topic three – substance abuse
teacher's notes - general approach
Everyone is aware of the many young people today whose lives are
dominated by the abuse of alcohol, cigarettes, drugs and/or solvents.
Such habits often lead to a lack of self-respect.
The aim of this topic is to help pupils discover what inner needs
people are seeking to satisfy by smoking, taking drugs or drinking
alcohol, and how such needs might be better met in other ways. For
example, some people's need for a sense of belonging will cause
them to identify strongly with a gang or group, and the collective
behaviour of such a group may well profoundly affect the direction
which such people's lives take. This is a good opportunity for pupils
to consider whether the direction their lives are taking now is
the way they want to continue to go and, if not, to consider changing
This topic will help the class to question whether substance abuse
can answer any needs in the long term. The topic does not deal with
substances in detail, but if you wish to do so, much material is
available from the organisations which deal with addiction.
On worksheet 7 pages 14 and 15 there
is a choice of activities. Resource sheets
1 & 2 on pages 18 and 19 may also be needed.
Discuss and decide with the class which activities will help them
best understand the effects of substance abuse and possible alternatives
to such behaviour. Groups could choose different activities and
then pool their findings.
If you can invite a recovering addict/alcoholic to talk about his/her
experiences to the class, pupils should prepare questions before
the visit. The other activities are explained fully on the worksheet
7 (page 14) Does it really help? Activities
two and three will need the stories on resource
sheets 1 & 2 on pages 18 and 19 My name is John.
I am an alcoholic and An Indian experience
or similar ones of your own.
A smoking quiz on page 16 (worksheet 8)
and the work on peer pressure on page 17 (worksheet
Answers to quiz: 1 yellow 2 cancer 3 nicotine 4 tar 5 oxygen 6
smell 7 taste 8 expensive 9 unborn 10 smoke 11 tobacco 12 cough
When the activities chosen are completed, it is important for the
class to assess what they have learnt, in particular how these things
affect their self-respect. There is a space on the worksheet for
them to write their conclusions.
You might find useful additional or follow-up material in previous
modules, e.g. R1 M3 lesson four on Where do I belong?
or R1 M3 lesson five on Goals and aims. Also R2
M2 lesson 6 Walk Tall may be applicable.