Monday, 22 June 2009

Driving Lessons

For most of my life, I've been able to learn independently. For the seven years that I was homeschooled, my studies were often my responsibility, although I had a lot of support from my parents. At school, I could self-study a section of work if I didn't like he way it had been taught. Part of my (informal) education, I think has been learning that looking it up instead of nagging for help is not only easier on the naggee, but also will often yield better results. In short, I've come to prefer learning things by myself, with my own methods.

This method of learning is in direct contrast to the necessities of driving lessons. By law, I, as a learner driver, may not drive by myself. Also, while it doesn't really matter if I mess up a trigonometry exercise, trashing the car would be slightly more worrisome. Learning to drive is not something I can attempt on my own.

Not being able to do it on my own doesn't mean I don't want to do it on my own, though. That is a cause of friction. If I think I'm just about to get the hang of changing gears, my father might point out to me that I'm on the wrong side of the road. In that case, my learning technique failed. Since the public road is not exactly a safe learning environment, experimentation should probably be kept to a minimum. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure I still don't turn the way my dad told me to (sorry, Daddy), but I do succeed in getting around corners. I guess I should be thankful for quiet roads while I learned that one.

Driving lessons - especially the earliest ones - can thus be fairly stressful. I want to do this my way! I don't want to have to wait for someone to drive with me! If I have to drive with you, you should be the perfect teacher! I do have a rational side as well, but I think that's suppressed by the 'Oh my goodness, is that a car over there?' and 'This is the fifth time I've stalled in as many minutes' stresses.

Having (more-or-less) mastered (most of) the basics, driving lessons have become less stressful. It's partly because I'm pretty sure that I won't squash any stray pedestrians, but also because I know enough that I can begin to direct my own learning. I choose to practise making three-point-turns or not. Practising steering is not really optional.

I'm not sure that this is really the ideal resolution, though. Sure the problem's gone, but I didn't solve it. It went away almost by itself. Next time I am compelled to give up control of my learning, I'll probably freak out just as much. I'm not sure if there's anything I can do other than to push through, but the perfectionist in me thinks I should find a way to overcome my issues. I guess I'll be chewing on it for a while.


  1. Hi

    Dont worry, there are many people like you in the same situation, it is all about finding the right balance and what works for you. Some people prefer to be dictated too and follow the instructors instructions to the letter however some people prefer to discuss exercises first and how they would approach them before attempting them as this way they can understand in their own way why their approach may or may not work.

    My advice would be to get the feel of learning to drive first so you are comfortable with all the basics, then you can start learning your own way, and remember, driving lessons only get you to a safe standard of driving, once you have passed the test, that is when the REAL learning begins!

    Anyway good luck, hope it all works out for you!

  2. I know exactly how you feel. Somebody sitting next to you telling you what to do adds pressure to you and affects your performance behind the wheel. Every time you do something good you are criticised for doing something else wrong. Good luck in the future and just remember learn at your own pace and how you feel most comfortable. Walter.