Relationships and Sex Education

Apause Peer Training

First pioneered by Dr Marion Howard of Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, young people were consulted throughout the original development and subsequent adaptation of the peer scripts. These continue to be regularly adjusted and updated using feedback from peer educators and learner evaluations.
Health professionals can have valuable roles in peer training, either assisting a teacher running the training or leading the training themselves. See Health Professionals roles in Apause for a discussion.

The current Apause Peer Manual (often referred to as 'peer script') is a highly refined codification of the classroom action peers are responsible for facilitating. The training is carefully structured using video clips of other peer educators demonstrating a range of classroom strategies. By cross referencing the clips with specific sections of the scripts, trainee peers educators quickly understand and are able to rehearse the necessary skills.

Nearly all schools will use an Apause peer trainer to run the training day in the first year when it can also be a "Train the Trainer(s) day if the school are taking on the peer training in the future.. Using the ‘Detailed guide to peer training’ on this website schools are encouraged to run their subsequent training in-house,

1. Peer-educators are trained both in the programme theory and their classroom practice

Before they are introduced to the detailed content of the sessions they will be facilitating, peers participate in exercises designed to establish consensus as to why a peer-programme is important in the lives of the younger students. Schools often choose to run their own peer training using a comprehensive set of training resources and ICT support. These first two exercises use the five Os format of the teacher led Apause two curriculum

2. Establishing the value of peer education and introducing our 'scripted' method of delivery

Linking programme theory to classroom practice - using ‘scripts’ for guidance. The four peer sessions are highly interactive and participatory for the younger learners. So peer educator training is about interpreting the sessions as ‘codified’ in the Peer Manual or 'script', and translating them into the ‘performance’ of an enjoyable learning experience.

3. Our innovative system of training peer-educators uses a presentation with embedded video clips

The trainer explains that the process of learning how to use the scripts follows a routine called ‘CODES’. The PowerPoint is organised around CODES and guides both the trainer and peer educators in interpreting the scripts using models of other peer educators delivering the sessions.

4. Clips are used to stimulate observational skills and discussion

Each clip contains a great deal of important information about the skills necessary in successful delivery. Questions contained in the PowerPoint ensure everyone is aware of the skills being demonstrated. Whenever possible, peer educators are given the opportunity to rehearse the skills. The CODES training CD is given to the peers to encourage revision and further rehearsal before going into class.

One day peer-educator training - six components

Training Activity 1 - "Lifetime Firsts"
Peers are given sets of cards which denote Lifetime Firsts in a sexual career. They need to decide how they would advise year 9 students about the ‘ideal’ place in a life journey that event should happen for the first time. Consensus is established that is desirable to plan and have control in relationships. This is a message they are happy to share.

Training Activity 2 - "Early Sex Quiz"
Seven important statements surrounding early sexual intercourse are presented as a questionnaires. Through voting and discussion, the peers build up an understanding of the risk factors associated with becoming sexually involved in the early teens. They agree that this knowledge will inform their class discussions.

Session 1 training - "Risk appreciation"

Peers are introduced to the ICT supported system of training and as a whole group rehearse the skills of reading aloud to an audience. Video clips demonstrate how to introduce and facilitate small group work and class discussion, then they prepare and perform short presentations in which the normative expectations surrounding early intercourse are discussed and challenged. The year 9 class agree there are more reasons to wait.

Session 2 training - "Pressure on Relationships"
The second peer script is divided in sections and each group of peers prepares and performs their own excerpt in front of their colleagues. Themes: various sources of pressure to become sexually involved, what makes for a good relationship, sexual stopping points, and strategies for dealing with unwanted pressure.

Session 3 training - "The Power to be Me"
Three assertiveness techniques are introduced and modelled using video clips of previous peer educators in action. Following explicit guidelines the peers themselves practise the techniques and demonstrate them in front of their colleagues. By scoring each other and giving feedback, a high level of competence is achieved and they feel ready to deliver.

Session 4 training - "The Final Session"
A quiz game revising the key features of effective assertiveness is modelled using clips. Main techniques are identified and practised. The trainer guides the learners through the final activity of analysing scripted pressure scenarios and coming up with suitable solutions. They decide how best to facilitate the exercise in a classroom situation.

Peer accreditation

In the school Co-ordinator pack we include a scheme for accreditation of peers who undertake the one day training and/or deliver the programme to younger students in class Also available is a more formal assessment of their presentation skills using a structured assessment carried out by the observing teacher in the classroom.  Peers are rewarded and their new skills recognised with a certificate. 

Peer Training Resources

There are many additional materials in the school Co-ordinator pack including: 

Guidelines for peer recruitment and an information leaflet for prospective peers, a model parent information letter, a model timetable for the day, a detailed training manual and guides for each training activity, all materials for the training day not already included in the class pack for the peer sessions, an evaluation form for trainees, information about peer accreditation, a detailed scheme for evaluating peer performance in the class and a model certificate 

Details of four peer sessions

Detailed guide to the peer training

The four peer sessions - find out what happens in each of the peer sessions

Index of peer session video clips - see all available video clips relating to the peer sessions

Training timetable - an interactive example timetable for a one-day peer training