Rethinking Drug Ed and Promoting Mental Wellness in BC Schools October 8, 2015

Rethinking Drug Ed and Promoting Mental Wellness in BC Schools October 8, 2015
Rethinking Drug Ed
and Promoting Mental
Wellness in BC Schools
October 8, 2015
Jennifer Gibson BA, BEd & MEd is currently a grade 8 French
immersion teacher in School District 62 (Sooke) on Vancouver Island.
She has been an educator for 20 years in three different districts in
B.C. She has taught a bit of every subject from Kindergarten to Grade
12 in the public school system. Jennifer is passionate about helping
teens have a healthy relationship with and candid conversations about
Cindy Andrew, BPE, BEd is a former teacher who has worked in the
Healthy Schools and health promotion field for over 25 years. She is a
program consultant with the Centre for Addictions Research of BC at
the University of Victoria and works with school professionals and
their partners in supporting the uptake of promising approaches to
addressing substance use in schools.
Time to reflect ….
How was your drug ed experience
when you were in school?
"There is always an easy solution to
every human problem – neat,
plausible, and wrong.”
(H. L. Mencken, "The Divine Afflatus")
Easy solutions ....
 if only our kids know how
bad dangerous and risky
drugs are surely they will
avoid them and be safe
 if we can teach them how
to resist pressure from
peers surely our kids will
be safe
Fear-based just-say-no approaches to
drug education do not work, and they
never have. To date, traditional drug
education programs have failed to have
any significant influence on student
Similarly, zero-tolerance drug policies
have failed to solve student drug issues
An honest approach to drug ed …
A Resilience based approach
 focuses on capabilities rather than
 Drug education
should follow
 engages students and respects the
the lead of
unique development of each
Martin Luther
King Jr. who did
 recognizes the importance of the
not proclaim, “I
community of youth rather than
have a
just the individual
So What Works at a school level?
Creating health
that build
Developing health
literacy, including
literacy about
alcohol and other
A comprehensive health-promoting
approach …
Teaching &
Consider the implications …
… there are some important shifts
to make!
It’s not all about the kids …
More about
attention to
the pond
Less about
fixing the
From punishment to discipline …
paying back
helping a “disciple”
(student) move
Young people NOT engaged and
connected with others are more likely
to experience both academic and
mental health problems & be involved
in various health risk behaviours.
From content to process …
explore …
kids about
“The only person who is
educated is the one who
has learned how to learn
and change.” ~Karl
From didactic to experiential …
Students need to learn to …
 assess the complex ways in which drugs impact the health and wellbeing
of individuals, communities & societies
 explore and appreciate diversity related to the reasons people use drugs,
the impact of drug use and the social attitudes toward various drugs
 recognize binary constructs (e.g., good vs bad) and assess their
limitation in addressing complex social issues like drug use
 recognize how official responses to drugs may have less to do with the
drug than with other factors
 develop social and communication skills in addressing discourse and
behaviour related to drugs
 develop personal and social strategies to manage the risks and harms
related to drugs
Health Literacy = Building Competencies
What is it?
 “the ability to access,
comprehend, evaluate
and communicate
information as a way to
promote, maintain and
improve health in a
variety of settings across
the life-course.” (Public Health
Agency of Canada)
Why use it?
 It helps build a range of
cognitive, social and
emotional skills in youth
and hence is more likely
to have real-world
Learning about drug ed should be
fun… and engaging.
Teaching Methods Matter ...
 Identify – express their current
 Investigate – observe, analyze
and evaluate knowledge on
which to base their thinking
 Interpret – understand evidence
& use deductive reasoning to
reach conclusions
 Imagine – opening their minds to
‘what if’ scenarios and solutions
 Integrate – make connections
between their learning
experiences and the real world.
Teachers need the right
resources to help students
develop the knowledge
and skills they need to be
Learning about drugs should NOT be
Teachers can collaborate and
teach across curriculum.
iMinds - A real-world approach to
drug education for Gr. 4-10
 Focus on building competencies
 Students explore social and environmental
factors that influence their personal attitudes
and behaviours related to alcohol and other
 Based on a constructivist approach, iMinds
engages students
 Includes all required materials and rubrics
 Cross-curricular
How else can CARBC help ...
 Cycles - a film-based learning
 –
an online cross-curricular
 Additional instructional
support materials
 The Art of Motivation –
online support for using a
motivational interviewing
 Alcohol Reality Check –
self-assessment tool for
youth and adults
 –
for parents
 Promising practices
 Consultation, workshops
and support
Power in democratic citizenship …
we are in
this together
Teachers &
Questions, comments,
Thank you and keep in touch!
[email protected]a
[email protected]
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