Teaching and learning

Why teach road safety?

Road safety is a key health issue. Road-related trauma is one of the leading causes of accidental death and injury for children and young people in NSW. Through our partnership with Transport for NSW, we are committed to help reduce this by supporting teachers to implement quality road safety education programs in preschools, primary and secondary schools.

The department's Road safety education, driver education and training policy requires that we teach road safety in all stages as part of the PDHPE K-10 syllabus and the 25 hour mandatory course Life Ready for senior students.

Strengths-based approach

A strengths-based approach acknowledges that most students come to the learning area feeling positive about their health. It also recognises that all children and young people have particular strengths and interests that can be nurtured to improve their own and others' health and wellbeing.

Learning experiences have frequently adopted a risk-based model focusing on when and how young people experience risky health behaviours and exploring reasons and approaches to change these behaviours.

By shifting the balance to a strengths-based approach, asking questions such as 'What keeps people healthy?', the learning experiences will prioritise individual, community and organisational assets, inviting students to build on and share their own and others' resources and competencies to enhance the sustainability, equity and participation goals of health promotion. Source: ACARA, August 2012

Quality road safety education teaching and learning empowers children and young people with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to be safe road users, and avoids activities that have little impact on this.

Using shock tactics

Some groups that work with schools and students may use video clips, images or testimonials to scare young people about the negative consequences of risky road behaviour. With good intentions, they hope that young people will change their behaviour.

Research says that using shock or fear tactics to frighten young people generally don't work. Those who are affected and likely to accept the message about acting safely are usually the ones not engaging in risky behaviours to start with!

Fear and shock tactics are least effective in those who most need to change their behaviour. Others will reject the messages by denying, ridiculing, neutralising or minimising them.

We do not recommend the use of shock or fear tactics with students in our schools.

The curriculum content aims to build on knowledge, understanding and skills and challenge attitudes towards road safety rather than rely on scaring or frightening the audience.

Source: What doesn't work for young road users and why, Road Safety EducationExternal link, Victoria

PDHPE curriculum support

Teachers can get further support for implementing the PDHPE syllabus by going to the department's PDHPE curriculum site.

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