ROLES OF PARENTS & STUDENTS
Learning to drive is an important milestone in anyone’s life. Helping someone learn how to drive is an important commitment which shouldn’t be taken lightly. The days of an impassive person who simply sits in the passenger seat are long gone. Today, this “sponsor,” as they’re called, is expected to take a much more active role in helping the new driver learn the rules of the road. After all, driving is a lifelong activity, and requires a total commitment to safety. The role of the sponsor is to help instill these values in young drivers.
WHAT PARENTS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BEING SPONSORS
Sponsors need to have a driver’s license which they’ve held for a minimum of two years; although, ideally, they’ve held the license for at least five years. Additionally, it’s best if the sponsor has a minimum of 100,000 kilometers of driving experience.
There are three important people involved in driving instruction: the learner, the approved driving instructor and you, the sponsor. As the sponsor, you should meet with the instructor (also known as the ADI) as soon as possible. Together, you can create a plan to help the learner become a safe and effective driver.
There are many ways everyone can work together. For instance, you could make an agreement with the instructor that you will hold practice sessions at home in-between the formal RSA lessons. You and the ADI can also use the logbook to “stay on the same page” when it comes to the learner’s progress.
SPONSORSHIP AND THE EDT SYSTEM
The EDT Learner Logbook is where the driving instructor provides feedback on the learner’s progress. As the sponsor, you can use the logbook to help determine what areas of driving you need to help the learner practice. The sponsor’s role is to compliment the lessons learned in the formal courses. By providing help while the learner practices, you’re allowing the learner to gain both experience and confidence.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT, BUT PRACTICE TAKES TIME
Being a sponsor doesn’t mean you just tag along with the learner whenever one of you needs to go somewhere. It means actively guiding your learner and helping him or her overcome whatever specific driving issues they may have.
A sponsor can plan practice sessions for the learner which emphasize areas in need of improvement. Additionally, it never hurts if the sponsor wants to brush up on his or her knowledge about the rules of the road. After all, why not use the occasion to become a safe driver yourself?
THE INSTRUCTOR AND THE SPONSOR
Sponsors should meet with the ADI as soon as possible. Together, the sponsor and ADI will figure out the best way to help the learner. As a sponsor, you should work with the ADI to determine when you should get involved, what types of practice sessions you should create and where you can find additional resources should you need them.
Sponsors are more than welcome to attend a lesson with their learner and the ADI. Sponsors with an understanding of the format of the lessons are better prepared to support those lessons.
BEING A SPONSOR IS A LOT OF RESPONSIBILITY
It’s also a great honor. When someone trusts that you are safe and responsible enough to teach them how to drive, it’s important you live up to that trust. This is the first step towards an important life milestone for the learner, and you need to do everything you can to ensure they develop responsible driving habits which will last a lifetime.