A lot of learners ask us how much driving they should be doing during their driving lessons. After
all, you'd expect the best way to learn to drive is by 'driving' wouldn't you?
Maybe a quick lesson in the way driving instructors are taught how to teach pupils will help clarify the answer.
To earn the green, 'Fully Qualified Driving Instructor' badge, your instructor has to pass 3 tests.
The last one is called the 'Test of Teaching Ability'. During this test, the instructor is expected to
introduce and teach a pupil a new subject such as a Left Reverse for example. To gain a pass grade, the Driving
Instructor's pupil needs to go away from the lesson having learnt & practiced a new skill and improved on existing skills.
The driving instructors have 30 minutes in which to do this. If they hang around giving a 15
minute talk through at the edge of the road they will lose marks because the pupil won't have enough time to practice
what they're being taught. The examiner taking the test would expect the instructor to get through the lesson briefing and onto
the actual driving in approximately 5 minutes.
If we put this into a real life scenario where a driving lesson is 1 hour, a pupil should only be looking
at around 10 minutes at the edge of the road when a new subject is introduced
There are exceptions to this of course - a Beginner on a their first driving lesson has to learn about the
controls before they can move off. This can take at least 30 minutes (not forgetting that the instructor has
to drive the pupil to a quiet area beforehand).
There will also be times when the driving instructor has to get their pupil to stop at the edge of the road
to reinforce learning or highlight and re-teach consistant, basic or potentially dangerous problem areas.
However, given the rough estimate of 10 minutes to introduce a new subject, we have heard various stories
of poor teaching methods such as:
The instructor driving around for most of the lesson and talking about what they want the pupil to do
The instructor chatting a lot at the beginning of the driving lesson so that it eats into the teaching time.
Both these examples show bad practice and if they sound familiar, the best advice is to book driving lessons
with a different school. Remember, you are paying for a service, so you have the right to expect decent driving
lesson. Unfortunately, it's easier to find a new instructor than try to get them to change their bad habits.