Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Barbara Hodkin

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Family life education can be defined as “any activity…aimed at imparting information concerning family relationships and providing the opportunity for people to approach their present and future relationships with greater responsibility” (Vanier Institute of the Family, 1971). The purpose of the present research was to identify the needs and interests of high school students and to determine whether their needs and interests were being met in the area of family life education. This author believes it is important to meet the needs of “consumers” of family life education, i.e., the students, because this may increase the possibility that students will use the information and skills in their personal lives. The work presented here was a case study of one secondary school whose family life education program is well-respected, that is, Bluevale Collegiate Institute in Waterloo, Ontario. A total of 278 students and six teachers from Grades 9 and 12 Family Studies, Physical and Health Education, and man in Society courses completed a survey on the goals, teaching methods, and content of family life education. Results indicated that many students want to learn about family life issues in high school. The most frequently listed goal of family life education was to prepare for marriage, parenthood, and family life. Family Studies students in particular aim to learn about family relationships in their courses. Consistent with previous findings, students perceive many family life and health-related topics as important to learn about in high school. Therefore, many students who participated in this survey are interested in learning about family issues. The survey revealed that the Family Studies course contains the most content on family life issues, followed by Physical and Health Education, and then man in Society. Students from all courses want to learn more about many issues, including family life and health topics. In general, students in these courses seem to be learning about many topics which they consider to be important, and they are eager to learn about many issues. Students enjoy learning about family life topics through the use of films, discussion, field trips, and guest speakers. Teachers are presently using many of these teaching methods, and more of these valuable teaching aids should be used. It was suggested that in future studies of this kind, researchers should give careful consideration to the length of questionnaires, the timing of the research, and the possible inclusion of a comparison group. In conclusion, it was found that most students and teachers in this sample think that family life education is an important part of the high school curriculum. many of the students’ interests in family life education are being addressed, especially in the Family Studies course. Family Studies contains the most content on family life issues whereas Physical and Health Education and man in Society courses contain somewhat less content on these issues. Students are eager to learn more about many family and health topics, and it was suggested that more content on family issues be included in the high school curriculum.

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