‘It changed my life when I found out what I was good at.
Now I’m learning to put the past behind me.’ – yr 9 pupil – ‘Who Am I?’ REAL lesson.
What is REAL?
REAL stands for Relationships, Esteem, Aspiration and Lifestyle. REAL lessons provide space for young people to explore real-life issues that concern them; for example ‘body image and the media’, ‘what makes me unique’, or the ‘consequences of sexting’.
How does a REAL workshop work?
REAL workshops are not sit-down lessons. They employ a variety of activities in order to present each topic in the most appropriate way and are designed to appeal to a variety of different learning styles. A workshop may include dramatic presentation, workshop exercises, video encounter, games and activities. REAL workshops encourage young people to explore freely and provide a stimulating basis for subsequent class discussion.
What is different about REAL?
REAL lessons don’t tell young people what they should think, nor do they provide fixed answers to any of the questions they raise. Instead, they offer space to hear, watch, think and explore. They bring a variety of facts and opinions from a number of different sources. REAL lessons allow young people to form their own opinions and draw their own conclusions.
Why is REAL important?
While today’s 24/7 media culture offers young people access to a vast amount of information, there are very few opportunities for them to filter and process. As a result, many young people are left feeling confused and overwhelmed. REAL workshops provide the space they need to explore the issues that concern them and help them make sense of their world.
‘The boys shared the pressure they felt to joke about sex. And they challenged the girls about the way they discussed boys critically and made them feel inadequate. It was an honest discussion, and hopefully, fruitful for everyone involved. But importantly, it made me realise how precious these spaces are, where discussion and questions encourage openness and honesty, and may lead to more positive relationships in future.’ Hayley, Soulscape workshop leader remembers a REAL lesson moment.
‘I would definitely be more cautious now about what I put on social media.’ – yr 8 pupil, – ‘sexting decisions’ workshop.