Who trains the driver trainer?

mbMy name is Michael Brathwaite  I am fully qualified United Kingdom, Approved Driving Instructor (ADI). My experience spans from 1993 where i have been training and assessing Prospective instructors and new students.

As a trainee instructor also known as a Provisional Driving Instructor (PDI) the training followed a structured syllabus consisting of three parts.

The Instructor’s theory test required a higher standard of knowledge than the learner’s theory test, because a more thorough understanding of these topics was needed so it can be taught to pupils. Also, the preparation for the theory test would assist in helping to understand what new pupils would be exposed to as they prepare for their test.

Part 1: The theory test consisted of a multiple choice test, which covered topics such as:
● Road procedure
● Traffic signs and signals, car control, pedestrians and mechanical knowledge
● Driving test, disabilities and law
● Publications and instructional techniques

Part 2: Consists a practical test to show that my driving is of a suitable standard.

Part 3: Entails an hour long test and includes an assessment of:
● Core competencies
● Instructional techniques
● Instructor characteristics

These are my experiences:
I was fully prepared for the theory test, within 12 weeks. On the day of the test, I arrived “ready for the world”, took one look at the first page, peeped at the other pages and realized that I did not know what to write on the top of the first page… apparently it was supposed to be my name.  Ten minutes later I was the only person, in the fully air conditioned room of fifty people, sweating like and old field donkey, trying to remember my name.  Once I worked out what my name was, my tongue fell out the left corner of my mouth, into intelligent mode and I ran through the 100 questions in the theory test, with ease. The Pass mark required minimum of 85% in each of the four categories mentioned above, anything less, try again another time. Result ninety something percent in each category.

In Part 2 the practical test was to showcase that my driving is of a suitable standard.  EASY Now! I can Drive, like a shark can swim, or so I thought.  I got the worst assessment of the whole training group, after I showed the trainer how:
● close I could get to a car before overtaking
● quickly I can accelerate
● Road rage, as we call it now – is an essential to to drive in London.

As positive feedback goes, he said I managed to start the engine quite well and if I no longer wanted to be an instructor, I could always be a “GETAWAY Driver”.  Twelve weeks later, after having my “getaway driver” style of driving, dismantled,
questioned, ripped apart and reassembled, I was able to pass not only the part 2 test, but also Diamond Advanced Driving Test and the Institute of Advanced Motorist tests.

As soon as I passed part 2, I was told that I could become a Provisional Driving Instructor(PDI), for the additional sum of approximately $450.00BD$, with the understanding that only 25% of trainee instructors go on to qualify.  In short, I can teach, for money , for six months and get paid every time I teach, as long as I first complete forty hours of “Supervised Teaching”. “Supervised Teaching” means I get to charge the pupils, so I can give it to the Lazy Qualified Instructor (LQI) sitting behind the pupil, sleeping and dreaming about how easy it is to cream money from a trainee instructor. I was reluctant, but I swallowed the pain of teaching for free and got it over and done with.

Free of the lazy instructor, I then commenced teaching by myself, my own boss, in a borrowed training car and doing my own thing. I learned the hard way that a pupil will only do exactly what I tell them when I used the wrong terminology, e.g. “At the roundabout” ( identify ), “I would like you” ( alert ), “to go straight over” ( instruct ), and she went straight over a massive roundabout, lodging my borrowed car, on the grass on top of a large roundabout, with the exhaust wedged on a concrete bollard.  14 weeks later, after loads of practicing my teaching techniques on my partner, children, sisters and even the cat, I was ready for Part 3 of the test to qualify as an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI).

Part 3 was designed to test my ability to instruct pupils to drive, to a high standard. it was the final “hurdle” before I could become an Approved Driving Instructor(ADI), by then I had learnt that the word “hurdle” is so underrated…

The examiner assessed looking for core competencies, instructional technique and instructor characteristics by playing the role of 2 different pupils, in my borrowed car.  Easy peasy, or not so easy when I forgot to let the examiner sit in the driver seat to do the role play…

The second attempt at the part 3 went without a hitch and fourteen months after starting out on the road to become an Approved Driving Instructor, I got my green badge, which meant I had run the course, won and I could now enjoy the fruits of my labour.

I display my green badge in my windscreen with pride and guard and protect it with my every breath.  


Bearing in mind my ordeal, I asked a driving instructor “what the qualification do I need to teach pupils to drive in Barbados?” He proudly replied “Maan I had my licence faa three years, I lost my job, so I buy a van and start teaching!”

Life is so unfair!

I’m not looking to criticise or ridicule other instructors, I’m looking to learn from their experiences and add to the local driving experience.  

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