Christmas came early for some students at Cire Community School who recently attained their Learner Driver permits after successfully completing a Changing Gears program.
It was a particularly exciting way to end the year and given the much anticipated Changing Gears pre-learner driver education program had been rescheduled three times due to COVID restrictions.
Twelve students participated in the pre-Learner driver education program at the Mount Evelyn campus with seven ultimately gaining their Ls on the final day. All 12 students learned valuable lessons in safety, persistence and practice and had a great time engaging with the course.
The following comments help capture the value of the experience:
It was a bit confusing at times but then it made sense.
There are lots of the questions that just take time to work out the safest option. It’s like a puzzle.
Changing Gears has become an important part of what Cire Community School’s offers and helps students achieve one of the ”rites of passage” which may not otherwise be within easy reach, as well as contribute to keeping our roads safer.
It has been made possible by support and funding through the Department of Transport and VicRoads as a safer driver and passenger intervention. Students have achieved 100 per cent success rates for almost every program.
“Changing Gears gives students, and their families, the confidence to undertake their Learner’s permit test and then gain invaluable time driving under adult supervision,” explained Karen Swankie who has been instrumental in securing the necessary grant funding and overseeing the program.
“It provides a supported environment that breaks down the road rules into manageable learning opportunities and as a result, our students have been incredibly successful in gaining their Learner permits over the years.”
Changing Gears gives students, particularly those with low literacy levels and self-confidence, the opportunity to achieve success by learning the road rules in a supportive environment with their peers. Facilitators work with individual students on areas where they may require extra support and students are able to learn with their peers, which further embeds the learning. Being able to sit for the test with a group, rather than alone, helps to alleviate nervousness associated with testing.
Students in the most recent Changing Gears program loved their instructor Linda who was able to communicate the road rules in an effective manner using a range of digital and physical mediums such as videos, quizzes, PowerPoint presentations and physical maps to demonstrate traffic manoeuvres. The students particularly appreciated the practice quizzes as they gave them valuable insights into the learner’s test and further familiarised them with the rules of the road.
Linda provided lots of support to the students throughout the sessions and checked in on their wellbeing and understanding on a regular basis. Students were reminded that the Victorian road rules always looked for the safest approach and that the quizzes could be completed with common sense. Linda spent time with each student, helping develop that ‘common sense’.
On the day of the test, many of the students were excited to finally sit for their Ls. They were all very encouraging towards each other even though some were not able to pass on the day. Overall, we had a high success rate and those who did not pass have the option to try again in February.
For future students completing this course, be sure to have the correct documents and identification.
Cire has again been awarded funding for Changing Gears in 2021/2022. Our school is also set to be the benchmark in the region for a new safer vehicles intervention which is being rolled out for the first time, as well as a Looking After Our Mates online session.
Best wishes and safe driving to all those new Learners on the road!