Teenage Mothers & Young Fathers
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Peer Education is a way of getting difficult messages through to young people, often used for sensitive subjects surrounding health and well-being. It opens up an alternative communication channel through which young people can learn. A ‘peer’ is distinct from a teacher in that they are of equal standing to the pupil, as such they do not represent someone in authority who they feel may judge them.
Drawing on the strengths associated with peer groups, this is an extremely popular approach with the pupils themselves. Feedback has revealed that young people are often more comfortable to open up and ask questions to peer educators about sensitive personal issues than they would be in other learning environments.
“I think when it’s young people to young people, you learn a lot more and you’re a lot more open because there isn’t such wide age gap. So I think peer to peer would be fantastic.” representative from Brook Young Persons Participation Group 2014
High quality training of peer educators, a well-developed programme and strong partnership work with other services within health and education is mandatory for the success and consistency of such a programme. These are all Straight Talking commitments.
‘The peer educator approach is central to the model. Teachers could deliver the messages, however the authenticity of the peer educators provides a stand-out feature which alongside the quality interactive content, creates memorable and impactful sessions for the students.’ Independent evaluation by Deloitte 2016
Further reading on peer education:
Damon, William, "Peer education: The untapped potential" Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology 5.4 (1984): 331-343.
Topping, Keith, "Reaching where adults cannot: Peer education and peer counseling" Educational Psychology in Practice 11.4 (1996): 23-29.
Walker, Sali Ann and Avis, Melanie, "Common reasons why peer education fails" Journal of Adolescence 22.4 (1999): 573- 577.
Having someone talking from ‘experience’ is much more real for the kids... when the peer educators talk they listen, it's not the same for teachers.