Lesson Plan Guide: Healthy in love

By Matt Andrews on July 17, 2014

TITLE: Healthy in love

GRADES: 9-12

CONTENT AREAS: Health, Advisory, Homeroom, English

 

GOALS:

• Students will consider and reflect on personal experiences with or exposure to romantic relationships between teenagers.

• Students will learn some insights about how to maintain healthy romantic relationships at this age, provided by professionals in school counseling.

• Students will apply insights by considering how best to help teens struggling in their own romantic relationships through a mock counseling activity.

• Students will reflect on selves as having the capacity to effectively communicate through struggles in their own similar relationships.

OBJECTIVES:

• Students will individually give written responses to a short set of anticipatory questions related to teens’ romantic relationships.

• Students will discuss individual responses in small-to-large-group discussions.

• Students will read “Healthy in Love” from Student Paths (Reproducible C) and answer brief question set.

• Students will work in small groups with provided case studies to “counsel” teen couples undergoing relationship issues, comparing feedback with other groups in large-group share/compare.

• Students will work individually on brief summing response.

STANDARDS ADDRESSED:

This lesson aligns with the following American School Counselor Association Personal/Social Development Standards:

• PS:A1.7 – Recognize personal boundaries, rights, and privacy needs

• PS:A2.6 – Use effective communication skills

PRIOR KNOWLEDGE:

No specialized prior knowledge is necessary to complete this lesson.

MATERIALS:

• Class set of Activity Handouts (Reproducible A, below)

• Case Study handouts for Mock Counseling group activity (Reproducible B, below)

• Readings: Healthy in Love from related articles

LESSON OVERVIEW:

The lesson has six progressive stages (Stages may be omitted at teacher’s discretion):

• Anticipatory written response, working individually (5-10 minutes, with introduction)

• Small-to-large-group discussion (5-15 minutes)

• Content reading and questions (10-15 minutes, extend if necessary to accommodate range of reading rates)

• Mock Counseling activity, in small groups, with large group share & compare (20-25 minutes)

• Activity-summing individual written response (5 minutes)

LESSON PROCEDURE:

Anticipatory written response (5-10 minutes)

1. Distribute the handout and explain that the day’s lesson will provide information and opportunities to reflect on a key aspect of teenage social life.

2. Direct students to use the next 5-7 minutes to complete the individual portion of the handout according to the directions.

Small-to-large-group discussion (12-15 minutes)

1. Have students form into groups of 3-4, and have them share with one another the results of their individual responses. Encourage students to record interesting points from this discussion on their handouts, and to be ready to report such points in a large-group class discussion to follow. Circulate about room and answer questions/provide insights and commentary as necessary.

2. After 5-7 minutes, focus the class onto yourself as facilitator and bring together for large-group discussion. Examine each question separately and survey the large group about their responses, tracking results on the board if desired. Allow students to provide commentary as appropriate, allowing for extended discussion according to students’ interest in particular points.

3. Use students’ commentary to segue into the next phase of the lesson (a reading and questions), pointing out that, though such relationships often play large parts in teenagers’ lives, it’s important to keep them in healthy balance with other expectations and commitments. Distribute the reading at this time.

Readings, questions (10-15 minutes)

1. Have students go through the provided reading (“Healthy In Love”) and answer the corresponding questions on their handouts.

 

STUDENT QUESTIONS, ANSWER KEY:

“Healthy In Love” Questions

1. What does Ms. Julie Hartline, school counselor, see as a benefit to teens’ dating and forming romantic relationships?

- It’s part of growing up; helps teach what to do and not do in future relationships.

2. According to Hartline, what issue is a consistent source of conflict in teens’ romantic relationships?

- Communication; trying to understand one another.

3. Though a study by the American Sociological Association verified that both boys and girls have “heightened emotions” toward their romantic partners, which gender was considered the better decision-maker of the two?

- Girls

4. What does this article warn against as possibly dangerous if taken too far by someone in a romantic relationship?

- Control

5. What does the school counselor, Ms. Hartline, consider the first indicator of abuse in a romantic relationship?

- “…when you find yourself doing things that you don’t want to do”

6. Which personal asset is best to have in order to stay true to yourself and keep one’s romantic relationship in good health?

- Self-confidence

 

If only using Day One/first section of this lesson, have students proceed to final reflective response at this point.

Introduction/Review (5 minutes—omit if lesson delivered in continuous session)

1. To introduce day’s activity, briefly re-visit previous activity. Refresh students’ memories by discussing how the previous activity focused on romantic relationships—our own class’s thoughts about them, plus some tips for relationship health from a professional school counselor. (Introduction can be done as a quick Q&A, if desired.)

2. Segue into the activity, a mock counseling session in which students will work in small groups to discuss case studies of teens in troubled romantic relationships. Have students divide into small groups of 3-4 for the activity.

3. Explain that the last five minutes or so of class will be used to complete a final individual reflection about the activity.

Be the Counselor: Examining Case Studies/Share & Compare (20-30 minutes)

1. After groups have formed, distribute copies of the case studies (Reproducible B, below) and instruct students to follow the directions. Individuals should record notes from these discussions in the spaces provided. Circulate about the class to answer questions, clarify activity directions, offer insights, etc.

STUDENT INSTRUCTIONS:

Be the Counselor: Examining Case Studies Questions

Review each case study provided, either silently or with one member of the group reading aloud. After each, use the provided discussion questions as a guide and come up with your best counseling advice for the teens involved. Be sure your group has a good record of your discussion, as we’ll get together as a large group in 10-15 minutes to compare groups’ counseling skills.

Discussion questions:

Case Study #1, Jennifer and Greg

Case Study #2, Robert and Courtney

Case Study #3, Helena and Anthony

- Questions following each case study will ask students to offer advice to both sides about how they can work through the conflicts at hand. Answers will vary by group.

2. After the allotted 15-20 minutes for small-group discussion, re-focus the groups as a large group and give time to share responses/advice for each case study. Explore differences between students’ suggested approaches and allow groups to justify/explain their reasoning to differing groups. Facilitate between differing groups, and track key points on board to provide a visual marker of discussion activity.

Individual Summary Response (5 minutes)

After finishing all desired lesson stages, have students work individually on the lesson’s final response. (See Reproducible A, question #10.)

Extension

Lesson can be extended into future Personal & Social Development-related ASCA standards, especially those dealing with effective communication and setting/observing personal boundaries.

ASSESSMENT

Completed handout.

 

Reproducible A

 

Use the next 5 minutes or so to respond to the questions below.

1. Give 3-4 reasons you believe teenagers seek romantic relationships. What do they see as the benefits?

2. Name 3-4 ways that, based on your experience (either personally or that you’ve witnessed), teens’ romantic relationships can go wrong.

3. Have you or anyone you’ve known ever had a bad experience in a romantic relationship? Explain briefly (3-4 sentences) what happened and how the people involved were affected. Also, did just the couple suffer, or did others around them as well?

Reading questions

Read “Healthy In Love” and answer the questions below.

1. What does Ms. Julie Hartline, school counselor, see as a benefit to teens’ dating and forming romantic relationships?

 

2. According to Hartline, what issue is a consistent source of conflict in teens’ romantic relationships?

 

3. Though a study by the American Sociological Association verified that both boys and girls have “heightened emotions” toward their romantic partners, which gender was considered the better decision-maker of the two?

 

4. What does this article warn against as possibly dangerous if taken too far by someone in a romantic relationship?

 

5. What does the school counselor, Ms. Hartline, consider the first indicator of abuse in a romantic relationship?

 

6. Which personal asset is best to have in order to stay true to yourself and keep one’s romantic relationship in good health?

 

Activity-Summing Response

7. Imagine that you ended up in a romantic relationship that became unhealthy in one of the ways covered in this activity (i.e., with control or communication issues). Are you confident and/or assertive enough to stand up for what you believe is right, even when such high emotions are involved? Explain your answer in 4-5 sentences.

 

Reproducible B

 

Be the Counselor: What Should These Couples Do?

Small-group Activity: Examining Case Studies

Review each case study provided, either silently or with one member of the group reading aloud. After each, use the provided discussion questions as a guide and come up with your best counseling advice for the teens involved.

Be sure your group has a good record of your discussion, as we’ll get together as a large group in 10-15 minutes to compare groups’ counseling skills.

Case Studies & Discussion Questions

Case Study #1, Jennifer and Greg

Jennifer and Greg, two juniors, began dating in the spring of their sophomore year. Though both are pretty good students with solid B averages, Greg has to work a bit harder at his studies than Jennifer does. Where Jennifer seems to take care of all her homework in an hour or so each night, Greg regularly has to spend between two and three hours on all of his. Plus, Greg’s really hoping to improve his grades before applying to colleges because he knows, given his family’s financial situation, that he’ll need to earn substantial scholarship money to attend college at all. Since the beginning of this year, the two have had many arguments about how much time to spend together. Jennifer feels that Greg should spend more time with her, so she says things to make him feel bad about the amount of time he makes for her. Unsure if there’s any way to keep Jennifer happy and stay caught up in school, he’s begun skipping some of his school assignments altogether.

1. Is Greg’s decision to sacrifice school performance to spend more time with Jennifer a good one? Why or why not?

2. If you had time alone to give Greg advice, what would you say to him about his situation?

3. If you had time alone to give Jennifer advice, what would you say to her about the situation?

4. Can this couple work it out? If you believe they can, what do both sides need to do?

 

 

Case Study #2, Robert and Courtney

Robert is a senior and Courtney is a sophomore, and they’ve been seeing each other since they were in tenth and eighth grade, respectively. The high school they attend is grades 10-12, so, for the first time, they’re a couple in the same school building. As their lockers are in different halls and their schedules are nothing alike, they don’t see much of one another during a school day.

As they’ve been together for two years or so, many of Robert’s friends know Courtney and often mention to him that they’d seen her, talked to her, etc. A few months into the school year, though, stories start getting back to Courtney that Robert often speaks disrespectfully about her when he’s with his friends. According to some of the things she’s hearing, many of the things he’s said are completely made-up and, yes, quite damaging. Though the idea that Robert could say such things about her hurts her feelings on its own, she’s even more hurt because she now wonders what others in the school might think about her based on his stories.

As much as she wants to ask him about it, though, she feels a little intimidated. He is two years older and a senior, after all, and a lot of what she’s hearing is gossip. She decides to give it more time, hoping it’ll get better on its own, but still finds herself insecure at school—she’s even begun to feel like people are laughing at her or talking about her when she’s around.

1. Is Courtney’s decision to wait a while longer before talking to Robert about her concerns a good decision? Why or why not? 

2. What would you advise Courtney to do if you were her counselor and she came and told you about this situation?

3. Your advice might be taken very differently depending on one piece of information: whether the stories about Robert are true or not. What would you advise Courtney to do if the stories are true and Robert actually has been talking this way about her?

4. On the other hand, imagine that Courtney confronts Robert only to find that the stories are completely false and that Robert is able to prove it. Will they be able to make it through this tough period of their relationship where both sides’ trust were damaged? Explain your answer.

 

 

Case Study #3, Helena and Anthony

Helena and Anthony, two sophomores, met through friends who hung out at school events together. They were just friends for a while before they started spending time together alone and, eventually, deciding to be a more permanent couple. In the three months that they’ve been together, though, Anthony’s noticed a side of Helena he never really saw when they were just hanging out as parts of a large group of friends. She calls his phone almost constantly, even when she knows that he’s unavailable—like at family functions, in church, and at work, to name a few—and only ever to chat about nothing. Though it was nice to know she was thinking of him at first, she didn’t really change the behavior after he politely asked her to be more careful with it a few weeks ago. Though he doesn’t want to hurt her feelings, he’s been talked to about checking his phone multiple times by his parents, and his boss wrote him up at work for answering his phone where customers could see. To Anthony, it seems ridiculous that he should break up with Helena over something like this (all her calls, after all, just show how much she likes his company, and he certainly likes hers), he’s not sure how she’ll get the message and respect his request.

1. How should Anthony go about discussing this matter with Helena?

2. Based on the information you have above, how do you think someone like Helena will react to Anthony’s strategy from question 1?

3. If you could sit Helena and Anthony down together as their couple counselor, what advice would you give them?

 

Large-group Share & Compare

Use the above answers to the discussion questions in a large-group setting and compare them to how others in the class would handle these situations. Join the debate, but give you and your group-mates’ viewpoints respectfully!

 


About the Author

Matt Andrews

Matt Andrews

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