The use of the term 'peer' teacher in adolescent health education programs has been applied with a variety of definitions. In some programs student teachers have been in the same grade as those they instructed; in others, they have been older students teaching lower grade students. The method of selection of student teachers has also varied. In some programs a popular vote of students has been used to choose the student teachers; in other programs, the adult teachers and principals have chosen the student teachers. The purpose of the program reported here was to conduct smoking prevention education in friendship cliques taught by the clique's peer leaders. The friendship cliques and their peer leaders were identified by a computerized algorithm analysis of responses to a friendship questionnaire. The curriculum focused on social skills to prevent smoking and consisted of 8 weeks of education during the sixth and seventh grade years of 347 adolescents. The program evaluation compared the friendship cliques with 'model' students identified by school officials who taught their classmates and adult teachers instructing their students. The prevention rates of friendship cliques suggest that research studying this approach is needed. A practical means of identifying friendship cliques and their leaders is suggested.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health