A lecture can be an effective way to increase students' knowledge, but there are other methods that are more effective in influencing beliefs and building skills. Active, informal, personalised and participatory learning methods that are culturally appropriate are the most effective in changing health-related behaviour. Try to use teaching methods that are activities-based and encourage students to participate more actively. Methods which actively engage students in their own learning are more likely to change what they know and what they do.
• Role-plays and rehearsal of life skills including refusal skills, negotiation and conflict resolution
Visual and performing art projects can also instil principles of non-violence. Artistic activities that allow students to explore alternatives to violence and spread messages of peace include: music and songs emphasising tolerance of differences; and drawing, painting, collages, puppetry and theatre that explore violence-related issues.
Emphasise collaboration — encourage students to achieve academic success by working together in teams and being accountable to one another. For example, assign teams of students to study, work on projects and learn together. Students in some cultures will be accustomed to cooperating in most aspects of life. For other students, however, competition may be more the norm than cooperation. Collaborative learning will help such students experience the benefits of cooperation in their lives. Collaboration and team projects can also be good methods to use when training teachers and staff, and adults and community members outside of the school.
Finally, it is important to utilise teaching methods and curricula that are culturally sensitive and free from gender bias. Specifically, be sensitive to gender and cultural differences in your examples and assumptions. Ask: can students from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds learn from the curriculum? Similarly, can both boys and girls learn from it? Do materials and lessons avoid the use or promotion of gender-based stereotypes and biased language?
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