1.2. Innovation in driving education (discussion of the choice of methods)
The choice of methods underlying the implementation of the project is oriented towards the experiences of the peer group education. In the state-of-the-art report, it could be ascertained that this methodological approach hasn’t been used within theoretical driving education in any of the partner countries.
The well-meant attempt by driving instructors and traffic experts to convey prevention messages to young people within the driving education couldn’t produce any really convincing results with regard to changed attitudes towards risk.
It has been shown in the past that young people “zone out” most of the time during these kind of talks and lectures, and that lasting results could hardly be obtained by this method.
A very promising alternative to this is the use of what are called “peer mentors” (also peer educators, peer agents..)
peer mentors are peers from the immediate life world of the target group and can communicate the prevention messages (e. g. on the issue of drugs or their own accident experiences) most credibly (“peer” stands for the same/like-minded/her/his equals).
1.3. Key questions
? “Do individual, authentic reports about accidents and their consequences have a lasting influence on self-reported risk behaviour?”
? “Is it generally possible to implement the visits of young accident drivers within the regular theoretical driving lessons?”
1.4. Objectives of the project
The project’s objectives were to:
– lead to a positive change in attitude and behaviour within the group of young beginner drivers.
– provide methodological suggestions on how to apply strategies in accident prevention.
– be a basis for recommendations given to decision makers and persons involved in the implementation showing them where the potential of this approach lies.
2. Description of methods and procedures
CLOSE TO – FINAL REPORT
CLOSE TO falls back methodologically on successful approaches from other areas of life and learning. Thus the use of those affected themselves (authentic confrontation) proved itself in drug prevention and the beneficial effects of the use of peers are known from educational studies.
With the present, positively tested method proposal,
CLOSE TO offers European driving schools a concrete way to thematise youth specific patterns of action, individual dispositions, additional motives and drug prevention.
The peer mentor thus “livens up the place” in the truest sense of the word. Her/his story is authentic teaching material on the often thoughtless and sometimes surprisingly short way to becoming a traffic offender. The proximity in ages and the lifting of anonymity make it more difficult for the participants to dissociate themselves from it by saying “this only happens to other people”. Thus the chance increases that the learner driver will reflect on her/himself, supported by the question:
How would you yourself have behaved in this situation?
This somewhat different educational approach was tried out in driving education for the first time in CLOSE TO and both the results of the questionnaires as well as the experiences from the practical implementation in the 5 partner countries point in a positive direction.
During the kick off meeting for the project, the CLOSE TO project team agreed on the use of the following terms for the course of the project: