Competencies – and how to meet them (in plain English)

Did the trainer identify the pupil’s learning goals and needs?

What the DVSA say:

As you deliver the lesson the examiner is looking for indications that the elements, which go to make up the low-level competence, are being demonstrated. In this case the sorts of things that would give an indication of competence include:

  • encouraging your pupil to say what they want from the lesson
  • asking questions to ensure understanding
  • Checking understanding as the lesson progresses
  • listening to what your pupil is saying
  • taking note of body language

If you encourage your pupil to say what they want, ask questions to Check understanding at the beginning and as the lesson progresses, listen to what your pupil is saying and also pick up on body language you are likely to get a 3. If, on the other hand, you do all the listening bits but fail to spot your learner getting very tense and nervous in a particular situation you would probably get a 2. This would show the examiner that you have demonstrated your understanding of the need to listen etc. but have not yet developed your ability to spot non-verbal clues. Indications of a lack of competence could include:

  • making assumptions about understanding or experience
  • failing to note negative or concerned comments or body language that shows discomfort
  • undermining your pupil’s confidence by continually asking questions clearly beyond their knowledge or understanding
  • pushing your pupil to address issues that they are not happy to talk about, unless there is a clear need, such as an identified risk or a safety critical issue

What does this mean?

You need to set goals at the start of the session, but of course due to the changes brought about by Covid-19 the examiner will not be present at that time. So how do you demonstrate competence?

This is a much misunderstood competence, and many ADIs think that the competence is measured for this aspect only at the beginning, and whilst it is true the examiner will be looking to see that goals are set (or listen to your recap of what goals were set) at the beginning, they also want to see the lesson evolve. To do this you and the pupil will experience a burst of activity and then reflect and review how it went and then make adjustments. 

There should ALWAYS be a change in what comes next. If you do what you just did, you Weill get what you just got, and therefore no real learning takes place. There should be a reflection, followed by some new goal setting, either a change in the level of challenge or a change in the level of support, or perhaps even a total change in activity because we have signed it off as being completed, or it has become too much for us today and we are unable to complete and need either a change of subject or activity.

You may also need to change activities as a result of something happening (a safety critical incident perhaps) and this may mean adding this new issue to the existing plan, or perhaps this new issue replacing the existing plan (dependant on severity level)

Where else might this impact on the form?

In many more places than you might imagine.

 For you to be setting new goals, it means not only this first row of the form “did the trainer identify the learners goals and needs” being dealt with, but you are also demonstrating competence in risk management and teaching and learning strategies as part of the same conversation.

The next competence on the form which is “was the agreed lesson structure appropriate” is being tackled at the same time in the same conversation.

You are also dealing with other competencies on the form through this experience, reflect, review, set new goal cycle of events. This is what I am referring to in the “chunking your training” method I describe everywhere.

It means you are also covering, but not limited to the following competencies.

“was the teaching style suited” 

“was sufficient feedback given”

“was the pupil encouraged to reflect”

I hope that makes sense, if not, feel free to ask questions. There will be other articles dealing with the rest of the competencies, but you will need to be a member of the site to gain access to them.

Comments on Competencies – and how to meet them (in plain English)

  1. Mik Nye says:

    Always explained in a sensible non-confusing way…. If only putting into practice came as easily…

  2. Paul Quinn says:

    I like the approach Bob. Making sure we understand what is behind the competency. Meaningful learning in us helps us to do the same with pupils/students.

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