Eager to motor on into the world of safe driving.
The Changing Gears program visited the Pavilion community school in Epping in the last week of November 2021. The school had ten students, all eager to pass their learner permits and motor on into the world of safe driving.
After her experience with VicRoads’ online system, trainer Linda Jane decided the best way forward was to return to her tried and true method of in-person learning over a week, culminating in a visit to a VicRoads office to sit L-plate tests.
Back to what works
“Why fix what isn’t broken?” Linda commented, “with in-person learning, we can get back to building excitement for our students, back to easy to remember methods and back to sharing the joy of our students’ success on the last day when they celebrate their victories.”
The class was excited but nervous at the same time. The prospect of having to provide documentation, fill out test application forms, study and retain safe driving information, in order to pass the test, was a daunting one.
A nervous time
Student Dee was not focused at all when she arrived. When trainer Linda explored this with her, Dee realised she was fearful of driving and therefore it was affecting her confidence in passing the test. Linda took some time to encourage Dee and help her understand the benefits of being in the Changing Gears program. With Linda’s help, Dee realised what a great opportunity it was and applied herself.
"I'm not sure if Sally will pass due to her low literacy," commented a teacher of a second student. Linda was able to reassure both Sally and the teacher, that VicRoads testing booths had earphones which will read each question out to the person being tested.
“You can press a button and have questions read out to you as many times as you like,” Linda explained. This reassured Sally and her teacher tremendously.
Over the days, it became clear that without the application of Changing Gear’s common-sense tips, questions can be both confusing and difficult. As the students learned and gained in confidence, some of the teachers realised that their own knowledge could use a refresher!
One teacher assisting students with answering practice questions correctly, was being confidently told by the students, “That is not the answer!”
"Oh my God, I would fail if I took the test today," she remarked.
With great support
The students applied themselves over the week and on the day of the test most felt quite confident but not all. Sally was so overwhelmed with the enormity of the task of passing she almost went home. However, with the support of the teachers, trainers, and her peers, she stayed and waited her turn. One Vic Roads staff member sat with her throughout the test and assisted her in reading and understanding the questions. It turns out that with the right support, Sally was ready after all.
With lots of encouragement and reminding her of how well she did on practice tests, Dee too passed with a score of 91%
Thank you Vic Roads
The staff at the Coolaroo VicRoads Office provided great support to the students in the enrolment process, setting up the Learner permit test PC's and assisting the reading and understanding of some of the questions for the low literacy students. They thanked the learners for their patience.
One staff member commented she had never had 10 passes in a row and so quickly. She felt exhilarated proving the Changing Gears program provides a triple win for all concerned. It empowers young people with challenges to overcome their fears and gain their L-plates, it provides families and community organisations with the reassurance that there is a pathway to driving for their young people. And, it provides VicRoads staff with the awesome feeling that not only will these young people pass their test but that drivers who have passed through the Changing Gears program will have all the tools they need to be responsible, safe drivers on Victorian roads.
Possibilities open up
Driving opens up so many possibilities for dissadvantaged young people, and with the Changing Gears program, those who come along have a 92% chance of success. The class all supported and inspired each other and showed the way for young people to overcome their obstacles to driving and experience success.
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