|dc.description.abstract||This study was an outcome from a head on collision involving the researcher, which resulted in the death of an adolescent motorcyclist. It describes the development, implementation and evaluation of an original driver education programme, TAKE FIVE-STAY ALIVE, which was designed to increase the awareness of safety for secondary school students aged between 15 and 17 years. The programme was implemented in two secondary schools and involved four driver education classes: two during each July-September semester of 1996 and 1997. The focus on classroom implementation was influenced by a lack of research reporting what happens when a driver education (DE) programme is implemented in a classroom. The principal aim for students was to raise awareness in them of factors contributing to collisions because adolescents have maintained the highest levels of death and injury of any group in New Zealand in recent years.
Driver education research to date, which has mainly relied on positivist research methods and has focussed on summative outcomes, often confirmed minimal long-term safety advantage for groups receiving training. This study departed from a purely quantitative approach and, instead, used formative assessments and analyses of qualitative and quantitative data to improve programme effectiveness as it was being implemented.
Using a multi-faceted, inductive and naturalistic approach, the longitudinal study uses a teacher-as-researcher model of action research. Reported in narrative form, several small action research cycles were evaluated and incorporated within three larger cycles of action research. Action research provided a systematic approach for the management of the research as a whole and for monitoring student progress.
There were several units of analysis operating within each implementation: the process of developing and implementing a DE programme, the observation, reflection and planning of teaching and learning activities, and a narrative account of the research as a whole from the researcher’s perspective of being a lone action researcher, programme developer, driver education teacher and researcher.
Findings highlighted the need to avoid making assumptions about the homogeneity of students and their preparedness to accept, without question, safety ideas from a DE programme or a teacher. Instead it was important to take account of the diversity of adolescents, their individual learning needs and preferred learning styles. Where possible students were encouraged to contribute to programme development through diary entries, discussion and feedback about teaching, programme content and learning outcomes. The researcher was also able to broaden his teaching skills and improve the quality of teaching and learning for many students.
This research found that increasing student awareness of safety through a classroom-based driver education programme is largely dependent on a teacher using formative and summative assessments within the practice of teaching and learning so that tasks and activities could be adjusted to better enable students to make progress.
Finally, this research emphasises that driver educators cannot assume that designing a programme will in itself ensure effective results. It is what happens in the classroom that determines any programme’s impact on students, their ideas and behaviour.||