Expertise needed to support project establishment and delivery
Collaboration is pivotal in the delivery of Human Relations, as partner expertise plays a key role in content development, program facilitation and evaluation. A Human Relations working group, comprised of partner organisations, meets quarterly to discuss the program, plan its delivery and provide for quality improvement. The working group is coordinated and minuted by the lead agency and feedback is incorporated into program planning and content.
Program partners agree to and sign a Memorandum of Understanding, outlining the responsibilities of all agencies in the organisation and delivery of the program. This document needs to be responsive to changes in the program and is reviewed and signed by relevant parties when major changes occur.
Delivering the program
The program is delivered to young people aged fourteen years and over, who are newly arrived to Australia and currently studying English at WELS. Participants must have a similar level of English proficiency and for this reason are generally from the same class.
Sex disaggregated classes
For the program to run effectively, classes are disaggregated by sex. Teachers, interpreters and facilitators are also divided in this way. This creates a space where young people feel comfortable to speak openly about sexuality and reproductive health.
The program is best delivered by two facilitators. A community health nurse and a health promotion worker are utilised, as this offers a balance between the biology of human relations and the social model of health. An additional observer can be useful to assist program facilitators as necessary and to undertake program evaluation activity during each session.
In order to build rapport with students and create an environment of trust and mutual understanding, it is preferred that the same facilitators deliver the sessions across all five weeks. Another strategy for building trust and rapport is the development of a group agreement in the form of group rules, which are referred to at the beginning of each session.
Support from teachers
A partnership approach with teachers has proven to be very successful in the delivery of Human Relations. Teachers are given the program material a week before the program commences so that they can support students to understand the terminology that is used and the information provided. Teachers can promote discussion and assist students to understand the program’s content. Teachers also assist with program evaluation by providing feedback to the partnership, and by encouraging and supporting students to complete the evaluation component of each session.
The Human Relations program engages professional interpreters so that students can be supported to learn in their first language and engage with content. Prior to commencing, facilitators meet briefly with the interpreters to clarify their roles and responsibilities, as well as the topics to be covered in the program. A key word sheet detailing these topics is also distributed to interpreters. It is important to inform interpreters that their role is one solely of interpretation and that their personal views and beliefs are not required.
During classroom sessions, it is important for facilitators to ensure that interpreters are positioned where everyone who needs their language support can hear them. It is also important to remember that some languages take longer to interpret and therefore the program needs to go at a pace where everyone can be engaged.
Consistency of interpreters throughout the program is also important. The service booking request for interpreters needs to reiterate that we require the same interpreters for the entire five week program where possible.