The Divas Group - Peer Pressure and Radio Dramas

Last Friday, May 9th marked the first class of a three week unit on social and emotional health lead by our new intern Erika Hughes, from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). Last week's class was about peer pressure, social expectation and ways to combat and deflect peer pressure.

Erika started the class with warms-ups that stimulated conversation, and sought out any assumptions or beliefs the girls had on peer pressure. First, they defined the terminology; what is a peer and what forms can peer pressure take? Next they discussed and learned that peer pressure is often negative, but it can also have some positive aspects as well. The discussion concluded on the note that it is important to surround yourself with people with like minded views and beliefs, so that they can support your decisions and encourage you to pursue your goals and aspirations.

After the discussion, Erika started the "Skills to Combat Peer Pressure" activity, where she handed the girls a set of cards that gave options of what to do if they are stuck in a situation and are not to sure what to do. 

1. Refuse. 
- Say things like, "Nope," "No way" or "No thanks."
- Give reasons, (eg., "if I get caught, I could lose my place on the team" or My parents would ground me for the rest of my life")
- Use humour (e.g., "No way, I value my brain cells"). 
- Be careful not to use statements such as "not right now, " because this might give the impression you would be open to it in the future.

2. Avoid the situation.
- Walk away. 
- Think ahead. If you see a situation arising where you might be pressured, avoid the situation. 

3. Be in Control. 
- Know the reasons that you don't want to use alcohol, tobacco or other drugs, or to gamble. 
- Know that not everyone is doing it, and that it's OK for you not to do it. 
- Manage your feelings so that you feel confident and in control. 
- Choose to surround yourself with positive friends who respect your choices. 

4. Suggest and alternative. 
- Think of something else you can do, either with a friend or as a group. 
- Plan to spend time with friends in places where you know alcohol, tobacco and other drugs are not allowed.

Once the girls had a strong understanding of the ways in which to deal with peer pressure, the group examined different kinds of scenarios in which to apply the skills that they learned. Erika presented a script that she wrote where each girl was able to read out a different character's lines and then they had to decided the ending together. Was the lead role going to succumb to peer pressure or rise above? The girls enjoyed this very much as they were able to be active and dramatic. 

The final activity for the day was presenting the girls with a brief description of a scenario in which they needed to write their own dramatic scripts using the four skills they learned. After editing and rehersal, these scripts will be broadcasted as radio dramas on Regent Park Radio. 

Stay tuned for more from the Divas Group!

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