Not everyone can be a teacher. Being a teacher not only takes a certain type of person, it takes an understanding of the way people learn. Teachers approach the classroom with an arsenal of theories, strategies, and lesson plans on their side to educate our youth. It’s no wonder parents are overwhelmed by their part in the driver’s ed process – they are extremely underprepared teachers.
We can’t fast-track a teaching degree, but we can give you a small bit of insight so that you can think like a teacher. We’ve consulted some teaching professionals to find out how they would apply what they know to teaching your teen to drive.
1 FOCUS LESSON | Show and Tell
Start teaching a skill with a little bit of show and tell. That means modeling the correct behavior and sharing clear and direct information regarding the actions and the outcome. Make sure to explain why you are making the decisions you are making while demonstrating the skill. Activities like this can begin well before they have their permit
2 GUIDED INSTRUCTION | Watch and Assist
Now swap seats with your teen and guide them through the same skill. Offer prompts when necessary and provide feedback and strategies for improvement. Check for understanding by asking your teen questions after they’ve completed the skill. Be on the lookout for areas where you teen needs more practice.
3 COLLABORATION | Commentary Driving and Discussion
Teens need opportunities to negotiate, problem solve, and discuss in order to consolidate their understanding. Have your teen use commentary driving. This is a technique where the driver says all of his or her observations and intentions that they think are related to the current traffic situation. They should comment before the action, not after.
This practice first calls attention to how many things a driver should be and is aware of while driving. Next, it helps to review and reinforce driving skills previously learned. Finally, it helps you with the evaluation of student progress (i.e. Is your teen aware of the hazards? Is your teen scanning the roads? Does your teen understand right-of-way and other laws?)
4 INDEPENDENT | Letting Go
This is where the training wheels are coming off! You are working toward a time when your teen won’t have you in the passenger’s seat making sure they are checking their blind spots. Make sure you get to a place with each skill where your teen is not relying on you for help. You want him or her to be a competent and confident driver even when you aren’t there to supervise.
Getting in the right headspace is an important part of teaching your teen to drive, and DRVN is designed to help with the rest. The app can simplify the process by helping to structure the lessons, offering feedback based on skill performance, and remembering to revisit areas that need more practice. You are well on your way to being a great teacher, are you counting down the days to summer break yet?