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By Tim Leeds 

Driving force: Northern the only place in Montana for driver's ed teachers

 

June 30, 2014

Eric Seidle

Garrett Stannard, a music teacher from Livingston pretends to drive impaired with iPod headphones during the Traffic Education teachers exam held every year at Montana State University-Northern.

The driver's education class to teach future driver's education class teachers wrapped up after two weeks at Montana State University-Northern.

The class is a requirement of any Montanan who wants to become a driver's education teacher. MSU-Northern is the only place in Montana that holds the class, which attracts people from all over the state every year.

Those thinking of becoming a driver's education instructor must already by a teacher in some capacity, said Susan Carney, one of the organizers of the course.

As part of the class, each of the 22 future instructors taking the class this year had to make a presentation of different ways to connect with pupils. Sam McCrone's project was recreating bad traffic situations - such as people texting while driving, aggressive drivers and bicyclists getting in the way of vehicles - by having pupils simulate a road in a hallway.

The idea was to put pupils in the situations as much as possible before they go out into the real world with a real vehicle.

"The idea is just to get the kids to understand what this is like," Carney said.

This and the other future instructors' lessons were critiqued on their validity as possible lessons to teach to their students.

As part of the driver's education instructors' training, they have to complete a three-week course online and then come to MSU-Northern for two weeks to take the physical class.

MSU-Northern has held the class for decades, according to a press release from the university.

"It has been helping to provide traffic education in Montana since 1968 and has been the only place to get a traffic education endorsement in the state since 1994," the press release says.

 

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