Seeing isn’t always believing

A post today from Education Week, Teens Overestimate Peers’ Involvement in Risky Behaviors, Study Finds, discusses findings that suggest that teens have misconceptions about peers engagement in a variety of health behaviors.

It supports the need for health educators to provide opportunities for students to share their perceptions and understandings of behaviors and to then address any misconceptions. It can be much more powerful for students when you can refute what they think (or knowing teenagers – what they know to be true)  rather than just presenting statistics – it can be very eye-opening and may “stick” better with students.

This would be a great article to use in an analyzing influences unit or a decision-making unit – students could discuss the implications of having these types of misconceptions – how might it affect decisions? How do peers influence our decisions? How does what we think our peers are doing influence our behaviors? What can we do about this? How do labels affect our perceptions? How do labels affect our actions?

This article could also support the need for school/community level data collection – citing national or state data is helpful but if you can have “their” data, it will make it much more meaningful.

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