Module 11: young people and drugs - issues for workers: facilitator's guide

3.2 Values and work with young people

Page last updated: 2004


Purpose of the exercise

The aim of this exercise is to consider some of your beliefs and values about young people, which may impact on the way you interact with them.

Running the exercise

Explain to learners that you are going to read out a series of statements one by one. They are to consider whether they strongly agree, agree, are neutral, disagree or strongly disagree with each statement. Explain that after you have read each statement you want them to place themselves somewhere along the 'imaginary' continuum line.

Suggest there is an 'imaginary' continuum line with one end of the room being strongly agree and the other end of the room being strongly disagree (cards with 'strongly agree' and 'strongly disagree' written on them can be placed at the two ends of the continuum).

There are no right or wrong answers to this exercise. Their responses purely represent their opinions and beliefs that stem from their own experiences in working with young people.

After learners have placed themselves on the imaginary continuum line for the first statement, have them discuss in the group why they placed themselves where they did.

Do the same for each of the statements one by one.
  • Life was easier for young people when you were an adolescent.
  • Young people have too many options today.
  • Young people can't make good decisions for themselves.
  • There is no safe level of drug use for young people.
  • It is preferable for a young person to use some substances over others.
  • Young people who are voluntary clients are easier to work with than those who are involuntary.
  • The family is a safe environment for young people.
  • Young people only think about themselves.
Top of pageAs a significant part of their personal development, young people will naturally challenge society's norms, beliefs and values. This may mean experimentation with a whole range of things that we might view as high risk.

The importance of being aware of your own values and beliefs about young people and AOD use can have a significant impact on the way you view, understand and work with young people and cannot be underestimated.

Ask learners if this raised any issues for them (i.e. are there issues or areas that are problematic?) For example, if you believe young people shouldn't try AOD at all, how will this impact upon the way you work with them? What strategies could you develop to avoid these issues impacting on young people in your work with them?

Writing exercise

Question - Can you identify any emerging themes in your responses to the questionnaire? (e.g. whether you have strong views on any particular topics or issues) Can you draw any conclusions about your attitudes?

Question - Discuss (with a colleague or learning group) how your values and attitudes might impact on your work with young people. Are there any problematic areas or issues?

Question - Write down some strategies you could develop to avoid these issues impacting on the young people you work with.