Perspectives

Promoting healthy relationships. PREVNet offers new training module for teachers and adult leaders

By Jeff Moat
October 4, 2012

Module addresses gap in awareness of how to promote healthy relationships

Adults play a critical role in socializing children and youth, enabling children and youth to form healthy and respectful relationships with their peers. To provide adults with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to do this, PREVNet (Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network) has recently partnered with youth-serving organizations to create the Healthy Relationships Training Module (HRTM). The HRTM will soon be available, in English and French, to teachers as well as to other youth serving organizations. If used for in-service training, the resource is free of charge.

PREVNet is known for its scientifically based state-of-the-art bullying prevention resources. Our core principle is that healthy development depends on healthy relationships. We believe a critical component of effective bullying and violence prevention is to mobilize knowledge to those with a profound impact on children and youth: teachers, youth leaders, coaches, and other professionals and volunteers who work with them.

The HRTM was co-created by a Community of Practice involving PREVNet, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada, Canadian Red Cross, and Scouts Canada, and funded by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

Our goal was to fill a gap in the formal training of all those who work with children and youth. It is not enough to simply assume that without explicit training, adults will have the ability to form healthy relationships with all young people, to create healthy social climates, and to address bullying. This is often not the case. To fill this gap, the HRTM provides all Canadians who work with children and youth the explicit and integrated training they need, in order to fulfil their key role in fostering healthy social development. The HRTM enhances understanding of the importance of healthy relationships. It stimulates thinking and discussion about what defines a healthy relationship and the role of power in relationships. The module also addresses the abuse of power in bullying and the peer dynamics that surround bullying. The HRTM enhances skills in assessment, individual coaching, and group building, and uses a systemic model to understand and positively influence social climate within a school or other community.

The HRTM has been enthusiastically received by over 15 youth-serving organizations through its piloting stages. It can be delivered either in a half-day or full-day workshop, or further divided for shorter sessions. It is designed to use participatory and experiential learning, as well as didactic learning. It is an integrated resource that includes the following components: The Facilitator’s Guide provides extensive background information tied to each presentation slide, specific prompts for each slide, and a collection of experiential activities tied to many of the learning objectives. The Power Point slide presentation provides a concise and visual synthesis of the key information. The Participant’s Handout contains notes from the slides and other resources tied to the experiential learning activities. There is also a Pre-Post Evaluation Questionnaire to measure change in participant’s Knowledge, Confidence and Skills as a result of the HRTM. PREVNet is committed to evidence-based practice, and will use these data to measure training effectiveness.

For more information, please email prevnet@queensu.ca.

Jeff Moat is the President of Partners for Mental Health. Jeff joined Partners for Mental Health with the passionate belief that by galvanizing a community of supportive Canadians, we can transform our collective efforts into a powerful social movement that will not only drive positive change in the mental health system, but also create broader social change.

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