We, fifteen students from Grade 11 of Zhangjiagang Singapore International School, divided into three groups to research three different road topics. We then made actions aimed to promote the awareness of safety issues existing in our daily lives.
Our school is located in Zhangjiagang, a small town not far away from some big cities such as Shanghai, Suzhou and Nanjing. The rapidly increased economy has brought to Zhangjiagang a multiple increase in private vehicles. The traffic and road problem has become severe during the recent decade. Our class (fifteen students) spent a lesson in December 2015 brainstorming the road safety issues Zhangjiagang faces. It was very easy to come up with a list of road safety related topics; among them we chose three issues to work on.
1) Road Safety: The importance of changing from high-beams when approaching another car
2) Risky Behaviors: The danger of playing with a cell phone when walking along the street
3) The Future of The Cars: An art competition for primary schools
1) It seems to be a very common phenomenon in Zhangjiagang: A dark night, a two-way road, cars approach each other but none dip their high-beams. Having the experience sitting in the passenger seat, all of our classmates know how annoying this is. Some of our parents curse when they face this situation, some of them choose to ignore it. Maybe they have got used to it. But what is wrong will be always wrong. We hoped the grown-ups could be more aware of the importance of the high-beam issue; so five students from our group, lead by Kevin, decided to do a promotion of “The importance of lowering high-beams when approaching another car”.
2) Cell phones are everyone’s closest “friend” these days. We all know how important they are to modern day life, and how people are addicted to them. With a cell phone, people can chat with friends, take ‘selfies’, and share moments on social networks while walking down the street. You can see that some people enjoy these moments with their cell phones so much that they even forget the dangers on street! To remind people, Viola and her team decided to work on the topic, “Walking and playing with a cell phone”.
3) Children create the future. And what does the future look like to a child’s mind? Sarah and her group members chose to hold a “Future Cars and Cities” art competition to engage three primary schools and give them the opportunity to draw a future transit picture of the world.
1) Kevin’s group noticed that there are a lot of drivers who keep their headlights on full beam when they are approaching another car at night. His group thought about how the abuse of headlights in this way affects the other travelers and can cause traffic accidents. The students made a questionnaire to find out how severe the problem is and what people think about this misuse. They interviewed around the town of Zhangjiagang. Although many people refused to participate, the group was still able to ask 172 random drivers to answer their questionnaire. After they collected the data, they reached some conclusions: older drivers had less awareness about using headlights and all drivers believed ignorance of the issue is common in Zhangjiagang. The group took the collected data and gathered the useful information in a video report. The video was presented at Open House Day (March 26th) and delivered to the public via the school website.
2) Viola’s group realized that more than a few people think playing with smart phones while walking is not a big problem. Whether driving or walking, playing with a smart phone will distracts attention which can trigger an accident. Students in this group made leaflets on the drawbacks of this risky behavior and delivered them to the public. They held a seminar to popularize the bad effects of playing with smart phones on the road. The group mates discussed how to organize the seminar, made a plan and invited some drivers and pedestrians living in Zhangjiagang. During the seminar, the group introduced the bad effects of playing with a phone while walking along the road. The seminar left a deep impression on the participants. The group also made a bilingual video which was shared on the school website. People who watched this video felt shocked; they told us that they didn’t know that this kind of small action could lead to such a serious accident.
3) Sarah and her group, who decided to organize the “Future Cars and Cities” activity, divided into three teams to contact local primary schools. With the agreement and support of their headmasters, Sarah and her group went into the primary schools to introduce the competition and the rules to the students. Not only did the children paint from their imaginations, but they also were encouraged to write the instructions for the future world they created. Then the group collected the paintings and scored them. The top three artworks earned prizes and all the works were exhibited at our school. The top three works mentioned greener vehicles and how they could protect the environment. Some of them also talked about autopilot and future transformation.
Through our activity, students related to the transportation phenomena in their environment. This triggered a series of observations and thoughts to remember and pass on to the people around them.