The Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has set out exactly what it takes to be a safe and responsible rider. This is the National standard for riding. It describes what riders need to be able to do, and the knowledge and understanding they need to be able to do it. You should use this as the basis for what to cover in your riding lessons.
This is always a contentious question – most riders think that they are better than average! But to teach others to ride you need to be a safe and responsible rider so that you can demonstrate how it should be done. You also need to understand what makes you a safe rider – so that you can help others to become safe too!
As a responsible, professional motorbike instructor you will want learners to have the skills to be safe and responsible riders for life when they leave you. Sometimes you’ll find that you need to balance this against their aims – they might want to pass the test quickly, and with as little expense as possible. This is not an easy balance to achieve – you may need to persuade your learners of the benefits of not just learning to pass the test.
People learn in different ways and at different speeds. If someone who likes time to reflect on their learning is forced to move on to the next thing too quickly it could slow down their progress. Or if someone who likes to learn by trying things out is made to watch too many demonstrations without having a go, they will get frustrated.
Client-centred learning is an approach to learning that takes into account how the learner prefers to learn. When people learn in this way they are more likely to retain information and skills. People are also more likely to keep learning if they are encouraged to take responsibility for their learning at an early stage – this is the second aim of client-centred learning.
How to teach in a client-centred way
At its simplest, this means listening to your learner (the client) to find out how they like to learn, the things that are getting in the way of their progress and how you can help.
You might want to use some coaching techniques with your learners. These are tools that help you to teach in a client-centred way. For instance, you might use scaling to help a learner assess their progress, or mind-mapping to help a learner to explore a subject. If you’re an instructor you may already be using coaching techniques with your learners without even knowing it.
Further information on client-centred learning and what it looks like is available in the compulsory basic training (CBT) syllabus and guidance notes and direct access scheme motorcycle training guidance.
Motorbike instruction is often carried out in a group. Parts of CBT can be delivered to a large group in a classroom, for instance. Even on-road training is often delivered to two learners at a time. This can make the client-centred approach more of a challenge. You need to make sure that everyone in the group has reached the same level of understanding before you move on. Ideally, you should group together people with similar experience.