Oklahoma Marriage Initiative (OMI): Starting Early: How the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative Helps Schools Prepare Young People for Healthy Marriages. Student Response

06/06/2008

Student response to Connections+PREP® is suggested by enrollment numbers and engagement in classes. By late 2007, more than 55,000 students had taken a course that included Connections+PREP® material. With an average of about 20 students per class, an estimated 2,750 classes containing this material have been taught in Oklahomas high schools.(5) According to teachers, the enthusiastic response from students is the clearest sign of how relevant the curriculum material is to their lives. Teachers commonly reported that students often have not only completed their homework, but come to class excited and ready to discuss it. Other students work ahead in their workbooks, and some stay after class to discuss relationship matters with their teacher. One teacher reported that a student realized it was time to break off a relationship and sought advice from her teacher on strategies for doing so.

Although teachers thought the information and skills imparted by Connections+PREP® are useful for all students, they generally find it particularly useful for youth who lack married role models in their communities. They felt that children with troubled home lives may be less likely to be learning healthy marriage, relationship, and communication skills and that the course might help fill this gap.

Teachers in the focus group sample also reported that the gender composition of students taking the class varies substantially across schools, with some classes being predominantly female and others with a more even gender balance. Overall, teachers estimated that the students were approximately 60 percent female and 40 percent male.

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