Google Glass app helps kids with autism see emotions

Stanford University researchers are testing software that is meant to help autistic children with social cues. The Google Glass software reads the emotions on people’s faces, then tells the user what those emotions are. Early research is yielding positive results:

 

Take part in the British Film Institute Consultation

 

The British Film Institute (BFI) is running a new consultation presenting opportunities for teachers and youth leaders to give their views on the value of film and education. The feedback you give will inform the BFI’s future strategy. So have your voice heard, the consultation survey goes live on 24 June, don’t miss out!

 

Take part in the BFI Consultation Survey

The decline of play

In this TED talk, Dr. Peter Gray argues that children must be given support for more free play.

Dr. Peter Gray compellingly brings attention to the reality that over the past 60 years in the United States there has been a gradual but, overall dramatic decline in children’s freedom to play with other children, without adult direction. Over this same period, there has been a gradual but overall dramatic increase in anxiety, depression, feelings of helplessness, suicide, and narcissism in children and adolescents.

Based on his own and others’ research, Dr. Gray documents why free play is essential for children’s healthy social and emotional development and outlines steps through which we can bring free play back to children’s lives.

Helping the victims & perpetrators of girl bullying

Child psychologist and former teacher, Dr. Sam Littlemore, offered some advice in the recent ATL magazine on helping the victims and perpetrators of girl bullying.  Littlemore is the author of Girl Bullying: Do I Look Bothered?

Bullying is a problem across the gender divide, but while there are girls who bully physically, it is the way in which girl bullies scan for weakness in social status, and thus vulnerability to manipulation, that can prove particularly problematic to deal with. Because of a perceived lack of evidence, it can be denied by perpetrators; supported by a lack of witnesses willing to stand up; or dismissed as false allegations, a victim mentality or a friendship issue.

Here are some reactive intervention strategies.

  • With the perpetrator, use a timeline to track when the bullying behaviour happens. List the rewards she feels she gains when she uses power over someone and find a way to achieve them in a pro-social way instead. Indirect, psychological bullying is about redressing gains and rewards.
  • Discuss with her the idea of power, gain and control. Work with her to focus on the impact of her behaviour on others.  You could use familiar soap-opera scenarios as examples of bullying behaviour and behaviour change.
  • Spend a few weeks keeping the pack and perpetrator busy during free time. Engage them in social roles at school, but as individuals rather than as a group: the girls learn that there is a different way to build an identity and gain respect.
  • Staff members can support the victim by noting down any incidents, but don’t encourage the student to keep a record herself, or she could keep going over incidents again and again. A staff member can look after the record and talk incidents through with her.
  • Ask the victim to draw around her hand and write the name of a supportive member of staff on each finger. This shows that there is a team willing to help her. This intervention can also be used for the perpetrator, who needs a support team to help her change her behaviour.
  • Help the victim to regain confidence within another friendship group. Also help to give her a focus at school, especially in free time.
  • Encourage all bystanders to take the responsibility to integrate an isolated student.  They should involve her in their social activities and play an active role in reducing indirect bullying.

Help students learn about healthy and unhealthy relationships, but allow them to generate the definitions. This can empower them to make better choices in their friendships. Children learn to bully. Bystanders learn to stand by. They can also learn that bullying is normal behaviour if there is no intervention. No one person can socially isolate another; it takes a whole playground to join in and adults to turn a blind eye. It’s everybody’s responsibility to prevent this.

Whilst obviously focussed on an education setting, there is many ways these tips can be used in youth work settings.

Acne and exam stress key factors that lead young people to suicide

Exam stress, acne and asthma are among the anxieties affecting children and young people who kill themselves, according to the first ever detailed national investigation of these cases.

Between January 2014 and April 2015, there were 145 suicides in England by children and young people aged 10 to 19. An inquiry looking at 130 of the cases has found some common factors, or “antecedents”, which the researchers hope may help families, friends, teachers or others to become aware that a child is struggling.

More than half (54%) of the 130 had self-harmed and 27% had expressed suicidal ideas in the week before they died, while in 16 cases (12%), they had searched online for information on it. But 43% had not been in contact with the health service or any other agency.

More than a third (36%) had sought help for some sort of medical condition, the most common being acne and asthma, while 27% were dealing with academic pressures, says the report.  Of the 20 young people facing current or pending exams or awaiting results, 11 were known to be stressed by their exams and four died on the day of an exam or the day after.

More than a quarter of the young people (28%) had recently experienced the death of somebody close to them, and six had lost more than one. Nine had lost a parent, while 17 (13%) had experienced the suicide of either somebody in their family or a friend.

More than a fifth (22%) had been bullied in previous months, mostly face to face (93%). Eight had been targeted by online bullying – as well as face to face or instead of it. Mostly the bullying had occurred more than three months before the person died, but in eight cases it was more recent.

The findings come from the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness, a collaboration of academics and other experts, who have collected data from Coroners’ inquests, official investigations and other case reviews.

The report, summarised in a paper in the Lancet Psychiatry journal, is the first of its kind.  Prof Louis Appleby, director of the inquiry at the University of Manchester said

“There haven’t been very systematic studies of a very young group.  Suicide is one of the main causes of death but it is not at all common. What is happening in their lives? That is the question we started with.”

The suicide rate is very low among the youngest children – there were 11 cases under the age of 15 in the year. But Appleby said: “Something happens to them in that five-year period from 15 to 20.”  At each age after 15, there is a significant jump in the numbers, reaching 49 at the age of 19. Most – 70% – are male.

Do read the rest of the Guardian article to understand the reason for this significant jump.

Exam tips for young people

Here’s some tips we’ve put together for young people and parents for dealing with revision and exams.  You can download a pdf version here.

Revision

As Benjamin Franklin said: “By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.”

 

  • Have a revision timetable but make sure it is realistic!
  • You need a balance of revision and relaxation. Always take one day off a week from school work, no matter how much pressure you feel, God     designed us to have one day’s rest per week.
  • Split the day into three: morning, afternoon and evening – use two of the three for focussed study and revision – the other is for relaxing and exercise.
  • Revise for an hour and then stop. Have a break, have a kit kat!  Then come back to it.  Take time to switch off and do something completely different.

 

  • Organise your place of revision – make sure you have your notes, text books, writing implements, computer, drink and nibbles etc. all in easy reach.
  • Create a playlist of motivational music to get you going.

 

  • Ensure that you have regular food and drink, and exercise breaks – exercise helps to release endorphins – the feel good feeling and is an important stress factor.

 

Different ways to learn include:

  • Going through past papers (and model answers) is often very helpful.
  • Read it, doodle it, hear it, write it, speak it, etc, the more different ways you find to express it the more you will remember – also be aware that your teacher’s favourite teaching style may not be your best learning style.
  • Use different colours so you can quickly scan the really important stuff.
  • Make short notes, revise them the following day, then a week later. Repetition transfers info from short to longer term memory.       Cramming is not productive.

 

  • Stop all electronics at least half hour before bed.
  • Make sure you still make time for the one thing you love, the thing that fuels your energy rather than just saps it.
  • Get your parents to chill a bit!

 

The Exam

  • Get a good night’s sleep, set your alarm, have a good breakfast and give yourself plenty of time, allowing for traffic hold ups, etc.
  • Check you have all your necessary stationary and equipment, including a watch!

 

  • Know exactly where the exam is going to be held – I still have nightmares about not being able to find the right room and I left school a long time ago!
  • Go to the toilet before the exam.
  • Avoid talking to people about the exam, what you have revised etc., while waiting to go in as it can make you feel nervous that you haven’t revised enough – instead make plans for fun things to do after the exams or chat about last night’s TV!

 

  • Listen carefully to any instructions, read the top sheet and complete it properly.
  • Know your candidate number.

 

  • Always take a deep breath before you start and know that people are praying for you
  • Go for it – if you don’t know the answer go onto the next one – don’t sit there panicking.
  • Read all the questions and make sure you know what you are being asked. Possibly start with stuff you are comfortable with, which may not necessarily be the first question.
  • Know how much time to spend on each question. Time is crucial in exams – don’t waste it.  If a question is only worth a few marks don’t spend ages on it.  Always answer multiple choice questions even if it’s only a guess.
  • If something is not clear then ask (just not the person sat next to you!)
  • Check all sides of the paper – don’t miss a back page!
  • Label all answers clearly and be as neat as you can. Show all working out and attach any notes made on questions you fail to complete.
  • Leave 5 minutes at the end to go through and tidy up.

 

Supporting transitions in children’s & youth work

Here are my notes from a session I led at Moorlands College on the area of transition – reflecting on transition from pre-school to primary school; primary school to secondary school and out of secondary school.  The powerpoint can be found here.

Introduction

Psalm 84 challenges us to a holistic view of children’s and youth ministry.  To help meet the physical, social, emotional, and mental needs as well as their spiritual needs.

 

Transition is a critical area for children’s and youth ministry.  In the 0-18 age group there are three major transition periods:

  • Moving to primary school
  • Moving to secondary school
  • Moving to university or apprenticeship or work

 

Outside of these three main areas we must also reflect on the occasional transitions that happen with moving home or parents work place changing, for example Forces families.

 

Each of these transitions has four contexts for the child or young person

  • Education
  • Church
  • Social
  • Home

 

If we are attempting to deliver a children’s and youth ministry that is holistic, as I believe we are challenged to do from scripture, than we need to attempt to engage and support each of these four areas.

 

The largest UK based report into transition is unsurprisingly based in education.  The Government have for many years sponsored the EPPSE 3-14 research (Effective Pre-School, Primary and Secondary Education 3-14 Project).  This is led by researchers from the University of Oxford, Institute of Education (University of London), and the University of Nottingham.

 

It examines transitions across six Local Authorities with a range of pre-schools, primary and secondary schools, children and parents participating in the research.

 

Pre-school

Preschool children

Toddlers see the biggest transition in our lifetime.  Their development physically, socially, mentally, morally and religiously outstrips any other point in their lifetime.

Education

In partnership with our two local pre-schools we are involved in supporting trips to the local primary schools for the taster sessions.  This brings a bigger sense of continuity for the children as we are involved regularly in the pre-school and their Infant education through Collective Worship, RE, pastoral care and trips.

Get Ready Go
In July we give each child a copy of Get Ready Go! which is a Scripture Union resource helping both the child and parents to think abut getting ready for the big adventure of starting school.  The main booklet uses simple words, colourful artwork and fun activities to explain what school is going to be like during the excitement of their first term together.
But that’s not all, Get Ready, Go! comes with a companion guide for parents, packed full of advice on:

  • parents evenings
  • working with your child
  • looking at school through the eyes of a child
  • dealing with bullying
  • leaving your child at the school gates

and much more so that they can help their child on their way to primary school.

 

Another tool we have found to be helpful is the You’re not Alone guide from the Evangelical Alliance.

 

Church & Social

  • Toddler Groups
  • Sunday Groups are run across age boundaries to ensure the transition doesn’t happen at the same time.

 

Home

Faith Development

I have found that when working with parents, running a session on development can be really helpful.  Parents worry about their child, especially if it is their first.  Everything is so unknown.  It is helpful for them to see that as we look at how children develop, if we look with a big picture, we can make some broad generalisations, some broad brush strokes.  I’ve often used these diagrams from Core Skills for Children’s Work which is written by The Consultative Group on Ministry among Children, a inter-denominational group.

 

Parents find these reassuring to be able to plot where their child is on these diagrams.  To see that to some degree their child is average or normal.

 

Secondary school

secondary school

Helpfully in the latest EPPSE secondary transition research the team identified five keys to a successful transition:

 

  • developing new friendships and improving their self esteem and confidence
  • having settled so well in school life that they caused no concerns to their parents
  • showing an increasing interest in school and school work
  • getting used to their new routines and school organisation with great ease
  • experiencing curriculum continuity.

 

Education

In terms of school transition this requires partnership working between primary and secondary schools.  In my experience this can be patchy, and churches can play a role in helping to strengthen this relationship.

 

Other things that promoted a positive transition among children included: looking forward to going to secondary school; the friendliness of the older children at secondary school and those in their class; having moved to the same secondary school with most of their primary school friends; having older siblings who could offer them advice and support; and finding their new school work interesting.

 

Overall, children with special educational needs (SEN) or those from other vulnerable groups did not experience a less successful transition than other children. However, the survey data did highlight some interesting findings. Children with SEN, approximately 20 per cent of children in the sample, were more likely to be bullied – which is a key inhibitor of a successful transition. Out of the 110 children with SEN in the sample 37 per cent had problems with bullying compared with 25 per cent of children without SEN who had problems with bullying. On the positive side, children with SEN and other health problems were experiencing greater curriculum continuity between Years 6 and 7. It may be that the earlier and more individual transfer process that these children experience has prepared them better for the move and the work they will do in Year 7.

 

Of the 102 children living in low SES households 72 per cent did not get used to the new routines with great ease and 58 per cent did not settle in very well. In comparison, of the 186 high SES children, 50 per cent did not get used to the new routines with great ease and 39 per cent did not settle in so well that they would cause no concern to their parents. However, children of low SES did look forward to secondary school, which had a positive effect on them developing an interest in school and school work.

 

It's your move landscape

We support schools by providing a one hour It’s Your Move lesson that helps young people to explore changes, challenges and

This links heavily to the It’s Your Choice resource from Scripture Union which we give every Year 6 pupil in our parish a copy of.

 

In addition we provide transition support for SEN and vulnerable children from the May half-term, by working with the two main secondary schools to host an afternoon session at their school each week.  This brings together 10-12 children from the area to provide a stronger transition with additional time to meet teachers, learn their way around the building etc.

 

Church & Social

What is particularly alarming is the rate at which we are losing those who grow up in the Church, but whose faith does not transition into adulthood. According to Christian Research, the Church in the UK will have lost an estimated 1.1 million children between 1990 and 2020. They also predict that in the year 2020, 183,700 children aged under-15 will attend church compared to 375,300 in 2010. Unless we do something about it now.

 

According to statistician Peter Brierley, it is possible to buck the trend if action is taken. He says the number of youth workers in recent years has meant that the Church has not lost as many young people as it could have done. He says that fewer people have left the Church than would have if we had not had as many of these dedicated workers.

A mere 104,200 under-15s left the Church between 1998 and 2005, compared to a predicted 256,000. A job well done? Clearly not. The Bible tasks us in Proverbs 22:6 to “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it”. With so many children choosing not to stick with the faith, have we failed? And what can we do about it now?

The Evangelical Alliance research ‘How’s the Family?’, revealed that 45.5 per cent of respondents agreed with the statement that “in my church many young people have stopped attending on Sundays in their teenage years”. There is lots of research about just why this is.  Most of the religious beliefs, behaviours and expectations that define a person’s life have been developed and embraced by the age of 13, according to Christian Research. If there isn’t a firm foundation in the Bible and the Christian life before that, children are more susceptible to succumbing to peer pressure, to doubting the faith and seeing church life as alien to the real world.

 

Research by Peter Brierley suggests that a thousand under-15s were leaving the church each week through the nineties, and, more recently, that the key time for early adolescents to leave the church is at the end of Junior/Primary school.  Peter’s research findings underlined that 11-14s are not happy with formality.  They want a more relaxed atmosphere, where it’s okay to wear what you like, sit comfortably, talk and enjoy meeting with others.  They key factor above even all of this, is relationships.  The lack of other young people of the same age, and unfriendliness from adults is the major reason why young people leave the church.

 

Early adolescence is the second most transformative time for a person developmentally, second to toddlerhood.  For the first time, they have the ability to make decisions for themselves, including whether they want to go to church or not (and early teenagers don’t want to do anything but sleep and eat).

 

The tweenagers and early teenagers go through so many transitions during this time period, whether it’s at school or in the home.  With so many transitions, they need a place that is stable.

 

This is a range of what we’ve done over the last few years

  • writing to all year 6s inviting them to the new groups at Easter
  • having youth leaders visit the children’s groups in advance of the change
  • having the children’s leaders (especially Junior Leaders) come into the youth groups for a few weeks to help them settle
  • joint leadership meetings between the volunteer teams to pass on pastoral awareness
  • formally offering transport to help any young people who are suddenly expected to get themselves to and from church
  • buddy system for young leaders from the youth team to support more vulnerable children.
  • opportunity for mentoring
  • one or two youth leaders attend special children’s activities such as children’s weekend away and the Holiday Club to work with the year 6s

 

Home

Parents by this stage are often more confident but are still nervous of these changes, especially around the area of latch-key kids and mobile phones and social media.

 

Each year we host a parents meeting to explain all the activities and options to them to help them understand what we can offer.

 

Sticky Faith

Sticky Faith logo

  • Intergenerational Insight #1: Involvement in all-church worship during high school is more consistently linked with mature faith in both high school and college than any other form of church participation.
  • Intergenerational Insight #2: The more students serve and build relationships with younger children, the more likely it is that their faith will stick.
  • Intergenerational Insight #3: High school seniors don’t feel supported by adults in their congregations.
  • Intergenerational Insight #4: By far, the number-one way that churches made the teens in our survey feel welcomed and valued was when adults in the congregation showed interest in them.

 

 

University / Apprenticeship / Work

University Drop Off

Finishing sixth form or college has gradually becoming another transition into the next stage of education rather than a time of adult-like living.  Certainly, there are adult characteristics in every university-age person, but we can also make the mistake of viewing them as more stable than maybe they really are.  University or Apprenticeship years have become a late adolescent stage of exploration versus a time of consistent maturity.

 

This is a range of what we’ve done over the last few years

  • Preparation for applying to uni/work
  • Summer term dedicated to Psalms and topics relevant to Yr 13s
  • Mentoring relationships adjusted and cemented
  • BBQ – including adults sharing their positive and negative experiences of the next stage
  • Goody bag and prayerful goodbye from church as missionaries
  • Postcards, chocolate and dominoes throughout the term
  • Where possible university visits

apprenticeships

Do NOT forget those who take other paths.

Assembly: Pentecost

This morning I did an assembly at our local SEN arts college on the theme of Pentecost and ideas:

 

Where do good ideas come from?

 

Willis Carrier, the inventor of air conditioning, claims to have thought of the concept as he waited for a train on a foggy night in 1902. It suddenly came to him that there was a relationship between temperature, humidity and the dewpoint (the point at which moist air becomes saturated and forms dew). Out of this moment of inspiration he developed the air conditioner.

 

Archimedes, the Greek mathematician and inventor, is said to have discovered his famous principle of buoyancy while having a bath. In a moment of inspiration he realized that there was a correlation between his body in the bath and the water that surrounded it.

 

JK Rowling couldn’t tell you where her ideas for Harry Potter came from. She has no idea how her imagination worked so successfully to create such a popular series of novels.

 

Ideas pop up at the most unusual times, often when they are least expected and from a source that’s impossible to identify. Some people talk of the power of the imagination, others of inspiration, literally ‘breathing in’ ideas.

 

Psychologists refer to the banks of memories we all acquire and the way these gradually interlock to produce an apparently new piece of understanding.

 

However, no one can clearly identify the source of good ideas.

 

This Sunday, Christians celebrate the festival of Pentecost. It’s the time when they remember the coming of the Holy Spirit to the first Christian believers. It was a dramatic event.

 

Read Acts 2:1-4

When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them.

 

Gale force winds were involved, and flickering flames of fire. Most remarkable of all was the fact that as a result ordinary men and women began to do extraordinary things, such as speak in languages they’d never learned, share their money and personal possessions with one another and bring healing to those in the community who were ill.

 

Christians believe that the Holy Spirit is God’s presence inside us, that which distinguishes us from all other animals, our creative spark, if you like.

 

The Bible narrative shows that the Spirit has always been at work, from the creation, through the history of the Israelite nation to the events of the life of Jesus and the early church.

 

In the Bible the Holy Spirit is often portrayed by means of symbols: these include wind, flames, breath and the form of a dove. Usually when the Holy Spirit appears it’s to enable ordinary people to do extraordinary things. That would be part of the answer a Christian believer would give to my original question: Where do good ideas come from?

 

Christians believe that God shows himself to us in three ways: God the Father and Creator, Jesus who is God in human form and, finally, the Holy Spirit, the power of God active in the life of every human being.

 

What came as a shock to the early Church was the fact that the Holy Spirit was so utterly unpredictable: a deafening noise, a fire that didn’t burn and a compulsion to speak out loud in words that they’d never been taught. They were overwhelmed by the experience. It defied all their expectations. It didn’t conform to anything they’d ever met before. And this experience was the driving force that resulted in the creation of a religious movement that spread throughout the Roman Empire and exists worldwide today.

 

Do you ever get moments of inspiration? Maybe it’s an idea for a story or a piece of artwork. Maybe it’s the solution to a problem that’s been puzzling you for ages. It could be a wild and wacky idea for a project or a vision of what might happen in an ideal world. Both Jews and Christians believe that it’s the presence of the Holy Spirit that makes us human.

 

The Spirit is right there in the Creation story, powering all that comes into being. Jews and Christians believe the Spirit is the driving force that encourages us to explore and learn in every aspect of life: sport, art, science, education, relationships, whatever we’re involved in. The Spirit is the source of our inspiration.

 

Christians believe that God wanted his believers never to be alone again, so he sent the Holy Spirit to live with each of his followers. The followers of Jesus needed to be re-energized; they needed to know that they were not alone in their walk through life. They wanted help, guidance and assurance so that they could cope with whatever life threw at them.

 

Our lives are not guaranteed to be easy. We will all face loss, rejection and sadness at times. However, we are not alone in our journey, whether you believe in a God or a higher being, or simply draw from your own inner strength, you will be able to cope with whatever life throws at you. We are surrounded by family, friends and teachers, and these people are all available to encourage us to persevere and succeed in life. There is no point hiding away in an upper room.

 

Just as the reaction to the Holy Spirit was mixed 2,000 years ago, with people choosing to interpret the events differently, people today can come to their own conclusions as to what really happened and how it could affect us now. What source of inspiration do you have to help you through your life?

 

The Spirit is in you and is in me because we’re part of the human race. This is what the Bible means when it says that God created us in his image. Some Christians believe that it’s because of the presence of God in each of us that we’re alive at all. (The Bible uses the same word for Spirit and for breath.)

 

When we take leaps of imagination, and show new levels of creativity or invention, it’s as if we’re acting a little like God. All of us.

 

But the Pentecost festival is about Christians believing that even more is possible. Pentecost shows God taking to new levels the creativity, imagination and action of those who believe in Jesus Christ.

 

Time for reflection

The word ‘inspiration’ means ‘to breathe in’. That’s why the image of the Holy Spirit as the breath of God is so helpful. In times when we need a little extra, it’s as easy as breathing in.

 

Maybe sometimes our prayers need fewer words and more being silent and allowing God’s breath to breathe into us.

 

Prayer

Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of your creative Holy Spirit to each of us. When we are searching for inspiration in any aspect of our life, may we take a deep breath and turn to you. Amen.

New research on teen online safety

The PSHE Association has launched a new report in partnership with the National Crime Agency’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) outlining 11 key principles of effective practice in prevention work with young people.

The report reveals that effective interventions are more likely to engage with parents and the wider community, consulting them in the design of the programme, and ensuring that positive messages taught at school are reinforced at home. Other findings include the importance of using interactive and skills-based teaching strategies, and effective monitoring and evaluation.

Experts in the field have urged education professionals to take an evidence-based approach, arguing that principles of effective practice are transferrable across areas of prevention education, from online safety and sex and relationships education to programmes developing essential social and emotional skills. We hope this document will support teachers and other education professionals to deliver evidence-based online safety education within the context of a broader PSHE programme.

Jonathan Baggaley, Head of Education at the NCA’s CEOP Command, said:

“This valuable report sets out clear, evidence-based principles for all those who develop and deliver online safety education programmes, distilled from years of relevant experience. It shows that helping children practice skills as well as gaining knowledge, delivering a structured curriculum over time, training and developing staff and engaging with parents and communities make a real difference in preventing harm to children.

Today’s children are growing up online, and make little distinction between life online and off. Their use of online games, apps and services plays a crucial role in the development of their identities, friendships, relationships, passions and aspirations. It is essential that we respond by offering them high-quality online safety education based on the best available evidence. We hope this report will help educators to do just that.”

Download the joint report between the PSHE Association and CEOP.

Drinkaware for Education resources

Drinkaware alcohol education resources have recently received the PSHE Association Quality Mark for best practice PSHE teaching resources.

Drinkaware for Education offers free, curriculum-linked alcohol education resources for students aged 9 to 14. Incorporating discussion-based activities, role plays and scenarios drawn from everyday situations, the resources make it easy to equip students with the information they need to stay safe from alcohol harm.

Using videos, lesson plans and a range of activities, Drinkaware for Education addresses emotional health and peer pressure, as well as the harms and risks commonly associated with alcohol.

Developed in conjunction with teachers and educational experts, the resources are flexible and can be adapted to suit teachers’ needs. Teachers can mix and match which activities to use and when to teach them, and they can be taught in any order.

Young people are encouraged to work in teams, as well as take part in whole group activities which develop essential skills such as risk-awareness, managing peer pressure and communication, through sessions covering:

  • The law on alcohol
  • Health and social harms associated with drinking alcohol underage
  • The effect alcohol can have on emotional health and wellbeing
  • The relationship between peer pressure and underage drinking

Visit the Drinkaware for Education website to register for these free resources

TrueTube resources on Female Genital Mutilation

Courtesy of Forward, a charity which campaigns to protect the rights of women, TrueTube have two versions of a film to help raise your students’ awareness of Female Genital Mutilation. For younger children they have My Body, My Rules, and for an older audience there is Needlecraft. Both films describe what FGM is and why it is wrong

Marvel launches contest encouraging teen girls to pursue science & technology

Move over, male superheroes. A new contest initiative from Marvel Entertainment encourages high school girls to develop science and tech projects that they believe can change the world.

Emily VanCamp and Elizabeth Olsen just introduced the Captain America: Civil Warchallenge, an opportunity for girls between the ages of 15-18 to explore science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) projects that “have the potential of creating positive change in the world.”

Teen Girl Marvel STEM 1.png

Five finalists will win tickets to the red carpet premiere of Captain America: Civil War, while the grand prize winner will walk away with an internship at Marvel Studios.

Marvel launched the contest along with the National Academy of SciencesDolby LaboratoriesBroadcom and Synchrony Bank.

In the video, Olsen notes that even though Marvel’s heroes are divided in Civil War, “they remain united by the same goals: the commitment to safeguard humanity, protect the Earth at all costs, and make the world a better place for future generations.”

Through the Civil War Challenge, Marvel encourages young girls to do just that.