Curriculum Selected for
Winnipeg, Manitoba -- A formal three-year evaluation of the Healthy Relationships curriculum got under way in October, 1996 when curriculum co-developer Peter Davison spent two days in Winnipeg in-servicing 35 researchers, teachers, guidance counselors, and community liaison workers. Two Winnipeg high schools (grades seven to twelve) and two kindergarten-through-grade nine (K-9) schools are participating in the longitudinal study which is being carried out by The Manitoba Research Centre on Family Violence and Violence Against Women. The Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada is funding the evaluation.
Dr. Wendy Josephson, associate professor of psychology at the University of Winnipeg, and Dr. Jocelyn Proulx, a research associate at The Manitoba Research Centre, chose Healthy Relationships from a selection of 12 Canadian and U.S. curricula because of its "integrated, long-term approach, well-planned curriculum, and attractiveness to teachers," reports Dr. Josephson.
"The idea is to see if there is a possible way to reduce violence against women, by stopping it before it starts. Finding out what characteristics lead teens to be susceptible will be useful information for policy-makers and schools." She adds that Healthy Relationships will be one of only a few dating violence prevention programs to be formally evaluated.
The research project will involve 1,000 students in grades seven through nine, and 18 guidance counselors and family life, language arts and health teachers. In the first year, the research group (team members and research assistants) are delivering the program while teachers observe. In the second year, they will teach cooperatively, and in the third year, the teachers will be wholly responsible for program delivery.
The original plan was to have a control group in each school, against which the student responses could be evaluated. But one of the schools has decided to introduce the curriculum across the board. Explains Dr. Josephson, "They said, We like this so much, we want to use it for Family Life for the whole year. We don't want any of our students not to get it.'" As a result, she and Dr. Proulx have established a control group at another Winnipeg school in a neighbourhood with a similar socio-economic profile.
The students who are presented with Healthy Relationships are first pre-tested, and then they are post- tested three months after completing each grade level in order to gauge retention of the material.
The tests focus on knowledge, self-esteem, attitudes toward dating violence, conflict tactics, and satisfaction with dating relationships. "The students may find less satisfaction with abusive relationships," observes Dr. Josephson. "We want to see if they are more likely to get out of an abusive relationship."
The Research Centre will report its findings each summer. To receive a copy of these reports, send a request to:
Dr. Wendy Josephson, Department of Psychology
University of Winnipeg
515 Portage Ave.
Canada R3B 2E9
Dr. Josephson offered these reflections at the completion of the first leg of the evaluation: "Our research assistants are excited and challenged by what is going on in the classrooms, and we are pleased by the response we're getting from school administrators and teachers. The way the students respond to this program reminds us how much potential and how much good is in them, which accounts for why the teachers are so committed and so supportive.
"The Healthy Relationships program is not just about reducing the levels of violence. It's about introducing more constructive means of conflict resolution."
Editor's note: The above article is an update to the same news item which was orginally published in the Spring of 1996. (Links to original)
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
To receive a printed copy of the latest Healthy Relationships Newsletter, please e-mail your name, name of your organization, and full address to: firstname.lastname@example.org --or use our online request form