there’s nothing to assess – they don’t know anything about the subject (at least on the Part 3 test). There is an assumption that’s promoted by poor training that by explaining things in a briefing our pupil will be able to “do it” – they won’t, and they won’t be able to “do it” until they’ve been shown how, made mistakes and then been told what they need to know, why they need to know it and how to do it.
Funnily enough, although it’s one of my least favourite questions there’s nothing wrong with the question itself; my “problem” is the way the question is used and the response that it’s designed to elicit from the pupil. The trainee instructor has normally spent a lot of time learning all about Crossings and knows all about Toucans, Pelicans, Pegasus etc and has been trained to believe that it’s very important to know all about the individual characteristics of each of them – when they ask “what type of Crossing is it”? they’re looking for an answer like “A Pelican Crossing”. What they get (at least from me) is a less than confident pupil who might say something like “I think it could be a Toucan Crossing because I can see cycle lanes in the area, but it could be a Pegasus Crossing because the yellow box appears to be quite high up etc”.
Because the “pupil” is “waffling on” the instructor can’t get a word in edgeways and the end result is that we drive through the Crossing without even beginning the MSM routine. I do it on purpose of course and I exaggerate the effect to illustrate a couple of relevant point to the trainee.[private-registered]
It doesn’t matter what type of Crossing it is! In the early stages of the lesson (as I’ve said earlier) we should be showing the pupil how to do it, and that doesn’t mean getting involved in what is at that point in the lesson irrelevant detail, the only thing the pupil needs to know is whether the Crossing is controlled or uncontrolled because we deal with them slightly differently – we deal with all controlled crossings in exactly the same way, if the differences between them are relevant the relevance is only important once we’re stopped at the crossing itself, and that’s where we should be talking about it.
For most hazards we should deal with them using the MSM routine once we’ve identified them not waffle about them – we see the hazard, do the MSM routine and if we want to talk about it we use whatever time is left once our speed is adjusted. The only exception should be when we’ve got PLENTY of time and providing our pupil has been taught how to identify and assess the subject hazard we can then use the time between identifying the hazard and the beginning of the MSM routine to deliver some instruction.