A Motivated 6 Year-Old Learner and Social Learning

Boy Misses Bus, Takes Family Car
The Associated Press
Posted: Tuesday, Jan. 06, 2009

WICOMICO CHURCH, Va. A 6-year-old Virginia boy who missed his bus tried to drive to school in his family’s sedan – and crashed. His parents were charged with child endangerment. State police said the boy suffered only minor injuries and authorities drove him to school after he was evaluated at a local hospital for a bump on his head. He arrived shortly after lunch, Sgt. Tom Cunningham said.

It happened around 7:40 a.m. Monday on Route 360, about 61 miles east of Richmond.
The boy, whose name wasn’t released, missed the bus, took the keys to his family’s 2005 Ford Taurus and drove nearly six miles toward school while his mother was asleep, police said.
He made at least two 90-degree turns, passed several cars and ran off the rural two-lane road several times before hitting an embankment and utility pole about a mile and a half from school.
The boy told police he learned to drive playing Grand Theft Auto and Monster Truck Jam video games.

“He was very intent on getting to school,” said Northumberland County Sheriff Chuck Wilkins. “When he got out of the car, he started walking to school. He did not want to miss breakfast and PE.”

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Motivation – and Informal Learning – can lead to Performance – but not necessarily high performance.

When it comes time to really learn how to drive – will this 6 year-old need to unlearn things learned “Informally” via Social learning via Grand Theft Auto and Monster Truck Jam? That the vehicle doesn’t just pop back onto the road after your crash – and you just go on minus a few points? Will his personal Informal Learning “lesson” be able to “hold sway” for the next decade or so?

Let’s hope so.

But what about all of those other Informal/ Social Learners/ Gamers approaching the “golden age” in their area for getting a Driver’s License? Will the current Drivers Education programs in place be up to THAT task? Of helping the Learner unLearn the incorrect lessons learned earlier, less formally, or very informally?

Let’s hope so.

Are the horror films of post-crashes enough to sway teenagers from dangerous driving? Unless it is very different from the late 1960s when I and my friends were getting our licenses – because back in that day it wasn’t.

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