As every teacher knows, observing is no substitute for doing. Students gain a lot by watching teachers model the proper use of the refusal skills, but they will never be able to internalize the skills completely until they practice them themselves. For AIDS education to be most effective, every student must have the opportunity to engage the skills personally, to practice using the skills in the classroom. This chapter will examine methods teachers can use to bring their students into active contact with refusal skills and the AIDS curriculum.
The most effective method of instilling the refusal skills in adolescents is role-playing. Students learn how to make proper use of the skills through practice and repetition. In order to assure that an AIDS education program is effective, every student must participate in role-plays and must be able to demonstrate, at least once, that he or she is capable of using the skills correctly to handle a risk situation.