|Life Education Trust regularly evaluates its programmes, most recently NZ Council for Educational Research (NZCER) provided a review report on SMASHED: a Theatre in Education programme we run in secondary schools to support alcohol and health education.|
SMASHED equips rangatahi to make safe decisions on alcohol. It is a live theatre in education performance, which includes an interactive workshop. SMASHED engages secondary school students in discussions about alcohol and underage drinking, and how it could affect their lives. SMASHED supports students to consider choices and develop strategies to resist peer pressure.
The review commissioned by Life Education Trust took place over approximately 14 months during 2021 and 2022. NZCER is an independent, non-commercial entity, expert in evaluating education programmes.
We’re excited to share some of the findings of the report:
"I think that it helps that it’s someone outside of their daily experience giving them the same information. I think sometimes we become like, when your mum and dad tell you something; teachers get categorised like that; and [students think] what do teachers know? But if people from outside, who are quite a lot younger, … are giving them the information around the effects of what alcohol can do to their brain and their bodies … that is important. We can tell them until the cows go home! … Having that outside influence is helpful." (School staff)
"It was real life examples, specific examples, that the students could relate to which made them buy in and listen from the start. The performers were interesting and dynamic and clear and fun, and they responded well even when they got the odd student asking a tricky question. But the kids felt like they could ask the tricky questions. So … that was a really key part of it as well. If you had performers that weren’t as capable at working with the crowd it would impact on the overall outcome." (Teacher)
“It did show me a lot. Because drinking—I knew it was not good for you but there’s more consequences than just like having a hangover the next morning … before I went to the SMASHED presentation, I hadn’t really thought about the consequences going that extreme. Because at the end her eye got smashed by the glass and got really damaged. That had lifelong consequences on her dreams … Now after I can sort of see how … the massive effects drinking could have if it is not controlled.” (Year 9 student)
“I liked how they told you what to do if you are drinking, like what to avoid, like if you are peer pressured, to get out of it as soon as possible as it could end with worse stuff.” (Year 9 student)
We’re committed to continuous improvement and the NZCER report gave several suggestions for ongoing improvement and evolution we’re excited by the potential to incorporate these into the SMASHED 2023 programme.