Training Materials: Boys Own: Supporting Self-Esteem and Emotional Resourcefulness

Training Materials: Boys Own Boys Own: Supporting Self-Esteem and Emotional Resourcefulness
 Simon Blake and Rob Brown, Centre for HIV & Sexual Health
 ISBN: 095318983X, £25


The title of this training resource is a little misleading, as its main focus is to consider how to work with groups of boys on issues of relationships and sexual health, writes Geoff Corbishley.

It is based on “Boys Own” groups that have been running in the UK since 2001. It has 72 pages divided into three sections. Section one asks how do boys learn to be men, and covers where boys obtain their information – friends, school, the internet and so on. The information is brief and unenlightening.

Section two offers a discussion on working with boys and suggests some simple groupwork techniques, which many groupwork books do more effectively. It then covers areas where the groupwork might be undertaken, which reads like a report to policy makers.

Section three offers 10 groupwork ideas. Each is divided into objective, methods and learning. While the ideas are sound, there is an assumption that the worker will already be equipped with the skills and knowledge to manage what comes from the group.

It is difficult to understand what this “pack” is aiming to achieve. It would have been helpful to have had far more information about the original Boys Own groups. How many boys have attended over the four years? What follow up studies have been done and what have they shown? What was the age range? Furthermore, the book makes no reference to any legal issues around sex education.

The first two sections seem wordy and mostly unnecessary. The last section of exercises would be better offered as free or cheap downloads. It could have also done with better editing, as there are an unnecessary amount of typing errors throughout.

Geoff Corbishley is a professional foster carer

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