How FLASH Meets the Characteristics of Effective Health Education Curricula

FLASH meets the Characteristics of Effective Health Education Curricula defined by the CDC.

  1. Focuses on clear health goals and related behavioral outcomes. FLASH focuses on the clear goals of preventing pregnancy, STDs and sexual violence, and the behaviors that lead to these unhealthy outcomes.
  2. Is research-based and theory-driven. FLASH is based on the Theory of Planned Behavior. The Confluence Model and Social-Ecological Model further support the goal of sexual violence prevention. The most current research guides both the design and the content covered throughout the curriculum.
  3. Addresses individual values, attitudes and beliefs. Each lesson in FLASH addresses the values, attitudes and beliefs most likely to impact pregnancy, STD and sexual violence rates, as outlined in Emerging Answers and by the CDC.
  4. Addresses individual and group norms that support health-enhancing behaviors. FLASH focuses heavily on shifting group norms to support healthy behaviors. The culminating lesson is a project to influence norms at a school-wide level.
  5. Focuses on reinforcing protective factors and increasing perceptions of personal risk and harmfulness of engaging in specific unhealthy practices and behaviors. FLASH is specifically designed to support protective factors wherever possible. Examples of the harmfulness of engaging in specific unhealthy behaviors are provided, along with opportunities to make choices that will better protect health.
  6. Addresses social pressures and influences. FLASH addresses pressures and influences to have sex, to have unprotected sex, and to force sexual activity. Students are given opportunities to resist these pressures, and to resist placing these pressures on others.
  7. Builds personal competence, social competence, and self-efficacy by addressing skills. Skills practice is offered in the majority of FLASH lessons to help students build the skills they will need to prevent pregnancy, STDs and sexual violence. Skill practice is intentionally designed in ways to maximize self-efficacy, increasing the likelihood that students will use these skills when they need to.
  8. Provides functional health knowledge that is basic, accurate, and directly contributes to health-promoting decisions and behaviors. FLASH provides students with health knowledge that will help them develop skills or shift values, attitudes or beliefs. Health knowledge that is “nice to know” but not directly linked to a behavioral outcome is avoided.
  9. Uses strategies designed to personalize information and engage students. FLASH uses interactive activities and asks students to apply new knowledge and skills to their own lives. Additionally, students complete Family Homework assignments with each lesson, allowing further opportunity to reflect and personalize knowledge and skills gained.
  10. Provides age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate information, learning strategies, teaching methods and materials. All materials in FLASH are age- and developmentally appropriate, guided by the NSES and NHES standards, as well the authors’ years of experience teaching sexual health education at all grade levels.
  11. Incorporates learning strategies, teaching methods and materials that are culturally inclusive. FLASH lessons have been used successfully in a wide variety of settings, with students of varying cultures, races, socioeconomic classes and sexual orientations. FLASH is inclusive in its language, its examples and its teaching methods.
  12. Provides adequate time for instruction and learning. High School FLASH contains fifteen 50-minute lessons covering topics related to the prevention of pregnancy, STDs and sexual violence. Each lesson is appropriately paced and each goal is given sufficient coverage throughout the curriculum.
  13. Provides opportunities to reinforce skills and positive health behaviors. Students are offered ample opportunities to practice new skills and positive health behaviors, and skills practice is structured so that students can master the skill. In addition to reinforcing the new skill, this also allows for improved self-efficacy through students’ experience of mastery.
  14. Provides opportunities to make positive connections with influential others. FLASH Family Homework allows students to make positive connections with adults in their lives, through discussion of values and expectations.
  15. Includes teacher information and plans for professional development and training that enhance effectiveness of instruction and student learning. FLASH provides substantial teacher support. Each lesson contains teacher scripting to assist in the effective delivery of the curriculum. Resources for additional teacher learning are also provided. Finally, training for the FLASH curriculum is recommended, although not required, and can be scheduled for a location anywhere in the United States.