Interpretation of Family Life Education

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Assembling the bits and pieces:
Interpretation of Family Life Education

Family Life Education has endured multiple evolutions, definitions and criteria since its origins in contemporary family science between 1881 and 1920. Currently, Family Life Education has tightened the reigns of its purpose, created fundamental criteria and yet still leads itself to an assortment of interpretations. For the purpose of this paper, I will endeavor to give my individual definition of Family Life Education based on course readings and research, the guiding principle of FLE, a theoretical perspective that supports and, is most relevant to my definition of Family Life Education and, a personal philosophy of ‘education’. What does Family Life Education signify to me?

Depending on the company you keep, this is a potentially loaded question. Within the realm of my present circle, the question does hold a realistic explanation. Family life education has been significant in the historical development of several educational enterprises (Arcus, vol.1, 1993, p.46); therefore, lending itself to the family life professional to select a track that best complements their own philosophies and professional preparation. The definition by the National Council on Family Relations (2006) sums up what FLE means to me, “Family life education is the educational effort to strengthen individual and family life through family perspective. The objective of family life education is to enrich and improve the quality of the individual and the family life.” As a future professional in this distinctive field, I strive to possess the many characteristics of a well-rounded practitioner, including, but not limited to, sound knowledge of the professional content and to function, when needed in a multidisciplinary approach. As the possibilities to individual and family composition are endless, the ability to draw from other disciplines is crucial. It is probable that when working with a family for instance that is struggling with an issue, the family life professional would need to utilize an approach that incorporated all of Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences (1983). In addition, it is also important to note Family life educators have used educational concepts as their solitary approach to ‘multidisciplinary’ intervention (Arcus, vol. 2, 1993, pg. 28) and this approach has created concern amongst scholars and professionals alike. To become multi disciplinary, Arcus (1993) offers that through the use of knowledge from a broader range of disciplines and through greater cooperation among the contributing disciplines, true multidisciplinary approach can be attained. As indicated previously, the composition of individual or family is infinite and special attention needs to be paid to issues of diversity. Within the profession of Family Studies, there is particular emphasis on valuing differences and respecting those distinctions (Arcus, vol. 2, 1993, pg. 28) furthermore, creating effective working relationships with persons served. Lastly, to complete the puzzle of the well rounded practitioner, one must be able to utilize their own life experiences relevant to family life topics and to honestly accept those experiences as not to furnish hypocritical recommendations. To further personalize my definition of Family Life Education, I have compiled some additional ideas. It is unlikely that a professional in the field of Family Studies is wandering aimlessly without purpose or direction. Typically, they are a part of an organization that is providing services to individuals or families with a set of defined needs. Even more likely it is the responsibility of the professional to design, develop and deliver the services needed by means of effective programming. The Family Life professional becomes the program and an effective program does not rest solely on content (Brindis & Davis, et al, 1998, part IV). The professional must mobilize for action by increasing awareness...
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