Gordie Center

for Substance Abuse Prevention

Curriculum Infusion: Education

I. Introduction Course Modules for Education

The following information is posted with the permission of the Network for Dissemination of Curriculum Infusion (NDCI).

Courses in education are a fertile ground in which to introduce the infusion of prevention strategies into the curriculum. Not only does curriculum i sion prove e the opportunity for future teachers to examine their own attitudes and behavior in relation to the use of alcohol and other drugs but it also puts them in situations where they will experience active student learning techniques that they, in turn, can use to good advantage in their own classrooms. In his prevention module, Professor Craig Cunningham refers to this process as the "double effect".

Infusing prevention strategies into teacher training programs, enables future teachers to become sensitive to several interactive factors: drug abuse problems themselves (including the role of peer pressure) the range of learning styles of students, classroom diversity, and teaching strategies that enable students to confront and evaluate their own values and behavior and those of the wider community in which they live. By modeling curriculum infusion topics and activities in their own syllabi, curriculum guides, resource materials, and classroom activities, college professors serve as role models for their students who, as future teachers, will become role models for their own students. Professor Cunningham's module for the EDPN 305, the lestory and Philosophy of Education effectively illustrates this process.

Many other education courses offer similar opportunities Three quick examples come readily to mind:

1) In their clinical experience classes and student teaching, Education majors can incorporate content designed to prevent substance abuse among elementary and high school students.

2) Courses in School Law or School Administration which might infuse discussions of current drinking statutes, school and board policy on the possession and use of substances on school grounds, appropriate and legal remedies for dealing.,Aith policy violations.

3) Library or Information Science courses whereby students could locate the latest research on substance abuse as well as build a "resource library" with annotated appropriate books, films, and other curricular materials to be used with students of various ages.

Brainstorming with other colleagues on how various courses can infuse prevention strategies will yield rich results. As more and more faculty become involved in the process, a critical mass will be created which will also help students to see that the nomis of nonabuse are far more extensive than those for abuse as well as to develop a deeper appreciation of the true risks involved abusing alcohol and other substances.



II. History

A Course Module for Education History and Philosophy of Drug Abuse Prevention


Developed by.- Craig A. Cunningham

Assistant Professor Department of Educational Leadership and Development Northeastem Illinois Univeristy

Introduction | Course Information | Prevention Rationale | Learning Objectives | Instructional Activities | Evaluation


This document describes a learning module about drug abuse prevention and education which will be part of the History and Philosophy of Education courses offered at Northeastern Illinois University and taught by Professor Craig A. Cunningham.

These materials were developed by Professor Cunningham in collaboration with the Network for Dissemination of Curriculum Infusion, based at Northeastern Illinois University, and supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. For more information about the network, call 773/794-6697.

This module will introduce various philosophical and historical issues concerning drug abuse prevention, with the intention of providing a reflective foundation for considering various teaching methods for drug abuse prevention and education.

It is hoped that this module will be applicable in other courses in the foundations of education at Northeastern and at other institutions of higher education. In addition, the materials for this module have been made available on-line via the World Wide Web, on a site called SAPPHIRE (for Substance Abuse Prevention: Philosophical and Historical Issues Relevant to Education), and can be freely utilized for similar modules or for any other purpose.

For more information, see:

NOTE: In the following, "drug" means any substance which is ingested into the body primarily for its psychoactive effects (including alcohol, nicotine, inhalants, marijuana, cocaine, etc.). "Drug abuse" means the use of any drug which causes problems in the development of the user's intellectual, physical, social, emotional, and spiritual potential.

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Educational Foundations 305, Historical and Philosophical Foundations of American Public Education, is a required course for pre-service teachers in the College of Education. The course involves an overview of historical events central to the development of the school system in the United States, including: pre-Revolutionary schooling, the National period, the Common School Movement, the development of public high schools, curriculum differentiation (vocational schools, tracking), and schooling for Afiican Americans.

The course also includes discussion of several central questions in educational philosophy, including: "What is the purpose of education?" "Should all students receive an equal education?" "What does it mm to be educated?" "Should schools aim for moral as well as academic goals?" "What is the role of 'interest' in educational design?" and "How much involvement should teachers have in students' personal fives?"

The course utilizes primary and secondary readings, and also gives each student opportunity to discuss their own educational history (by posting a fistserve message containing details of their education) and giving a presentation to the class of an educational issue of significance. All assignments ask students to relate issues and historical developments to their own experiences.

I have chosen this course because it is required for almost all students in the Colleg of Education and because issues around the prevention of drug abuse are already central to the course. Since we already deal with philosophical questions ("What does it mean to be educated9" and "Should schools aim for moral as well as academic goals"?) and historical events, it should be relatively easy to include attention to issues in drug abuse prevention.

Through an examination of different approaches to drug abuse prevention, students can explore several historical tensions, which are already covered in the course, including: "traditional" vs. "progressive" education- "indoctrination" vs. "freedom of inquiry"; and "church" vs. "state."

Additionally, I already teach the course to include exposure to several technological skill-areas, including use of e-mail, ERIC database searching, and the World Wide Web. The drug abuse prevention module will be heavily oriented toward use of the Internet as a resource for research into different educational approaches and to gather materials relevant to drug abuse and drug abuse prevention.

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This drug abuse prevention module will encourage NEIU students to avoid the abuse of substances, using the following "rationales":

1 . giving students the opportunity to reflect on their own experiences with drug use and abuse within a professionally-oriented setting in which the explicit motive is developing more effective ways to prevent drug abuse'.

2. allowing for debate among students about the relative effectiveness and philosophical worthiness of various prevention strategies;

3. exposing students to data concerning the prevalence of drug use and abuse historically and today.

It is hoped that this module will help prevent substance abuse not only in the NEIU students, but also in their students whom they will teach once they are employed. Thus, if effective, this module should have a "double" effect.

Specifically, by analyzing the prevalence and effects of "binge drinking" in the population as a whole and among NEIU students, and by thinking about prevention strategies for their own students, this module will cause NEIU students to be less likely to engage in destructive behaviors such as binge drinking.

Data will be available to students of this module which will show that "binge dfinking" is a serious problem, but that not all college students do engage in it. This will support carnpus-wide efforts to alter the incorrect perception that the majority of students binge drink.

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This module has the following leaming objectives. Students completing the module will be able to:

1. write a short essay discussing important trends in the history of drug abuse education in America;

2. articulate several alternative philosophical justifications for drug abuse prevention;

3. articulate a personal philosophy of drug abuse prevention;

4. develop a drug abuse prevention strategy for the students they are planning to teach in the future;

5. write a coherent and specific critique of those drug abuse prevention approaches which the student believes are less effective than preferred methods;

6. be able to find a variety of information about drugs and drug abuse on the Internet, including information about specific drugs, arguments for and against various approaches to drug abuse prevention, and the home pages of leading drug abuse prevention organizations;

7. be able to list criteria which can be used to evaluate the trustworthiness of various on- line (Intemet-based) sources of information about drugs.

Learner Characteristics

Most students in EDFN 305 are college students with junior standing. Most are in their early 20s, having completed their first two years of college at Northeastern or other colleges, including a number of community colleges. Other students are "retuming7'to college after some years in the world of work. Regardless of their age and experience, the students are just beginning coursework designed to lead toward certification as an elementary or secondary teacher. Their interests are quite broad, since some students are in the course because they are very interested in working with children, while others are more interested in their specific subject area. Still others are pursuing a degree in education because it seems like a solid and trustworthy career, and some more are majoring in education because nothing else has interested them.

This diversity of interests. is matched by a diversity of backgrounds. While the majority of students are of European descent, there are also significant numbers of Latino, Asian, and Afiican-American students, and a healthy mixture of students whose families have been in the United States for generations and recent inuiiigrants. Some students have grown up in the Chicago suburbs; others have lived in the city. A few even grew up in rural areas far from Chicago.

In addition, the students display a wide range of academic aptitudes and preferences. Some students have been successu in traditional classrooms, where verbal proficiency is stressed; others have always had difficulty with traditional course assignments, preferring to learn through hands-on experience, group interaction, or one-on-one instruction Almost no generalizations can be made about these students except that they are diverse and that they need a variety of learning activities in order to succeed.

The typical section of EDFN 305 is about 25 students, which is an ideal size for a mixture of lecture, discussion, and small-group work.

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Given the diversity of the students who will utilize this module, no one approach to teaching will be successful with all of the students. It has been the experience of Professor Cunninghan@ however, that the best overall instructional strategy in EDFN 305 is to combine general exposure-through reading, lecture, and discussion-to historical events and trends as well as alternative philosophical outlooks, and concurrently to elicit the students' own experiences through oral presentation, cooperative learning group discussion, or written essays, and then to use questions and personal examples to encourage class-wide discussion of the relevance of the historical and philosophical material to the "real world" from which these students come.

In keeping with this prior experience, the Learning Objectives stated above will be met through a strategy of exposing the students to historical and philosophical material, encouraging the articulation in various forms of the students' own experience, and providing ways for the students to share insights and ideas in response to real and hypothetical problematic situations.

The following general instructional activities will be used to implement this overall strategy:

1. causing students to examine their own past behaviors concerning drug use and abuse;

2. asking students to assess their perceptions of how serious drug abuse is/was within their educational institutions.

3 .presenting research which shows the prevalence of substance abuse in the larger population-,

4. presenting reliable information about the effects of drug use and abuse;

5. encouraging further thinking about the importance of prevention;

6. presenting information about the history of drug abuse prevention in America;

7. presenting alternative philosophical approaches to drug use, abuse, and prevention;

8. helping students to design general approaches to drug abuse prevention which may work to discourage drug abuse among their future students.


If successful, this module should help discourage (prevent, reduce) substance abuse not only in the NEIU students, but also in their students whom they will teach once they are employed. Thus, if effective, this module should have a "double" effect.

While the primary purpose of this module is to discourage and reduce drug abuse, a secondary purpose of the module is to introduce the students to the use of the Internet in accessing and searching for information and sharing ideas with others. Therefore, the materials for this module will be almost entirely available through the World Wide Web, and will include explicit instruction in the use of Web browsers (e.g. Netscape) and search engines (e.g. Yahoo and Alta Vista). Students will also be encouraged to submit suggestions for new "links" to the SAPPHIRE web site, by getting extra credit for filling out a form describing each site and how it adds to materials already available on the site.

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Lesson 1 | Lesson 2 | Lesson 3 | Lesson 4 | Lesson 5

This module will be offered in the final third of the course. Additional instructional materials (including videos, articles, etc. will be continuously examined for possible inclusion, so that the lessons and activities do not become "stale" for the instructor or the students.

The module will be introduced prior to Lesson 1, by providing a transition from other materials in the course, and by defining "drug" and "drug abuse' according to the definitions given above in the Introduction.

LESSON 1: Introduction to the World Wide Web

Students will be taken to a computer lab and given an opportunity to explore SAPPHIRE, the web site developed in conjunction with this module. An introduction to Netscape will be given for students without substantial experience in its use, and the features and limitations of HTNIL will be discussed as students explore SAPPHIRE and its related links. Students will be assigned the task of completing their reading of the SAPPHIRE site outside of class.

This lesson will also include a discussion of the "problem" of information overload on the Web and criteria that can be used to separate trustworthy from non-trustworthy information. (An article on this topic is available as a link on the SAPPHIRE site.)

LESSON 2: Small-group discussion of student experiences

An article will be available which discusses the problem of "binge-drinking" among American students (yet to be identified), and another about the use of marijuana in high school (TIME, December 9, 1996). Students will read these articles for homework.

Students will be assigned to diverse groups of 4 or 5 students (grouped according to whether they are planning to be elementary, secondary, or K- 1 2 teachers) and will be given a "joumaling" worksheet to fill out and discuss within their groups. The worksheet will ask questions about students own experiences with drugs, their perceptions of the prevalence of drug use and abuse within the schools they have attended, their attitudes about the drug abuse education they received as students, and their reactions to the articles assigned.

Following are some sample joumaling questions:

How has drug use and abuse affectedyou and your family?

How prevalent was drug use and abuse in the schools you attended?

What were the effects of drug use and abuse on yourfellow students?

What drug abuse prevention strategies have been employed by your parents, teachers, and other role models? How effective were these strategies?

How wouldyou describe your current attitudes toward drug use?

How did the articles we readfor today affect your attitudes about drug use?

Finally, students will begin to discuss the presentations they will make to the class during the fifth lesson. The assignment for the presentation will be as follows:

Based upon your collective experiences with drug use, abuse, and prevention, and your reading of the materials associated with this module, you are to design a 15-20 minute presentation, which will be presented to the entire class on the fifth day of this module, which addresses the following questions:

Given prevalent attitudes about drugs among the students you are planning to teacher (whether elementary, secondary, or K-12), what one drug abuse prevention strategy is MOST likely to be successful?

What historical lessons lead you to believe that the strategy will be successful?

What personal experiences of the members of your group lead you to support the strategy?

What are the philosophical assumptions behind this strategy?


LESSON 3: Overview of history of drug abuse and prevention

As a supplement to the web site, a 45 minute lecture will be given on the history of drug abuse and prevention in America, beginning in pre-Revolutionary times and continuing into the 1990s. The lecture will include a presentation of data (available on vanous links on the SAPPHIRE site) on the prevalence of drug abuse at various times in American history. Students will be encouraged to ask questions based upon their reading of SAPPHIRE materials and to bring up for discussion issues and concerns which have been raised in their small groups.

Additional time will be provided for students to work on small group presentations.


LESSON 4: Discussion of alternative philosophies of drug abuse prevention

The various drug abuse prevention strategies highlighted in the previous lesson will be categorized according to underlying philosophies, which wifl also be related to theories about virtue previously presented in the course (by Socrates, Protagoras, Aristotle, Luther, Locke, Jonathan Edwards, Rousseau, and Dewey). Again, students will be encouraged to ask questions based upon their reading of SAPPHIRE materials and to bring up for discussion issues and concerns which have been raised in their small groups.

Additional time will be provided for students to work on small group presentations.


LESSON 5: Presentation by small-groups of strategies for drug abuse educational

Given that there will be at least 5 groups, these presentations will probably be spread out over a number of days, which will most likely include other experiences not directly tied into this module. After each presentation, a time will be set aside for discussion.  Questions to consider will be:

What reasons do we have for believing that the given strategy will be effective?

What reasons can be found for thinking that the given strategy may not work?

Can the given strategy be combined with other strategies presented so far to present a potentially more effective, "multi-modal" approach?

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Evaluation of the effectiveness of this module will take several forms.

Effectiveness of introduction to the web and the SAPPHIRE web site will be evaluated through observing students in the computer lab and by collecting data on the number of "hits" on SAPPHIRE'S pages.

Effectiveness of presentation of historical material on drug abuse prevention will be analyzed by including an essay similar to the following on the final exam:

Discuss the major strategies employed for drug abuse prevention in America during the past 3OO years. Which of these strategies were most effective, and why?


Effectiveness of presentation and discussion of alternative philosophical approaches to drug abuse prevention will be assessed through assigning a short (2-3 pages) written assignment dealing with a question similar to the following:

Compare and contrast at least three philosophical approaches to drug abuse prevention. Of the three, which makes more sense to you, and why?

Effectiveness of the small group project will be evaluated by observing the results and the discussions. Each presentation will be evaluated according to the following criteria (which will be made available to the students at the beginning of the module):

Did the presentation address the four questions clearly?

Did all of the students contribute toward the presentation? (Each participant will fill out a form which describes the contribution of each other participant.)

Did the presentation generate interest and discussion among the other students?

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