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Get Real: Comprehensive Sex Education That Works


Theoretical Framework

Social and Emotional Learning

Get Real is framed with the concept of social and emotional learning, or SEL. According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL):

“SEL is a process for helping children and even adults develop the fundamental skills for life effectiveness. SEL teaches the skills we all need to handle ourselves, our relationships, and our work effectively and ethically. These skills include recognizing and managing our emotions, developing caring and concern for others, establishing positive relationships, making responsible decisions, and handling challenging situations constructively and ethically.”

Get Real incorporates five SEL skills of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making as key elements in learning how to negotiate relationships. If young people can negotiate relationships, they can better negotiate sexual relationships. These skills are integrated into the content of the lessons through activities and process questions. Teachers are trained in the SEL framework during Get Real teacher training.

In Get Real, the tenets of SEL are incorporated into activities that lead students to use and develop these skills.

  • To apply self-awareness, students are asked in each lesson to reflect on their personal attitudes and beliefs about the lesson topic, and to consider how these attitudes and beliefs affect their everyday lives.
  • Students gain self-management skills as they develop their beliefs and put voice to them, associating beliefs with personal boundaries, guidelines and goals.
  • The many activities that focus on empathy and giving advice introduce students to social awareness, and help them gain the ability to see the different roles they play and understand how their actions affect their relationships and the larger community.
  • Because Get Real is grounded in the belief that consensual sexual activity occurs in the context of relationships, nearly every lesson includes activities that practice relationship skills, including refusal skills, negotiation and communication.
  • Students practice responsible decision making when they use their knowledge of sexual health topics to make informed decisions in scenario situations. These role-play opportunities and the use of a decision-making model utilized throughout the curriculum help equip students with skills to make healthy decisions about their sexual health in the real world.

Logic Model

Get Real is based on a behavior/determinant/intervention (BDI) logic model. The health goal of the curriculum is to promote positive sexual health behaviors and beliefs among students who have participated in the Get Real middle school comprehensive sexuality education curriculum, resulting in a delay of sexual initiation, a reduction of unintended pregnancies, and higher use of protection methods.

The behaviors targeted are delaying initiation of sex and increasing correct and consistent use of condoms and/or other protection methods. Each behavior has corresponding risk and protective factors. Lessons in Get Real are mapped to these determinants, which are listed on the first page of each lesson. It should be noted that if lessons are altered or activities are omitted, some lessons may no longer address a particular determinant, which may alter the intended behavior-change outcomes.

The program logic models can be found here:

Middle School Logic Model (pdf)

High School Logic Model (pdf)