To be successful in communicating your message, a careful analysis of your anticipated audience is a critical component (PlainLanguage.gov, n.d.). No matter who the audience, the speaker must present the information in a way that is relatable and communicates why the topic should matter to the participant. Incorporating methods which involve the audience and “talk with” rather than “talk at”, allowing them to share and apply the information received will have the greatest impact. To illustrate,options of how to present the message “don’t do drugs” will be given for three different audiences: children, juveniles, and pregnant women.
The key focus for programs with both children and juveniles is an interactive learning environment. Working with elementary school children could begin by first providing education, creating the “why” behind not doing drugs. Within classrooms, utilizing worksheets, video, and activity-based lessons would prove most effective for this age, who learn more by doing and experiencing. After providing the why, the next step would be to engage children in prevention strategies. One method would be to assign student teams who would create prevention videos to be entered into a contest and judged by their peers as well as a panel of experts. From there a partnership with the local news stations where the winners’ video could serve as a public service announcement during October which is substance abuse prevention month (White House, 2015). Collaboration between students and community professionals creates mutual buy-in for a community problem.
Presenting the message to middle school and high school will prove more challenging. When adults provide information, they must also be open to and willing to acknowledge that students may be more knowledgeable in some components of the topic; therefore, it may be beneficial to first establish the students’ baseline of knowledge (PlainLanguage.gov, n.d.). Two options would be to have (1) students work in groups to complete a quiz about the forms of drugs, methods of use, nicknames, and effects or (2) show a picture of a drug and have students provide the information in a group setting. The next step could be initiating a dialogue about their experiences, perceptions of peers who are doing drugs, and what strategies do they use to resist. Marijuana is especially popular with this age group with the common argument that it less harmful than alcohol, doesn’t have lasting impacts, or only affects the user. Strategies for making the message real to this population would be to invite a guest speaker to share their personal story of how drugs impacted them; reading real news stories and engaging students to be “the jury” discussing appropriate sentences or showing before and after pictures of meth users. Another activity that might have an impact is having a student debate with teams who will research and then present both for and against the legalization of marijuana.
Finally, with pregnant women, the goal would be to provide education on the effects of doing or being around drugs on their unborn baby, strategies for how to leave an environment where drugs are being used (whether cigarettes or illegal forms), and how to refuse substances. Pregnant mothers who are not showing yet and adjusting to the limitations of pregnancy may struggle with this issue more than mothers who are further along. Others may offer substances which could harm the baby, not realizing that a woman is expecting. Unlike the other education platforms previously discussed, pregnant women are most receptive to this information in a one on one interaction especially with their health care provider (Nolan, 2009). This population respects the recommendations made by medical professionals when the information is given in a language that is free of medical jargon paired with the encouragement to ask questions.
Plainlanguage.gov. (n.d.).Identify and write for your audience. Federal Plain Language Guidelines. Retrieved from http://www.plainlanguage.gov/howto/guidelines/bigdoc/audId.cfm
Nolan, M. L. (2009). Information giving and education in pregnancy: A review of qualitative studies. The Journal of Perinatal Education, 18(4), 21–30. http://doi.org/10.1624/105812409X474681
White House (2015). October declared substance abuse prevention month. Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/prevention-intro.
Respond to the bold paragraph ABOVE by using one of the option below… in APA format with At least one reference…..
· Ask a probing question.
· Share an insight from having read your colleague’s posting.
· Offer and support an opinion.
· Validate an idea with your own experience.
· Make a suggestion.
· Expand on your colleague’s posting.
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