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close this bookSchool Health Education to Prevent AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) : Handbook for Curriculum Planners (UNESCO - WHO, 1994, 88 p.)
close this folderB. Sample materials for introducing the curriculum and for teacher training
View the document(introduction...)
View the document1. Checklist for focus group with students (situation assessment)
View the document2. Sample agenda for parent meeting
View the document3. Sample letter to parents
View the document4. Sample introduction to parent activities
View the document5. Sample instructions to parents
View the document6. Sample questions - student to parent
View the document7. Peer leader training guide
View the document8. Test items for student evaluation (with correct answers)
View the document9. Needs analysis for the teacher training programme
View the document10. Three-day teacher training agenda
View the document11. Teacher satisfaction with training workshop

7. Peer leader training guide

This guide is written for you to follow during your training session. You have been selected to be a peer leader for a health education programme on HIV/AIDS and STD, and asked to help in a variety of class activities. The skills you will learn during this training will help you in many future situations in your life.

Who is a peer leader?

A peer leader is a person who is selected for his/her leadership potential in helping others. A peer leader is trained to help other students learn through demonstrations, listening, role playing, encouraging, giving feedback and supporting healthy decisions and behaviours.

In recognition of the time and energy you devote to the programme, you will receive [state here kind of a reward e.g. a certificate, recognition at parent-teacher meeting, a T-shirt]

Why are peer leaders important?


· Young people are likely to listen to, and imitate, peers that are well-liked and respected

· Peer leaders who give examples of healthy behaviours can influence behaviours of other peers and help them to avoid taking risks

· Peer leaders can support, encourage and help their peers both inside and outside the classroom

· Peer leaders can help the teacher in presenting the lesson, allowing more time for other activities and more individual attention

· Peer leaders can help manage and solve problems when students are working in small groups.

Training programme objectives

As a result of this training programme, you, as a peer leader, will:

· Understand the purpose of the HIV/AIDS/STD education programme, and the importance of the peer leader’s role within it

· Be able to help the teacher and students with some activities

· Be able to help small groups of students work together effectively

· Be a good listener, provide feedback, and be able to understand the feelings of your peers

· Know other sources of information and counselling so that you can refer your peers to appropriate help.

Each of the next sections will provide information and activities to help you achieve the objectives of this peer leader training session.

Purpose of the HIV/AIDS/STD education programme

In this programme you will learn about STD, HIV and AIDS, examine attitudes about delaying sex and using condoms, feelings about people who have HIV/AIDS, and reasons that young people take risks with their health and their lives. You will also learn skills: (1) how to be assertive so that you say “no” to things you do not wish to do, especially to say “no” to sex or “no” to sex without a condom; and (2) to use a condom effectively.1

1 Add information on the programme that peer leaders need to know

Activities where you can help

The following is a small selection of activities with which you can help1. Read them and your teacher will explain to you how you will help in the classroom.2

1 Adapt as needed
2 Attach here a copy of selected activities where peer leaders are used


Activity No.

Name of activity




Are you at risk?

Part 1


Part 2


Part 3




Assertive messages



Responding to persuasion




Condom practice




What could you do?


Helping small groups

Basic group rules

When helping small groups, use the following group rules to encourage discussion and participation:

· No put-downs (negative comments)
· Only one person talks at a time; no interrupting of others
· Everyone has a right to “pass” (to decline to discuss a personal issue)
· Everyone is given an opportunity to talk
· Keep on the topic; no side discussions on other topics; and
· “What you hear stays here” (information is confidential).

Dealing with problem situations in groups

In small groups, not every group member may be willing to complete the activity. You should be prepared to help solve minor communication problems that might arise in small groups, e.g. when a member of the group:

· Dominates the conversation (the dominator)
· Is critical of others; puts other people down, usually to make himself/herself feel superior
· Tells others what to do all the time
· Often interrupts other people
· Does not participate in the group activity
· Chats about things not related to the activity.

Ways of dealing with problems in groups

· If there are disruptions, politely remind the group that there is a problem or task to solve as well as a time limit

· Talk privately to the person causing the problem. Review the basic group rules and how the person’s behaviour is negatively affecting the group. Request his/her support and cooperation for the next time the group meets

· Respond to those who interrupt by saying, “Excuse me. Just a reminder that everyone in the group has the right to speak without being interrupted”

· If the behaviour is so disturbing that it cannot be ignored, deal with it in the group. Criticize what is being said or done (not the person responsible for the disruption or making disruptive statements). Point out how the behaviour blocks the group from functioning well

· At the end of a group session, lead a discussion of how the group is doing. Try to do this in such a way that feelings are not hurt.

Now, in a small group, complete the activity “Dealing with problems in groups”.

Group exercise - Dealing with problems in groups

1. On your own, read each of the situations below

2. Brainstorm in your group a number of solutions to each situation. If you need help, review “Helping small groups”

3. Decide as a group on the best solutions, and write them in the spaces provided

4. Answer the Follow-up questions. Discuss answers in your group.

Follow-up questions

1. Which 2 of the 5 situations would be most difficult to deal with? Why?

2. Do you think you could deal with these 2 situations? Why or why not? If not, what would you work on to deal with them better?

3. Discuss ways of reinforcing or supporting someone who is trying to change problem behaviour in a group working on a task.



Situation 1
The small group has been together for a few days now and it is quite clear that Dominico dominates the others. He talks most of the time and when others say something, he does not pay attention.

Situation 2
Laura had been very quiet during the first group meeting. However, suddenly she becomes very critical of the other group members. She made rude remarks to one person in particular but also objected to opinions expressed by the rest of the group.

Situation 3
Jaloni is a little older than the others in the group because he failed an earlier grade. He tells people in his group what to do and how to do it. No one has objected to what he is doing but you can tell they are not happy about the situation.

Situation 4
Helena often interrupts others in the group. She also puts others down by calling their ideas “stupid”, or “dumb”. The rest of the group is getting angry with her because of her behaviour in the group.

Situation 5
Bonois is not really interested in the class. When he is in his group he acts “bored” and seldom makes any suggestions to the group. At other times he tries to talk to someone in the group about something completely off topic. If others do not join him he becomes loud and disruptive.

Communication skills

Since you will be working with other students, it is important that you ensure that you have good communication skills. You probably already have many of these skills to some extent because you have been selected as a peer leader; however, three skills which most people need to continue to improve are listening actively, giving feedback, and showing empathy (showing you understand how the other person feels or what his/her point of view is).

Listening well

To listen well so that you really hear and understand what another person is saying means that you:

· Focus on the person with direct eye contact (looking into people’s eyes)
· Do not interrupt
· Do not cut in to describe your experience
· Do not give your attention to outside disruptions (other people or events)
· Are comfortable with silence.

After reviewing these points, complete the activity “Communication check”.

Communication check

1. Rate each of the following skills using the key below:

1 = Never; 2 = Sometimes; 3 = Often; 4 = Always


I do not interrupt others in my group


My voice is appropriately pitched (not squeaky, loud or too soft)


I do not dominate the conversation (giving others a chance to speak)


I talk an equal amount compared to others


I look people in the face


I do not criticize (put down) others


When listening, I show my reaction to the speaker (e.g. by nodding)


I express what I feel, not only what I think


I face the speaker and avoid crossing my arms or turning away from him/her


I ask (encourage) others to speak


I respond to the speaker, showing interest


I do not interrupt others to make my point


I pay attention to the speaker the whole time he/she is talking


I ask questions to show interest in what the speaker is saying


I criticize what a speaker says and how he/she says it rather than judging the speaker himself/herself

Total score

2. Add your scores for the items and identify where you stand on the summary score below.

Communication skills: summary score

15-27 points = Poor; 28-39 points = Fair; 40-47 points = Good; 48-60 points = Excellent

Follow-up questions

1. Share some of your communication strengths and weaknesses with a group member

2. Discuss what each of you could do to help work on the weaker communication skills.

3. List your communication strengths:

4. List the communication skills you need to work on:

Giving feedback

To give feedback to another person means you comment on the person’s statements, behaviour or performance. When you do this, you show the other person that you are listening and care about what he/she has said or done.


· Ask questions to show you are interested in the person (e.g. “How do you feel about that?”)
· Be sincere, caring and understanding
· Use verbal encouragement (such as “What happened then?”)
· Use nonverbal encouragement (such as nodding your head)
· Ask questions to make the situation clearer (if necessary)
· Summarize the person’s points and feelings

Do not

· Judge the person
· Comment on things that cannot be changed
· Interrupt too early to give feedback

Sources of support

With your teacher, also discuss when to refer a person and specifically who the best source(s) would be for a particular situation.

You may have the opportunity to talk privately with students who need information or counselling that you cannot give them. Therefore, it is important for you to know where you can get help in your community. With your teacher, your group of peer leaders should identify a number of sources and how to reach them. These sources will enable students to get information about HIV/AIDS/STD; to obtain medical help; to go for counselling; and to be tested for HIV.

Suggestions for your list are as follows:

· Doctors
· Clergy
· Medical centre
· Health clinic
· Counsellor
· Church groups
· Places where you can get or buy condoms
· Nurses
· AIDS hotline
· Hospital
· STD clinic
· Social worker
· Youth groups
· Teacher