The student learns from one of four receptive methods:
This is known as VARK. We have referenced VAK earlier in the course, but sometimes people may prefer to work with VARK as an alternative, depending on the pupil. Students will have a preferred method of the receiving of information from one of the four listed in VARK.
It is possible that there may be a combination of two from the list, and so if the trainer does not tap in to the student’s preferred style of reception then the learning could be made harder for the student and interest and motivation could be lost and anxiety may increase. So it is important to find out at the outset which is the preferred learning style. Whatever that style is the trainer must look at the student to watch for non-verbal signals. These actions could be facial or body movements, such as trying to gesticulate with the hands or shrugging of shoulders.
An example where the wrong teaching style could be being used is where a student is not able to respond to a task which causes them anxiety, such as proper clutch control when moving off in streams of traffic. The trainer tells the student what to do, and tells them again, and again, but the student’s facial expression shows that it is evident that they do not understand the task.
In this instance the trainer needs to pull in to the side of the road and use a different approach.
Trainer: How are you feeling about the clutch use?
Student: I’m hearing what you are saying but I can’t get to grips with the movement.
Trainer: OK, let’s try this. Picture the thickness of a pound coin. That is what I am going to use from now on, so if I say give me two pounds of gas, then gently press the gas pedal the depth of two pound coins as if they were stacked on top of each other. So, make sure the car is secure and start the engine and give me two pounds of gas.
Okay, now give me another pound of gas. What do you hear?
Student: A steadier hum on the engine.
Trainer: Okay, come off the gas select, first gear, and keeping the clutch down to the floor, give me two pounds of gas.
Now slowly, bring the clutch up to just below the biting point. Now what I want you to do is keep the gas pedal still and check around for safety and if it is safe to move, move the clutch up one pound and release the parking brake. Now keep the clutch still, add another pound of gas and slowly raise the clutch all the way up.
Now how do you feel that went?
Student: That was better. Can I do that again?
Trainer: Yes, but before that, why are we setting the gas at two pounds?
Student: To make sure we have enough energy in the engine to take the weight of the car.
Trainer: Okay, so what happens if we have to move away on the hill, is it two pounds of gas then?
Student: No because that wouldn’t be enough energy to take the weight of the car.
Trainer: But the car’s weight hasn’t changed. What has changed?
Student: The resistance to the car moving forward.
Trainer: Correct, but if we did change the weight by adding more passengers or luggage, what would we have to consider then?
Student: We would need even more gas.
Trainer: What about the clutch position? Does the biting point change?
Student: No, but the connection of the clutch must be firmer so we don’t roll back. So it could be at the biting point, plus two or even three pounds, depending on how much gas is required for any incline.
Trainer: How do you feel about clutch use now?
Student: Using pound coins is a lot easier to envisage. Can I do it again please on my own?
The student commented that he heard what was being said, but could not comprehend what was required and needed a simple example and a discussion, using Q&A, which could even be done from the passenger side using the dual controls. Using a scale can be useful – something that can be related to, such as the thickness of a pound coin. ‘Give me two pounds of gas and gently raise the clutch only one pound and hold it’. But the trainer also broadened the horizon and used the student’s previous experience.
This was a micro-teach session on the use of the clutch, but the student was not over-instructed. The trainer allowed the student to use what he already knew and changed the method of delivery from auditory to auditory/kinesthetic.