Review looks at 'what works' in schools-based relationship education
Wed 04 Dec 2013
A report released by the Families Commission has reviewed research on schools-based relationship education, including its potential to prevent ...
A report released by the Families Commission has reviewed research on schools-based relationship education, including its potential to prevent dating and partner violence.
Effectiveness of Relationship Education Programmes in Schools for Years 7-13 (Superu, 2013) presents a review of international and New Zealand evidence and literature on what works in school-based relationship education. A broad definition of relationship education is used, encompassing life skills training, social and emotional learning and interpersonal skill development. The report finds common characteristics of successful relationship programmes, including that programmes are:
- informed by theory and evidence
- holistic and strengths based
- integrated into the curriculum
- aimed at influencing specific risk factors/protective factors/core competencies
- focused on developing personal or social skills
- cognisant of environmental influences
- developmentally and culturally appropriate
- personally relevant (i.e. address immediate needs)
- use active teaching methods
- delivered by well-trained and supported educators, with appropriate skills and qualities
- process and outcomes are evaluated.
Other key findings of the review include:
- programmes with a strong focus on relationships aspects may be more effective than those with a narrow focus on biology or abstinence, to achieve sexual health outcomes
- programmes that focus only on negative aspects of sexuality, like teen parenting or STIs, are not effective
- one-off sessions or lecture-style delivery are ineffective.
The Ministry of Education is currently developing guidelines to enable schools to identify and choose evidence-based programmes. The Families Commission will be working with the Ministry of Education to monitor and evaluate the guidelines when they are released to schools.
The Families Commission said the relationship education programmes review supports the Taskforce for Action on Violence within Families Programme of Action 2012/2013 and link with other projects led by the Ministry of Women's Affairs, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Social Development, including sexual violence prevention work.
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