FYI Reaching Students Through Videos
With Ohio students not returning to the classroom this year, FYI wanted to find a way to continue reaching students with its Real Life ... Teen Choices program. Video was the answer and FYI started producing instructional videos for online use.
“A lot of things we talk about are fitting in with them being at home, having much more time on their hands,” said Real Life … Teen Choices Director Rebecca Swearingen. “And especially about relationships; it could be very easy to get into an unhealthy relationship or friendship online right now. Also, with how isolated people are, it’s even more important to have these conversations and mental health check-ins.”
Training on avoiding at-risk behaviors and good decision-making could prevent a mistake that could have a devastating impact on a vulnerable student.
“My hope is that we can continue to provide our program to students,” Swearingen said. “This may be the only time we will get the chance to teach them these critical skills. We don’t want them to miss out on what I feel is a very, very important message.”
The instructional videos are an adaptation of the original program. Instead of having face-to-face conversations with students, the material is focusing on answering the most common questions the instructors get in the classrooms. Another challenge was taking the five information-rich sessions that are normally in the one-week Real Life ... Teen Choices curriculum and condensing them into 20-minute segments.
A critical goal of FYI’s continuous research is discovering and staying on top of the destructive trends that are out there.
When originally contacting schools about using the videos in their Google Classroom format, many teachers wanted to hold off until they found out if they would be back in school on May 1. That’s not an issue now, so it is full speed ahead.
“Honestly, that speaks volumes to me,” she said. “If they knew they only had a month left with their kids and they would still give us a week of that time, that is a big deal. It honored me that they valued our program and presence enough to hope we can still do it live.”
To continue to stay connected to students and families, The Real Life … Teen Choices team is also creating short videos by educator Jennifer Kennedy, released every weekday on the Real Life … Teen Choices Facebook Group and emailed to the schools.
To join the group Facebook page, visit here to put in your request: https://www.facebook.com/groups/fyireallifeteenchoices