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Self-awareness and self-monitoring: Important components of best educational practice for novice drivers.

Bailey, T

Young Drivers

ACRS conference 2007

Self-awareness and self-monitoring of one’s driving behaviour are important higher-order cognitive skills considered in the National Road Safety Action Plan 2007 and 2008 to be integral to best educational practice for novice drivers. They hold a key status in several theoretical models of driver development, and are characteristic of current driver training programs in Scandinavia. They are gaining increasing recognition in Australia, not just in the National Road Safety Action Plan, but in their reflection in the adult learning approaches favoured in the ATSB Novice Driver Education Curriculum Trial. But what do self-awareness and self-monitoring actually involve and how can they be productively applied in driver training/practice supervision? The author’s research indicates that, while many driving instructors consider such higher-order cognitive skills to be particularly important, few could give specific examples of how they actually apply them in their interactions with learner drivers. This is unfortunate because, when the author followed a small sample of 16 year old Learner’s Permit applicants through to their Provisional Licence, not only did most of these novice drivers respond well to prompts to self-monitor driving behaviour, but they volunteered how self-monitoring had enriched their learning to drive experiences. The paper first examines self-awareness and self-monitoring in the theoretical and research literature on learning to drive and then, as examples of best educational practice for novice drivers, translates this knowledge into practical techniques that learner drivers and their instructors / supervisors can implement.