A training of psychologist teachers for the use of the Ladya program for primary prevention of HIV/AIDS and risk behavior among teenagers took place in December 2010 at the city Diagnosis and Counseling Center in Rostov-on-Don. It lasted for 72 hours. On graduation, the students were given graduation certificates.
In January 2011, many specialists trained for the use of the Ladya program began practicing it at their work places. Among these places was Municipal Evening School No. 5. An evening school is special in that, along with sportsmen, musicians and artists who combine studies in two schools, specialized and evening, it is attended by socially and pedagogically neglected children and those who for various reasons did not go to school for many years at all. The age of those who comprise a class is from 14 to 30. This gap often causes conflicts due to the students’ different views of life and values and desire to assert themselves in the eyes of the others. Many of children of 15 and 16 have had the hard school of life and experienced what their mates have never even dreamed of, but they are unable to confide their feeling, to help themselves in their loneliness, to find ways of settling conflicts, to distinguish friends from pals.
Ladya lessons were held for ninth-graders by psychologist teacher Tatiana Nechaeva, who had been trained for the use of the Ladya program. The primary methods used in classes was personal training in which conditions are created for students to assimilate traditional spiritual and moral values and to develop motivation for a healthy way of life and responsible behavior.
The initial diagnosis defined before the Ladya classes in the form of questionnaire pointed to a great number of children in the class with low self-evaluation and high anxiety and aggressiveness.
First lessons were held with a group of seven students. Each lesson lasted for two hours (two lessons). In the beginning the children refused to join hands, were reluctant to divide into groups (which is a necessary condition for some Ladya exercises) and refused to have their photos taken. They showed stiffness and complexes. But gradually, thanks to joint activities (drawing and physical exercises) the barriers became fewer, group solidarity grew and they ceased to react to flashes, being carried away by their tasks. A class went without a pause; the students liked to work in the form of training. It is evidenced by the fact that by the 7th lesson, the number of students in the group increased to 14, with nobody dropped out. Beginning with the fourth lesson, the silent ones joined group discussions; they no longer interrupted them but rather listened carefully without criticizing. Their most favoured occupation was drawing, making collages and working in micro-groups. They were increasingly serious and attentive in listening to parables, which abound in the Ladya program. The parables were followed by an emotional discussion, with students ready to give examples from their own life. Their confidence in the trainer grew with each lesson. As a result, there was an increase in the number of personal counseling sessions initiated by students who wished to sort out their personal problems. The group became much more united – this was also noticed by teachers of other disciplines. The school results improved. Openness and sincere laugh, a healthy and friendly atmosphere in the group – this is how the students can be characterized only after 9 lessons under the Ladya program.
Other schools in Rostov-on-Don also have a positive experience of teaching according to the Ladya program. It is planned to continue the training under it.
Valery V. Dutov, Ladya Program Coordinator Rostov-on-Don