Learning styles

The approach to learning which has been embraced by Curriculum for Excellence is one that encourages participation, questioning and collaboration, employing creativity, critical thinking and problem solving. There is a place for passive learning but only as a part of the learners overall experience.

Ask yourself what has worked well for you in the past and what feedback you got from the students. Did you offer them the chance to self reflect and discuss? Road Safety can sometimes sound a bit dry to students. It is important to acknowledge that they already have knowledge and experience and survey what they already know, before you start. As a rule of thumb, it is a good idea to employ a variety of learning styles.

It is important to tailor the learning activity to suit the group that you are speaking to. Should it be a large mixed ability group in a lecture theatre you will need to consider how best to engage them. Making a pitch for the middle ground can engage some but perhaps not all.

Having a smaller group will give you more opportunity to invite the young people to get involved in their own learning, have a chance to answer their questions and discuss commonly held misconceptions about road safety.

Cooperative and collaborative learning

We no longer consider that a 'good' learning environment is necessarily a quiet one; we understand that learning is frequently most effective when learners have the opportunity to think and talk together, to discuss ideas, question, analyse and solve problems, without the constant mediation of the supervising adult. Although these approaches vary to some extent, essentially they all promote the idea that young people's learning is best served when they have opportunities to learn with and from each other, and are shown how to do so effectively.

Peer education

The rationale behind peer education is that peers can be a trusted and credible source of information. They share similar experiences and social norms and are therefore better placed to provide relevant, meaningful, explicit and honest information.

Peer education is an approach which empowers young people to work with other young people, and which draws on the positive strength of the peer group. By means of appropriate training and support, the young people become active players in the educational process rather than passive recipients of a set message. Central to this work is the collaboration between young people and adults.

Student led activities and peer education are features of RRISK, both during the YDI and back in school afterwards. Here peer facilitators are encouraged to continue supporting the aims of RRISK in the school and their social lives, so that students are well equipped with strategies to reduce or prevent potential threat and increase their confidence, so that they can adopt safe behaviour.

For example, students take the lead in working through their own suggestions for credible coping strategies, such as how to resist peer pressure etc. This program has been robustly evaluated and has been shown to reduce the accident risk amongst those who attended.

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