Curriculum Selected for
Winnipeg, Manitoba - The Manitoba Research Centre on Family Violence and Violence Against Women has received a $61,000 grant from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada to conduct a comprehensive, three-year evaluation of the Healthy Relationships curriculum (HRC).
The study will involve 1,000 students in grades seven through nine, 18 guidance counselors and family life and language arts teachers, and five schools in the City of Winnipeg. Men For Change, the Winnipeg schools, and Culture, Heritage and Citizenship Manitoba are collaborators in this formal evaluation.
Dr. Wendy Josephson, who is associate professor of psychology at the University of Winnipeg and a visiting professor at the Manitoba Research Centre, reports that Healthy Relationships was chosen from a selection of 12 Canadian and U.S. curricula because of its "integrated, long-term approach, well-planned curriculum, attractiveness to teachers," and familiarity among teachers in Winnipeg-area schools.
"The idea is to see if there is a possible way to reduce violence against women, by stopping it before it starts," says Josephson. "Finding out what characteristics lead teens to be susceptible will be useful information for policymakers and schools." She adds that Healthy Relationships will be one of only a few dating violence prevention programs to be formally evaluated.
Preliminary work gets under way this spring, pilot testing is scheduled for the summer, and the introduction of Healthy Relationships will begin in the fall.
In the first year, the research group (team members and research assistants) will deliver the program to students while the teachers observe. In the second year, they will teach cooperatively, and in the third year, the teachers will be wholly responsible for the teaching.
Men For Change's Peter Davison, co-developer of Healthy Relationships, will travel to Winnipeg in the fall to hold an in-service for the research group, guidance counsellors and teachers who will be involved in the three-year study.
After obtaining the consent of both students and parents, half the classes in an appropriate subject area (typically Language Arts and Family Life) in grades seven through nine in each participating school will begin instruction in the corresponding Healthy Relationships manual. The other half will serve as the control group. The prevention program students' responses will be compared to the base line: the attitudes, self-reported behaviours and other responses of the control group.
A minority of students be involved in the program for one year. This will enable the evaluators to compare the impact of the three-year program to that of a single year, and it will help identify a "critical" grade for intervention, if there is one.
When the Manitoba Research Centre evaluated the London Family Court Clinic's ASAP program (London, Ontario), it documented "significant changes in knowledge, attitudes, and behavioural intentions, immediately and six weeks later, following a single ASAP workshop for high school students," reads Josephson's grant proposal. The same attitude and behavioural intention measures will be used, along with a newly developed measure for attitudes toward physical, psychological, and sexual violence in dating relationships (Byers, 1995).
"We'll be looking not just at the levels of violence," reports Josephson, "but at their use of other kinds of conflict resolution. Healthy Relationships is not just about not being violent; it's about being constructive. We're also looking at self-esteem, and satisfaction with the relationships they're in, as well as their attitudes towards dating violence, and confidence in their ability to handle difficult interpersonal situations."
For further information concerning this evaluation see: MANITOBA EVALUATION Table of Contents
N E W S L E T T E R
Curriculum Selected for Three-Year Evaluation
Update February 1997
"Our research assistants are excited and challenged by what is going on in the classroom, and we are very pleased with the response we're getting from school administrators and teachers."
A Challenge for Educators
"On the basis of time alone...the entertainment industry is the first curriculum in young peoples' lives."
The Making of this Curriculum
"We began to look for proactive ways to take responsibility for male violence, and to contribute towards the evolution of a violence free society."
In Ontario, Gender Analysis is Key
"HRC looks at stereotyping of both men and women as victims of socialization. It's not one half of the population that's at fault."
Educating for Change
Recommended Materials on Violence Against Women and Children.
Gender Reactions Differ in B.C.
"From her vantage point, Hill has noticed different gender-based reactions to some of the material she's presented."
Public Health Nurse Uses Healthy Relationships Curriculum
"I'm going to start a project in junior high schools on awareness, violence, and bullying..."
Multiple Applications in Edmonton
"This material provides a way to stimulate discussion and to develop strategies for intergenerational connections."
Breaking New Ground With Youth Corrections Programming
"It's been a real plus for us to be able to go to something that's already out there, and to be able to use it as a source of strength."
Students Promote Zero Tolerance for Violence
"The $64,000 question remains: Is the curriculum actually making a difference in the students' attitudes and behaviours? MacNeil says it is."
Going to the Heart of the Matter in Dade County, Florida
"The reason your curriculum is so good is because it touches the soul. It goes to the heart of the matter. It is not superficial."
A Foundation for Other Programs
"Sometimes Healthy Relationships is not used overtly in program delivery. Instead, it's used behind the scenes."
Children's Aid Uses Healthy Relationships
"The boys have had problems in relation to sexuality...We have found (HRC) a very useful reference and resource."
Curriculum Supplement: Gender Justice
Some suggestions which expand this unit of the Grade 9 curriculum.
Organizations that have ordered Healthy Relationships
Update December 1997
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