A resource for teaching respectful relationships
The Good Society is a new resource for teaching respectful relationships education in Australian schools. It is an engaging, flexible, online program that helps students in all year levels develop safe, healthy and respectful relationships, with all content linking directly to the Australian Curriculum.
The Good Society is a key part of the Australian Government’s Respect Matters program. The program was funded as part of the 2015 Women’s Safety Package with the aim of changing the attitudes of young people towards violence, including domestic, family and sexual violence.
The Council of Australian Governments identified that providing engaging and informative respectful relationships education to all Australian students is one of the key ways to bring about long-term generational change in social attitudes to gender and violence.
The Good Society and the Respect Matters program are part of the Australian Government’s support of The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022.
Digital-first, content-rich design
The Good Society is an online resource containing playlists of rich media content, videos, animations, podcasts, stories, slides, PDFs and web pages, that can be viewed in the classroom or assigned to students for individual study.
Changing culture and attitudes through conversation
The Good Society is designed to get students thinking, reflecting and talking - with each other, with school staff and with their family. Through repeated conversations and reinforcement of key concepts and skills, it is possible to bring about shifts in attitudes and sustained cultural change that promotes respect and lessens disrespect, violence and abuse.
Freely available to all
Creating an account is only required for the group management feature, where teachers can favourite playlists, create class groups and modify to hide/show individual resources within a playlist. Teachers can then assign playlists to their class groups for students to interact with and view anonymous polls. For more information on using accounts, see the User guide & FAQs page.
Links to the Australian Curriculum
All content included in The Good Society has been developed to ensure that it aligns with the Australian Curriculum. You will find curriculum links for each topic within each playlist’s teacher guide.
To learn more about how respectful relationships education is embedded within the Australian Curriculum, you can also consult the Respect Matters Curriculum Connection on the Australian Curriculum website.
Three programs for different levels of schooling
Years 10-12 program - Establish, manage and maintain respectful intimate relationships. For more information, check out the Years 10-12 introduction.
Years 7-9 program - Social relationships and the role that identity, group dynamics, attitudes and beliefs can have on the development of respectful relationships. For more information, check out the Years 7-9 introduction.
Years F-6 program - In lower primary, students will focus on forming new friendship groups and navigating shared spaces respectfully; in middle primary, the focus progresses to belonging in different groups; in upper primary, students explore ethical decision-making in personal relationships. For more information, check out the Years F-6 introduction.
Why teach respectful relationships?
Respectful relationships education focuses on teaching students how to form safe, positive and respectful relationships across a wide range of social situations.
Schools have always had a role in socialising our young people, and social and emotional learning is a core component of the Australian Curriculum.
Research has demonstrated that social problems of disrespect, violence and abuse can be significantly reduced by teaching and modelling relationship skills throughout foundation, primary and high school.
What are the goals of respectful relationships education?
Respectful relationships education has three broad goals:
- increase the overall levels of respect, tolerance, equity and access in Australian society
- improve the functioning and wellbeing of school communities throughout Australia
- prevent violence and harm (including physical, emotional, sexual and financial abuse) throughout our lives.
Respectful relationships education supports schools, families and communities to build the skills and understanding of students to interact positively with others and to develop, manage and maintain respectful relationships over the course of their lives.
What is a strengths-based approach?
A strengths-based approach focuses on developing skills and building on existing sources of strength and capability in students to support them to establish and maintain respectful relationships.
More information on strength based education can be found in the Respect Matters learning modules on the Australian Student Wellbeing Hub.
What is a whole-school approach?
We can’t change complex social attitudes and behaviour through isolated classroom teaching. To have real impact, the entire school community needs to model and reinforce the values and skills of respectful relationships. A whole-school approach means staff, students, and the wider community all understand and invest in creating healthy and respectful relationships.
More information on embedding whole-school approaches to respectful relationships education can be found in the Respect Matters learning modules on the Australian Student Wellbeing Hub.