Family Life Education

Topics: Teaching

Part I: What is family life education? Include in your answer a discussion of the following concepts: a. A definition of family. b. The purpose of family life education.

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c. Its intended benefits, its intended audience(s). d. The appropriate content or units within a family life education curriculum (including the contexts for family life education). e. Appropriate levels of educator/participant involvement. f. And ethical considerations. A Definition of Family: There are several different definitions of what family life education (FLE) is, dating back to 1962.

Many may say the definitions that have been given are too broad and too vague, therefore, family life educators have moved beyond trying to develop a concise definition and have decided to discuss the aims and concepts that comprise family life education (Family Life Education, p. 4). After extensive research, Thomas and Arcus concluded that family life education deals with families and individuals across the life span, it is based on the needs of families and individuals on an individual basis, it is a multidisciplinary study in a multi—professional practice, and is offered in many different settings.

It is also takes an educational approach rather than a therapeutic approach and presents and respects the differences in family values. Lastly, it requires family life educators to be qualified and cognizant of the goals of family life education (Family Life Education, p. 6) The purpose of family life education: In order for a family life educator to successfully develop the appropriate goals and objectives for his/her group, he/she must understand the purpose of family life education.

He/she must know what it is they expect to accomplish and why (Family Life Education, p. 43). The purpose of FLE is to strengthen and enrich an individual’s and a family’s wellbeing (Thomas and Arcus 1992). Family life education programs are intended to be preventative measure, which equips individuals with the necessary resources needed to fulfill their family roles rather than repairing dysfunction within families. Some of the major objectives of family life education include, but are not limited to: 1. gaining insight into one’s self and others; . acquiring knowledge about human development and behavior in the family setting over the life course; 3. understanding marital and family patterns and processes; 4. acquiring interpersonal skills for present and future family roles; and 5. Building strengths in individuals and families (Arcus and Thomas 1993). One may assume that if these as well as other objectives are met through family life education, then individuals and families will be better equipped able to handle or prevent problems when they arise.

They will also be empowered to live their family lives in ways that are both personally satisfying and socially responsible (family. jrank. org). Intended benefits and audience(s): The intended benefits of family life education are to ensure individuals are educated in their roles and expectations within their family and teach them how to approach and resolve situations that may arise without negative results. The intended audiences for these programs include individuals from all aspect, which include, but are not limited to, age, race, gender, culture, ethnicity, marital status, and economic class.

The appropriate content or units within a family life education curriculum: In order for a family life educator to successfully develop and implement programs, he/she must develop and understand his/her philosophy about life. This knowledge and understanding will better equip them to assist others in developing skills needed to live more productive and satisfying lives. When developing curriculum for groups/programs the family life educator must consider how the members function as individuals and as a group.

They must consider how ones thoughts/actions will affect others in the group. Understanding how families function as a group helps the educator include all family members in the learning process, making sure everyone has a clear understanding of the purpose of the content. All materials/resources should be based on current research. The family life educator must also take into consideration the individuals attending the programs and make sure content is age appropriate. The content should not ean towards one gender more than the other, positively or negatively and should include information pertinent to different races, ethnic groups, and cultural groups. They should be able to recognize the differences in each individual and family as a whole without regard to their age, sex, race, ethnicity, cultural, and socioeconomic background. The family life educator must also take into consideration the topics they want to include in the sessions and whether they are appropriate or inappropriate for the setting.

They must be able to recognize when inappropriate topics are being discussed and be able to divert the conversation and/or refer them to the appropriate professional that is trained to handle the situation. The example used in the book is sexual or physical abuse. These types of situations may need to be referred to a counselor or to law enforcement, depending on the nature of the situation. They must also make sure that the content discussed is not bias or stereotypical and be familiar with their sources of information, making sure all of their information is up to date/accurate.

They should be able to make referrals to the appropriate professionals and research topics when needed (Family Life Education, p. 43) Appropriate levels of educator/participant involvement: As a professional, the educator must be able to recognize and accept his/her own, as well as each individual’s abilities and limitations, which are referred to as the levels of involvement between the educator and the individuals participating in the programs. Educators must cope with some level of personal issues in order to be an effective teacher without moving beyond their level of practice.

There are five levels which are described in the Family Involvement Model. Level 1: Minimal Emphasis on Family—focuses more on the institution or organization implementing the programs rather than on the individuals or families involved in the programs. Level 2: Information and Advice—sharing of relevant information and knowledge. At this stage the educator must have good communication skills, being able to initiate discussions, answer questions, know where information came from, and be able to make recommendations (no personal feelings involved).

Level 3: Feelings and Support—at this stage the educator must be comfortable with himself and able to communicate personal responses to the group (includes personal experiences). Level 4: Brief Focused Intervention—includes all aspects of levels 1—3 but includes having to assess situations and developing a plan of action. The text book states that although level 3 is typically the most appropriate level of interaction for educators, they also need to be familiar with this level in order to determine when involvement is or is not appropriate.

Educators at this level often work with families who have special needs that may not be able to be adequately addressed in level 3. Level 5: Family Therapy—this level is far beyond the scope of a family life educator but is included in the model as a continuum. Family life educators are not trained to handle these types of situations. Family therapy involves a more in dept discussion of personal and serious issues. Ethical Considerations: All organizations have ethical guidelines that they abide by. Codes of ethics are developed to prevent harm to those participating in programs as well as the educators.

There are five principles mentioned that have been based on the teachings of Hippocrates (Brock, 1993, Family Life Education, p. 50). There are: 1. Practice with competence 2. Do not exploit 3. Treat people with respect 4. Protect confidentiality 5. Do not harm When determining whether or not the code of ethics has been violated, the educator must: 1. Identify important relationships 2. Apply the principles 3. Indentify contradictions 4. Apply virtues 5. Consider possible actions 6. Select the appropriate actions.

Taking ethical principles into consideration and implementing the process into their programs can help provide family life educators with guidelines to make the right decisions for themselves and the individuals and families who participate in their programs. Part II: What makes for a successful family life education program? Include in your answer a discussion of the following concepts: a. The characteristics of the family life educator, b. Using theory to develop the program, c. The format of the presentation, the needs of the audience, group processes (be sure to include a discussion of how to handle problems), d.

Evaluation of programs, and e. Adapting programs for various settings (work, school, religious settings). The Characteristics of the Family Life Educator: Family life educators deal with personal issues, for example, personal values, decision making techniques, communication skills, growth, development, and behavior changes, sexuality, parenting, money management, and so forth. One of their main jobs is to help members of the group analyze, clarify, and determine their own values and value system, therefore, a family life educator must possess skills that allow them to be aware of his/her own attitude and biases as well as those of others.

They have to be comfortable discussing others feelings and open to other’s points of view. Next they need to have personal skills and qualities. These skills include intellectual skills, self awareness, emotional stability, maturity, awareness of his/her own personal attitude and cultural values, empathy, effective social skills, confidence in one’s self, flexibility, understanding and appreciation of diversity, verbal and written communication skills, and the ability to relate with others in various age groups, whether it be on an individual basis or in a group setting (Family Life Education, p. 9). They must also develop a personal philosophy. They must consider what they believe and why. They have to ask themselves questions, like, “What is a family? ” and “Why do we need family life education? ” Using Theory to develop the Program: Individuals are unique. If you put three people together and expose them to the same situation, you will have three different responses to the situation. In order to understand how an individual or a family evolves over time, it is important that the educator be familiar with several different major theoretical models that are related to families.

There are four theories mentioned in the text. There are Family Systems Theory, Human Ecology Theory, Exchange Theory, and Family Developmental Theory. The Family Systems Theory refers to families as a living organism operating within certain boundaries, rules, expectations, and interaction patterns between the members (Family Life Education, p. 60). In other words, they live and react to situations based on what they have been taught. For example, if a child is raised to hate a certain race, when he/she gets older, those “taught” beliefs will be evident in his/her behavior and attitude towards that race.

He/she is likely to teach his/her children to treat that particular race the same way. In this system, whenever there is a change occurs, it does not affect just one person, it affects the group as a whole. The group must then decide whether or not they want to embrace or reject the change. For the most part, the Family Systems Theory function is healthy for families. It provides them with structure. It reinforces and influences positive growth and development of the individuals in the group as well as the family as a group.

The Human Ecology theory is based on emphasizing external systems that affect individuals. They include their culture, time, place, gender, and lifestyle. Individuals within families are constantly interacting within their environments. There environments include where they live, social class, job title, health, and family support. When attempting to develop a program the educator must consider this theory. They have to consider factors that may keep the family from attending the meetings. Questions that need to be asked include: 1.

Do they have adequate transportation to get to/from meetings? 2. Are all members able to attend? (health, incarceration, etc. ) 3. Are the members cognitively able to participate in the meetings? 4. Are all members willing to attend the meetings for the well—being of the group? The Exchange Theory is based on internal factors that influence an individual, their ability to make decisions and their behavior. The example the book gives is whether or not a relationship between two people will last or not.

If willing, individuals area capable of learning new behaviors that will change their way of interacting with others and their way of thinking, but it takes cooperation and the willingness to change from everyone involved, resulting in positive growth within the family. The Family Developmental Theory states that a family grows and changes over time. This growth and change came be from a couple having children, adoption of children, a child marrying, etc. With this theory an educator can facilitate programs based on the different stages a family goes through.

For example, newlywed counseling, parenting classes, etc. Implementing classes based on needs usually results in better outcomes and long—term results. Although they are developing these classes for a group, as a family, they must take into consideration that everyone in the group does not possess the dame family developmental pattern. Educators that develop programs based off theory must still develop principles and models for their programs. In order to successfully implement the correct program they must incorporate the following principle: 1.

Conduct a needs assessment—determining the specific needs of each individual attending the program. 2. Safety in the environment and the process—establishing rules so that everyone participating is comfortable participating in the program. 3. Sound relationship between the educator and the learner—building trusting relationships so the group members will accept and trust the educator. 4. Careful attention to sequence of content and reinforcement—knowing the limits of your group members to comprehend information making sure not to overwhelm them with information. 5. Focus and praxis—acting on behalf of the members. . Respect for members as subjects of their own learning—taking their life experiences and contributions into consideration. Giving them a sense of worth. 7. Cognition, affective, and psychomotor aspects of learning—incorporating ideas, feelings, and actions into the learning experience. 8. Immediacy of learning—immediately applying what’s been learned. 9. Clear roles and role development—knowing and understanding who the teacher is and who the student is and maintaining those roles while keeping open lines of communication. 10. Teamwork—implementing small groups to complete tasks or projects. 11.

Engagement of the learners in what they are learning—encouraging active participation from group members. This way the educator is aware of the progress, knowledge, and comprehension of information given by members. 12. Accountability—validating accomplishments by assessing and role play. The format of the presentation, the needs of the audience, group processes: When an educator develops/formats a program, the educator must consider the following: 1. The subject of the group. 2. How much time will be needed to conduct the group? 3. Who will be the members of the group? 4. What content should be included? . What is your goal for the learners of the group? 6. What materials do you need to conduct the group? 7. How will you teach the material in order to ensure comprehension from all members? 8. How will you get feedback/assessments/evaluations? 9. What type of follow—up will you do after the end of the program? The needs of the audience should be another consideration. This will allow the educator to determine what should be the programs priorities and to understand the concerns of the learners, to be able to provide them the resources needed, which will ultimately result in more effective programs.

There are three types of needs mentioned in the Family Life Education text. They are felt needs, ascribed needs, and future needs. They all play an intricate role in determining the design of the program and are all assessed differently. The educator must be able to recognize and identify the developmental needs and abilities of the individual audience members and the way they process information. Without this ability, an educator implementing a program that contains good material will still fail to provide the members with information that is useful or even relevant to their specific needs.

Felt needs are the needs that the members tell you about. They are personal and based on their experiences as individuals and as a group. When members express their felt needs, it helps the educator get a better understanding of the individuals, what their specific needs and wants are, and it helps them to build personal relationships with them. Ascribed needs are needs that are identified by someone other than the individual group member him/herself. Future needs are needs that are expected when change takes place. The book gives the example of when a child is expecting a new sibling.

How will their needs change as a result of the new baby? As a family Life Educator, you will be faced with many different types of groups, and an educator must possess the ability to lead in order to successfully facilitate a group. There are several basic types of groups mentioned. They are Treatment groups, Support groups, Educational groups, Task groups, Residential groups, and Internet groups. Regardless of the type of group, the educator is expected to provide members with activities and experiences that will help members develop their own skills to more effective levels.

There also are expected to maintain a balance between presentation of information and the personalizing of the information through group discussions. They should also be able to cope with interpersonal problems that may arise within the groups during discussions. They need to have an understanding of life—cycle development, and have a good understanding of the development theory. In order to successfully facilitate a group, there is a four stage process that needs to be followed. The first stage is forming the group. Next is storming, followed by Norming, and lastly, Performing. Evaluation of Programs:

There are three types of evaluations, assessing needs and assets, formative evaluation, and summative evaluation. An evaluation is used to determine the value, quality, or effectiveness of a program and is usually motivated by the needs of the program. According to the text, Littell (1986) considers program evaluation to be “the systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of information designed for use in program planning and decision—making, which is concerned with the types of interventions used, by whom, toward what ends, under what conditions, for whom, at what costs and with what benefits” (Family Life Education, p. 37). Weiss and Jacobs (1988) define evaluations as “the systematic collection and analysis of program—related data that can be used to understand how a program delivers services and/or what the consequences of its services are for participants. An analysis is both descriptive and judgmental of program merit, with the emphasis on designing and evaluation that fits the program” (Family Life Education, p. 138). The result of an evaluation is to be used as a recommendation has to how to make the programs better and more beneficial to the members participating.

There are challenges that go along with conducting evaluations. Some educators may think that if an evaluation produces negative results then it will affect resources and funding for future programs. They may also think that the evaluations will divert attention from the purpose of the program and outcomes will not be successful. Although challenges are present, evaluations are necessary for the programs to be successful. Evaluations provide feedback and give insight from members of the groups what is or is not working and what they think would help the programs be more successful.

They are also a means of communicating to individuals or companies that fund your programs the successes of the program and how it is benefiting the members. Adapting Programs for Various Settings: Adapting programs means strengthening existing programs. Although Family life education programs are most effective when they match cognitive development, literacy levels, cultural backgrounds, and the special needs of participants, ddifferent settings may require the educator to facilitate the group in a differently. The planning process has similar phases regardless of the setting or target population.

First the educator needs to assess the quality and content of the existing program. Determine how long it takes to facilitate the program and if the content is appropriate for that setting. Next he/she needs to assess the quality of the course with regard to content and skill building. Ask questions like, “Has the curriculum been evaluated? ”, “Are the materials skills-based? ”, and “Do they include role playing, negotiation, and assertiveness skills? ” Next assessing the relevance of the curriculum to the participants is necessary.

The educator needs to determine if the materials/curriculum is tailored to meet the specific needs and life experiences of members, if the intensity and duration of the program sufficient for the participants, given their level of risk, and if the existing curriculum meet the developmental needs and reflect the cultural and ethnic background of the participants. Ask if current curricula should be implemented at earlier ages. Can skill building components be added to the already existing family life education program? Can the curriculum be adapted to reflect the cultural background of participants?

Does the teacher training program need to be expanded? Is an altogether new curriculum needed? In what ways can the Community meets the information and education needs of its members and reinforces the intended outcome from attending the groups. Lastly, the educator must assess the extent of educator training. They should ask question like, “Do they receive in-service training? ” and “Has the training been evaluated? ” They must be aware of the qualifications necessary for teaching the course and must be comfortable teaching the course materials.

It would be effective to survey the educators to assess their satisfaction with current training and to determine what, if any, additional training is needed for them to be able to adequately educate the group members. These steps help the educator identify gaps in the current program and develop a plan to address these gaps, ensuring that the goals of the program are attainable and the members will be able to comprehend information given and are able to successfully apply the information to their way of life (www. dvocatesforyouth. org). Family life education encompasses a multitude of images and expectations that call for a combination of skills and expectations of the educator and of the members of the group. The resources and knowledge gained from teaching as well as attending family life education groups, equips individuals with the ability to perform his/her role in his/her family group/setting, and to handle life situations in a manner that is safe and beneficial to all parties involved.

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Family Life Education. (2017, Dec 10). Retrieved from

Family Life Education
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