Management

How to Spice Up Your School Bus Driver Training Menu

George Horne
Posted on February 12, 2016

Pictured is Victor Garza, driver instructor at Newport-Mesa Unified School District (USD). Photo courtesy Newport-Mesa USD
Pictured is Victor Garza, driver instructor at Newport-Mesa Unified School District (USD). Photo courtesy Newport-Mesa USD
Presenting important information to student transportation personnel often can be a challenge for the presenter, especially when the audience consists of well-trained, experienced veterans.

As a presenter, has your attention ever been drawn to the guy sitting with folded arms, a stern expression on his face, his body language suggesting that “You can’t tell me anything I don’t already know!”?

Have you counted the ways that participants have tried to conceal their texting during a presentation?
Did you see the lady who frequently puts her head on the table, sneaking a “doze” now and then?
And what about that shop technician whose expression suggests that he is wondering, “Why do I have to be here?” (Is he aware of FMVSSs, of EPA regulations and the like?)

If you have experienced these and other distractions, you may need to add some pizzazz to your presentations.

Topic selection
Begin with topic selection. Besides driving maneuvers, proper inspection and use of equipment, first aid/CPR, loading/unloading and emergency procedures, what other information should trainers make available to employees?

Here are some examples of topics that need to be addressed from time to time during training sessions: appropriate child-specific training for students with disabilities, confidentiality, listening and communication skills, dealing with difficult parents, cultural diversity and cultural sensitivity, personal appearance, personal attitude and behavior, documentation skills, problem-solving techniques, and use of resources.

How does one know which topics to address? First, presenters must be familiar with the requirements imposed by specific regulatory authorities that apply to attendees. What is required for specific employee groups?

Other, more subjective sources are available. Here are a few examples:

•    Be observant of the operation of school buses on routes, of loading/unloading procedures, of safety issues at bus stops, etc.
•    Review complaints to ascertain whether or not certain issues tend to be repeated among employees.
•    Review accident reports and note frequencies of specific situations that are deemed to be “preventable.”
•    Engage school-based staff, special educators and other employees who may interact with or observe the transporters and may offer suggestions for improvements.
•    Employ evaluation instruments and check the results.
•    Keep up to date with changes in vehicle construction, technology, regulations, etc.

Author George Horne, shown presenting at a National Association for Pupil Transportation conference, notes that being creative with training ingredients and with presentation “can turn on those participants who may enter the session turned off.”
Author George Horne, shown presenting at a National Association for Pupil Transportation conference, notes that being creative with training ingredients and with presentation “can turn on those participants who may enter the session turned off.”

Resources abound
Numerous resources for training material are available if one just searches:

•    state and national associations
•    government agencies
•    rail crossing safety organization Operation Lifesaver
•    cartoons and jokes you may receive via the Internet (with edits, of course)

Also, check out YouTube! Learn to download videos that relate to your topics (student being dragged by a school bus, bullying on school buses, CPR procedures, etc.). Special software is not required for downloading, if the video is not protected. (You can email a request to me, and I will respond with the downloading formula.)

On the soapbox
Training is an essential part of safe student transportation. Topics should address specific needs, and sessions can be fun as well as informative. Being creative not only with ingredients, but also with presentation, can turn on those participants who may enter the session turned off.

As I have often stated, “Like an elegant meal, training should be nourishing, flavorful and temptingly presented.” We want our trainees to leave well-nourished and eager to return to our tables for more.

George F. Horne is president of Horne Enterprises in Metairie, Louisiana. He is a Louisiana Department of Education master instructor. He can be reached at [email protected].

Related Topics: driver training

Comments ( 1 )
  • Trackschoolbus

     | about 3 years ago

    Thank You for sharing.... Here are some more topics that can spice up the school bus driver training. --> http://www.trackschoolbus.com/blog/5-reasons-school-bus-driver-training-is-important/ --> http://www.trackschoolbus.com/blog/7-reasons-school-bus-drivers-play-vital-role-student-safety/ -->http://www.trackschoolbus.com/blog/how-school-bus-drivers-can-avoid-road-rage/

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