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Research on road safety education

Feet walking. Educational thought leaders write about how road safety education aligns with effective teaching and learning.

Case studies report by Rosemary Hipkins

By Rosemary Hipkins, Chief Researcher, NZCER

Rosemary Hipkins carried out three exploratory case studies and describes the results in this paper. It shows how teachers have been supported to develop learning which values both traditional curriculum goals (building new knowledge and skills) and less familiar future-focused goals such as citizenship.

“They all worked to gain deep engagement, so that their students would be disposed to care about what was being learned and assessed. They also sought to support students to build their action competencies – the ‘know how’ and willingness to plan and carry through on ways to stay safe personally and to keep everyone else safe to the extent that this is possible for individuals to do.”

Published 2017.

Nurturing citizenship: road safety as a rich context for learning [PDF, 761 KB]

The learning design of our curriculum resources

This paper provides an outline of the learning design behind curriculum resources published by the NZ Transport Agency. It examines how these resources support a shift in education towards socially constructed learning. Includes commentary by Pam Hook on catalysts for personalised learning and Rosemary Hipkins on how rich contexts help learning.

Published 2015.

Effective learning design behind curriculum resources [PDF, 98 KB]

Pam Hook writes about transport and active citizenship

Pam Hook writes about how the safe road system is used as a context for active citizenship in the NZ Transport Agency’s road safety education resources. With their ‘strengths-based’ approach to road safety education, these curriculum resources engage young people in thinking and acting together to find and manage opportunities and challenges for roads and road users in their local communities.

This paper summarises the thinking behind design for pedagogy that matters.

Published 2014.

Transport as context for active citizenship [PDF, 961 KB]

Two-page summary [PDF, 469 KB] 

Mary Chamberlain on authentic learning 

Mary Chamberlain writes about how teachers are using NZ Transport Agency secondary curriculum resources. These resouces support citizenship education across learning areas, with a theme of sharing the road safely.

Innovative New Zealand secondary teachers are supporting students to gain both deep subject knowledge and a new view of being a road user at the same time. How and why are they doing this? This paper discusses these questions and proposes that more secondary teachers consider voluntarily including road safety as an authentic context for learning in the subjects they teach.

Published 2014.

Authentic learning trumps fear tactics [PDF, 646 KB]

Education Review magazine version [PDF, 1.6 MB] 

Pam Hook and Mary Chamberlain on teaching and learning for road safety education 

Pam Hook, Hook Education and Mary Chamberlain, Evaluation Associates review recent approaches to road safety education and outline what is effective.

Most road safety education (RSE) programmes lack evidence that either their design or their impact is effective. While some delivery methods and resources may increase knowledge or skills, any such gains often fail to be translated into changes in attitudes and behaviour.

Recent developments in learning theory are changing approaches to RSE in schools. NZ Transport Agency has used new knowledge about effective learning to inform the design of the delivery methods and resources of school-based RSE. This paper summarises the understandings about effective teaching and learning that underpin this promising approach.

Published 2012.

Changing Mental models: how recent developments in teaching and learning can be applied to road safety education in schools [PDF, 287 KB]

Also available:

Two page summary of Changing Mental Models [PDF, 128 KB] (PDF, 127 KB)

Whole school approach

The NZTA encourages schools to support and enable road safety education across three areas: the school curriculum, the school ethos and organisation, and community partnerships.

This whole-school approach draws on the evidence base of a research project from the Western Australia state government department School Drug Education and Road Aware (SDERA):

Getting it Together: A Whole-School Approach to Road Safety Education(external link)

SDERA's set of principles for best practice in school road safety education:

Principles for School Road Safety Education: A Research Summary(external link)

The researchers found embedding road safety education in a school curriculum provides timely, ongoing education that is developmentally appropriate. Student-centred interactive activities support and develop not only knowledge and skills but also attitudes, motivations and behaviours that contribute to road safety.

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