The Need for Training Phase -Level 2 Group Studies
By Gregg Fischer, Curriculum Director, Global Teen Challenge
It can be very distressing to hear of students that did not complete the program, or one that completed, graduated and then relapsed. What could we have done differently? I want to address the importance of having Training Phase Group Studies (months 5-12) to prepare our students for success after graduating from the program.
A Little History
When I first started working with Teen Challenge, most centers operated as induction centers where they would receive students and disciple them for 4-6 months before sending them to a training center where they would continue another 8-10 months to complete the program. The first 4-6 months, the induction phase, is where the students would go through the 14 GSNC/GSNL classes as well as several basic contracts of the PSNC/PSNL material. In the training center, they had a strong, developed curriculum to continue the discipleship process and prepare the students for a successful life after the program.
As new centers opened and others transitioned to a one-year program model, the training phase curriculum has not always transitioned as well or has been phased out altogether. As a result, students are missing much of the valuable training they need before they reenter society.
Develop your own training phase/Level 2 Group Studies
Since the Teen Challenge does not have a curriculum for level 2 Group Studies, you get the opportunity to create and personalize your own. Since discipleship is part of our DNA, we need to keep in mind that we are not a Bible school, so we want to keep the courses relevant and practical for the student population in our programs.
When I developed the training phase at the center where I was working, I used many different sources for our materials. I borrowed material from other centers, purchased DVD series, developed study guides, had guest teachers present topics, and developed my own courses. Here is a list of courses that are currently being used at some centers. Adult and Teen Challenge’s website https://staff.teenchallengeusa.org/advanced-studies-for-new-life-in-christ/ has many great recommendations.
There are certain topics that all will want (and need) to cover such as relationships, marriage, and family. More often than not, we also want to include training in conflict resolution, spiritual warfare, prayer, and forgiveness. You may want to develop special courses geared for your population, men, women, adolescents, mothers with children. Keep in mind your students will also need training in life skills like money management, GED courses, resume writing, and how to interview for a job.
How can you make this work in the daily schedule? First of all, you will want to continue using PSNC/PSNL all the way through the program. Now, with Group Studies, you will have a Level 1 and your own personalized Level 2 Group Studies class each day. You may want to have all students in the Personal Studies at the same time and then have the students go to their respective Group Studies classes. Another way is to have Level 1 in Personal Studies while Level 2 is in Group Studies and then swap places. This works well and gives you a smaller group in Personal Studies and allows more time for teacher-student interaction. This is a great opportunity for your staff to speak into students’ lives as you involve more staff as part of your teaching team.
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, feel free to contact me. [email protected]