Program Goals/Target Population
The 4th R is an interactive classroom curriculum that aims to reduce youth dating violence by addressing youth violence and bullying, unsafe sexual behavior, and substance use. The program is given to 9th grade high school students in a classroom setting.
The curriculum consists of 21 lessons integrated into existing health and physical education curriculum requirements and is administered in sex-segregated classrooms. It does not require additional class time, scheduling, or human resources. The 21 lessons are composed of three units of seven 75-minute classes. The three units focus on the following topics:
· Unit 1: Personal safety and injury prevention
· Unit 2: Healthy growth and sexuality
· Unit 3: Substance use and abuse
Lessons and activities include teaching youth negotiation, delay, and refusal skills; helping youth define and rehearse responsibilities associated with healthy relationships; and role-playing instructions designed to increase interpersonal and problem-solving skills. Teachers use examples of dating and peer conflicts commonly faced by youth. Detailed lesson plans, video resources, role-playing exercises, rubrics, and handouts are provided for all lessons.
Teachers with specialization in health and physical education deliver the curriculum. Teachers receive a 6-hour training workshop on teen dating violence and healthy relationships as part of the program.
The program aims to achieve its goals by emphasizing core relationship issues and pressures in early adolescence and by teaching skills to promote safer decision-making with peers and dating partners. The program targets health promotion through capitalizing on youths' interest in learning about lifestyle issues. It also takes a gender-specific approach to dating violence by emphasizing gender-specific patterns and factors and matching activities accordingly; therefore, the curriculum content is slightly different for boys and girls.