Suggestions stemming from student-teacher consultations

Following are suggestions received during consultations with a small sample of teachers and students conducted prior to development of the supplement.

Suggestion 1: Place a greater emphasis on alcohol throughout the entire supplement.

Suggestion 2: Identify and profile the drugs that junior high students are most likely to encounter, using the prevalence data from the most recent Nova Scotia Student Drug Survey.

Suggestion 3: Provide opportunities to foster critical-thinking skills in the higher grades by looking at broader social and economic issues surrounding substance use, including beneficial prescription use and possible misuse, international drug trafficking and local markets, community attitudes towards alcohol use, and international and cultural differences in alcohol use.

Suggestion 4: Incorporate current material on cannabis that addresses the proposed (as of February 2005) reduced penalty options for simple possession, increased penalties for grow operations and trafficking, and the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Suggestion 5: Make each lesson plan as complete as possible to minimize teacher preparation time.

Suggestion 6: Ensure that drug education lessons can be delivered through in-class activities, using overheads, videos, or DVD resources. (Computer-based learning could be included as an option, but don’t assume this technology is sufficiently available for core lessons.)

Suggestion 7: Incorporate group and peer-to-peer hands-on activities for the students wherever possible.

Suggestion 8: Incorporate visual resources into the supplement. This may consist of web links to existing materials rather than the development of new materials.

Contextual suggestions

Suggestion 9: Post the curriculum supplement update on a website that teachers can access to download materials. Use the website as a means of adding to and adapting the supplement as new materials become available.

Suggestion 10: Provide all materials in French and English to support French-language and French immersion junior high students and teachers.

Suggestion 11: Develop an annual distribution process for the resource so that first-time teachers are as likely to use it as their predecessors. Providing web-based access to the materials will facilitate the process.

Suggestion 12: Provide professional development opportunities to equip Healthy Living teachers to deliver the alcohol and other drug education. In the longer term, a teacher self-training component could be part of the previously mentioned website.