While parents are the leading influence in our students’ decision whether to participate in underage drinking, we as teachers have a vital role to play too. By providing students with the best possible information, we can help them make the right choices for their developing minds and bodies. Encouraging words from a teacher can help students stand up for themselves and be positive leaders for their peers.
1. The focus is on making healthy choices, not using scare tactics.
In the past, lessons about alcohol and drug use often began with frightening statistics or lectures. Ask, Listen, Learn starts with teaching kids to advocate for themselves. The program encourages students to make good decisions, set goals, and prioritize mental health. By focusing on their social and emotional wellness, students are far more likely to say yes to a healthy lifestyle and no to underage drinking. And there’s a lot of evidence that it’s working:
- Since the Ask, Listen, Learn program began in 2003, conversations among parents and kids have increased 31%.
Ninety-three percent of parents have talked to their kids at least once in the past year about alcohol consumption.
- During this same time, the rate of past month consumption among underage youth has decreased 53%.
- And not only are parents doing a great job, but so are kids! In fact, 90% of kids have talked with their parents or another caregiver about the dangers of drinking alcohol.
2. It helps get everyone involved the conversation.
The most meaningful learning takes place when parents, students, and teachers all work together toward a common goal. Ask, Listen, Learn encourages collaboration by providing teachers with plenty of resources to share with parents. From letters home explaining the Ask, Listen, Learn program and mission (available in multiple languages) to resources you can send home to parents about how to start having these types of conversations at home, this program helps teachers involve parents as partners in their children’s education.
3. The lessons are engaging and unique.
Many of our students are used to adults just telling them that they shouldn’t participate in underage drinking. But we all know that what kids really want is to understand why. Through engaging videos, lessons, and activities, students learn exactly what happens to their brains and bodies when they drink. Armed with that information, they are able to make their own informed choices.
4. There’s even a lesson on marijuana, a topic we can’t ignore.
As the rates of teens vaping rise, younger students are watching and taking notice. With this in mind, it’s not too soon to be having discussions about marijuana with our upper-elementary students. Just like underage drinking, marijuana negatively affects young peoples’ developing brains and bodies. Ask, Listen, Learn’s video, lesson plan, and activities break this topic down in an age-appropriate way for students. And just like the resources on underage drinking prevention, this lesson comes with an educator primer and a parent letter.
5. The resources are standards-aligned and evidence-based.
We want to make sure we’re sharing the best possible information with our students. It can be tough to sort through all the resources out there. Ask, Listen, Learn lessons are evidence-based, shaped by expert input from the U.S. Department of Education, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the Centers for Disease Control. Additionally, each lesson is standards-aligned so you can feel confident using them in your classroom. A Standards Alignment sheet is available with every lesson. Each one shows the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the National Health Education Standards (NHES), and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) met by the lesson.