Students realised how important it was to tell community members about road safety in our town. We decided to start from our school and teach our students, help them feel safe in the streets, and make them aware of the road and its signs.
When we agreed to participate in the contest our task was to bring awareness about road safety into the classroom, to each community member. Girls united all the members of the euroclub, and younger members were the first students who were taught by project leaders. The girls analysed the problem of old cars and the harm they cause, the gases they release and we breathe. Moreover, they shared ideas about the danger of road crossing in the town and near our school in particular, observing students on their way to and from school and the way they cross the street. They talked to the Mayor and addressed their worries to him. They asked him to help them solve the problem of road signs near all eight schools in Sambir. To our surprise and pride, the problem was resolved very quickly. Now, in 2014, all schools have road signs showing that cars should limit their speed! It was the first victory at the beginning of the year! Furthermore, they discussed what could be done by students and community members, spreading the information among school students and community members by teaching the junior pupils first – the lessons were held in all classes! At the same time they made surveys, shared risks among community members and found support! The girls united pupils and held a drawing competition – more than 66 artworks were collected and then 16 pupils were awarded as winners!
When students had a final meeting with school members, they all discussed the benefits of using bicycles instead of cars. There was one more surprise, as our Mayor promised to open three bicycle riding paths in Sambir. We’ve learned that the Mayor is in Brussels now to find support and win this project – bicycle paths in our town!
Our ideas included fundraising and from the beginning (in November and December) we believed that we’d raise money for new signs and even prizes for competitions. But we realised that the situation in Ukraine was becoming worse day by day, so we decided that money should be raised for the main purpose - Maidan and those who need it more - people in Kiev who fought for our freedom! But we never gave up. We managed to give 16 prizes to our drawing competition winners, the Mayor fulfilled what he had promised, students made their projects, wrote stories and fairytales, riddles, filmed video, held lots of lessons and presentations, prepared the competitions, invited the volunteers from the American Peace Corps to help with games and activities for organising the holiday and masterclass!
We now know for sure that if students want to change something they can do, and challenge isn’t the obstacle at all! Students and community members are a real power in town!
While working on the project, students managed to form a good team of leaders and supporters, shared roles and learnt to build a team.
They also involved younger students to assist them, help and substitute in future. Such a tactic proved the sustainability of the project, and we are sure that next year we’ll have followers who will be ready to teach lessons, hold competitions and lead others. This lesson in sustainability appeared to be the main one, as students taught younger euroclub members first, discussed the goals and shared ideas with them, asked them to brainstorm the information found and searched for. Only after that did they plan the lessons, drawing and writing competitions, meetings, celebrations of success, collecting materials for school teachers to spread the word next year.
Students showed how hard-working and reliable they are, and as a result teachers from junior classes have ready-made materials such as poems, riddles, stories and even films and presentations for next years’ lessons. In this way students proved the fact that the lesson can be prepared in cooperation with students. They checked whether younger pupils liked the idea of being taught by senior students, what was the most attractive and the worst element in their teaching.
We should admit that more ideas could be implemented into life, if the situation in Ukraine was better. In the beginning we hesitated a lot whether to join the project or not – the mood was not always very positive. But now, looking back at the results we realise that it was really worth trying, even proving to ourselves that we should teach in different situations, teaching has no limits.