The Dove Self Esteem Project (DSEP) has done a great public service creating resources for body image education in 50 countries:
Our mission is to ensure that the next generation grows up enjoying a positive relationship with the way they look— helping young people raise their self-esteem and realize their full potential.
We’ve partnered with leading experts in the fields of psychology, health, and body image to create a program of evidence-based resources, including parenting advice, to help young people form healthy friendships, overcome body image issues, and be their best selves.
DSEP developed Confident Me, evidence-based body image lessons specifically for teachers and schools. These lessons are free, downloadable tools, designed to allow teachers and schools to run body confidence workshops in their classrooms.
Body image workshops
The workshops allow teachers and students to explore the impact that "image ideals" in the media have on young people’s self-esteem. The workshops explore how society and professional & social media promote an unrealistic “ideal” body. The workshops provide strategies to protect and build self-confidence.
There are two versions of Confident Me: a 5-Session workshop and Single Session workshop. The 5-Session workshop is created to be delivered in five 50 minutes classes and covers more material in greater depth. It is directed at a middle school audience where these lessons may be the kids’ first introduction to a body image discussion.
The Single Session workshop is created to spend one 50 minute class on the material. This is good for older kids who can keep up with a faster pace. The Single Session workshop is a good refresher class for kids who have had some body image discussion in another class.
The material is created to be self-explanatory; teachers don’t need training on it. The Confident Me website has worthwhile 3 minute videos for teachers.
Reseach has verified what make sense to everyone: the more the kids are exposed to the material, the better it sticks. I suggest even for high school, you plan to spend 2 class periods on it, so the material will stick better.
Both workshops give teachers downloadable documents:
- 1. Workshop Teacher Guide: Teacher's lesson plan
- 2. Student Presentation: Slides for use in class
- 3. Student Activity Sheets: Handouts for class
The 5-Session workshop discusses in depth:
- 1. Appearance Ideals - "image ideals" we see in personal and professional media
- 2. Media Messages -- media literacy lesson
- 3. Confronting Comparisons -- comparing our appearance to other people's appearance is not a good idea
- 4. Banish Body Talk -- how the words and language we use around appearance affect people
- 5. Be the Change -- how the culture can be "size-ist" and how it can give anti-fat messages
Single Session workshop covers the following topics more quickly than the Single Session:
- 1. Appearance Ideals
- 2. Appearance Pressures
- 3. Professional and Personal Media
- 4. How can images be manipulated: before and after
- 5. Decoding media messages
- 6. Personal and Social Media
My suggestions for how to use Confident Me in a high school setting
For high school, I recommend spending 2 days on the body image unit. I've seen it used in health class and could be used in advisery. I recommend doing the Single Session on day 1 with a couple minor adjustments, see links and discussion below. I recommend creating a lesson plan for Day 2 from sessions 3 and 4 of the 5-Session workshops on Comparisons and Body Talk - I give you the direct links there below. Also, if you have a third day to spend on it, I'd take the lesson plan below and spend time going at a slower pace through the material, focusing on the kids' discussion.
Day 1: Lesson Plan
SINGLE SESSION: Appearance Ideals and Media Messages
- Appearance Ideals & Appearance Pressures: Teacher's Guide pages 6-10.
- Professional and personal media: how images and messages are distortions of the truth: Teacher's Guide pages 11-17.
- After you finish page 17 in the Teacher's Guide go directly to page 21-24 of the Teacher's Guide.
- Do the Extention Activity. It gets right to the discussion of social media after the discussion of professional media.
- After you finish the Extention Activity, go back to pages 18-20 and do Goal Setting.
- Goal Setting -- Teacher's Guide, pages 18 &19
Day 2 Lesson Plan
Go to Workshop 3 of of 5-Session workshop, Confronting Comparisons.
- Introducing Comparisons, Teacher's Guide page 7 -10 (I skipped the intro material):
- do the worksheet on page 10
- Problems with Comparisons, Teacher's Guide page 11-14
- I skipped the worksheet on page 12
- I skipped the semi scripted role play on page 15
Go to Workshop 4 of the 5-Session workshop, Banish Body Talk.
- Introducing Body Talk Teachers Guide page 7-10
- See if you like the worksheet on Teacher's Guide page 10
- I skipped the video on Teacher's Guide page 11 and used the video on Teacher's Guide page 13, but you can see what you liked here.
- I skipped the exercise on Teacher's Guide page 14, it seemed young for high school students
- Challenging Body Talk on Teacher's Guide page 15
- I skipped the chart on Teacher's Guide page 16, it deals with concepts done in Workshop 1 of the 5-Session, that we haven't done
- I found material on Teacher's Guide pages 17 and 18 very worthwhile.
- The worksheet on Teacher's Guide page 18 needs to make sense with the age of your kids - eyeroll alert