SODAT of New Jersey, Inc.                                     (Services to Overcome Drug Abuse Among Teenagers) 
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TIPS FOR TALKING ABOUT DRUGS IN THE CLASSROOM

 

   Section 1                                                             Section 2

Create a Positive Environment     Age Appropriate Messages

 

Section 3

Drug Prevention Lesson Plans For The Classroom

More and more schools are under pressure to educate their students about substance abuse,  sometimes during the school day, sometimes in after-school activities. The following lesson  plans are provided to help you with that assignment.  Below are links to lesson plans for different grade levels. Each lesson plan describes the objective of the lesson, background on the topic, resources and teacher tips, and then the activities to plan for this class time. There are also downloadable PDF files containing activity worksheets for you to share with your class.

Lesson Plan K-3

Lesson Plan 4-6

Lesson Plan 7&8

Lesson Plan 9-12

 

Create a Positive Classroom Environment:

Drug education is most effective when students feel comfortable sharing their ideas and asking a lot of questions.

  • Create a climate where students feel comfortable approaching you, expressing feelings and asking questions.
  • Give all students an opportunity to talk Ė the quiet ones often have questions to ask but feel they do not get to share them.
  • Demonstrate your interest in the students and their concerns by asking appropriate questions.
  • Listen to everything that a particular individual has to say before formulating a response.
  • Always leave the door open for future conversations and communication.

 

Although it is essential that educators provide students with accurate facts about drug abuse and its side effects, prevention education also centers on listening. Listening carefully and really hearing involve the following:

  • Listen to the words being communicated, but also be aware of the non-verbal communication that accompanies these words. Non-verbal cues indicating feelings of fear, anger, or guilt are important for teachers to understand if they are to be truly helpful to their students.
  • Listen by paying attention. Looking directly at a student who is speaking is very confirming. It allows the student to believe what he or she is saying is being listened to, is important, and is being understood. Teachers need to be aware of their own non-verbal behaviors when they listen, such as frowns when they disapprove of something and smiles when they approve.
  • Listen without interrupting. Interrupting a person who is trying to understand or be understood or trying to express feelings about something very important, frightening or guilt-laden may result in a shut-down at the very moment when an unclear or undeveloped thought is about to be clarified.
  • Listen without judging. For students to learn through open communication, you must permit them to speak and listen when they are speaking. The very thoughts that might be responded to quickly in a negative, judgmental way may be of great concern to the student.
  • Listen without giving advice. Giving advice is often an easy way of dealing with a complex problem. Students attempting to cope with the many issues associated with drug use must examine each issue and may not respond to quick and seemingly easy solutions. Communication takes time; giving advice often short-circuits the process.

 

 

Age Appropriate Messages:
 

Grade School Youth

When attempting to help school-aged children deal with a world that uses alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, consider the following:

  • They are moving from total dependence on their parents to shared dependence with parents and peers.
     
  • They are very concerned and focused on their maturing bodies and respond to information about health, nutrition and exercise.
     
  • They tend to see things as either black or white; rules govern most aspects of their play and life.  Legality and morality have strong meaning for children this age.
     
  • They view people and messages as they want them to be, not necessarily as they are.  Tobacco and alcohol advertising often uses this "fantasy" appeal.

 

Middle School Youth

When attempting to intervene positively in the lives of middle school youth, help them gain control of situations and not be controlled by them, it is important to remember what motivates them.

  • They are often controlled by the moment, acting first and thinking about it later. What feels good at the moment can easily dictate the choices they will make.
     
  • They are keenly interested in their bodies and appearance, in how to become stronger or more attractive. This interest can provide a natural opening to teach them about the health hazards of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
     
  • They are big risk takers, quick to test limits, break rules and even flirt with death. They enjoy danger and often believe they are invincible.
     
  • They can think abstractly and are sufficiently aware of their own future to see the benefits of education and how their behavior can have long-term consequences.
     
  • They are beginning to see shades of gray and recognize that complex moral issues cannot always be defined in black and white. They are influenced more by their own ability to make moral judgments than by the opinions of those who have the power and authority to tell them what to believe and how to behave.
     
  • They are involved in their friendships. It is through friendships that they explore the world, test out ways of being and behaving, and acquire a sense of both belonging and identity. It is critical that parents, teachers and other adults help them learn how to develop healthy, positive friendships and reject friendships that are unhealthy.
     
  • They want to grow up, but they donít always know how to do it successfully. They definitely need adults in their lives to answer their questions, help with their problems, and generally serve as models of healthy, responsible, mature behavior.

 

High School Youth

Drug prevention messages must have a foundation of accurate, factual information from which youth can draw conclusions about the dangers and long-term effects of drug-use. Still, there are certain things educators should keep in mind when communicating with high school students about substance abuse.

  • They need to continue learning and practicing how to resist peer pressure and to understand the valid reasons for saying "no" to risky behaviors.
  • They need to be allowed to make independent decisions and to assume responsibility for choices that affect them and others.
     
  • They need to see that, as citizens, they are responsible for making their communities better, safer places to live.
     
  • They like to explore different sides of issues, examine various interpretations and justify their actions as correct moral choices.
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

 

 

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