Every generation of school aged students has confronted real life issues. The term “real life issues” is meant to describe pressing life problems and concerns affecting students’ daily lives. Examples of real life issues include substance abuse (alcohol, drugs, and tobacco), the coronavirus, bullying, sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV/AIDS) and immigration status. The impact of life issues on students is often profound, being difficult to resolve, consequential, enduring, and life-altering. The Curriculum Infusion of Real Life Issues Model (CIRLI) provides a method for teachers to integrate study of real life issues and evidence-based prevention strategies that address these issues into classes across the K-12 curriculum.
This website is designed to be a useful tool for pre and in-service teachers, K-12 administrators, and College of Education faculty. The website:
CIRLI supports student abilities to cope with these problems in a positive manner. It makes classes more relevant to students by addressing their real-world concerns and connects teachers more closely to the students and communities where they work.
CIRLI involves all levels of the school community. K-12 administrators are needed to encourage development of CIRLI programs in their schools. Counselors may base school-wide prevention programming on the CIRLI model. Teachers use the model as applicable to all real-life issues that students confront and incorporate consideration of environmental influences, cultural diversity, social justice, and evidence-based prevention strategies into the design and delivery of innovative curriculum.
CIRLI is designed to positively impact K-12 students from all backgrounds and engages at-risk students. It is an especially important educational strategy for reaching students from low income and minority communities, many of whom are not succeeding in school. Research indicates that the top reason drop-outs give for their disaffection from school is the uninteresting curriculum (Bridgeland et. al. 2008).
This curriculum model aligns with the Common Core State Standards. It provides the context for developing student skills in research, analysis, writing and oral presentations
CIRLI’s emphasis on social emotional learning can build resilience and prevention in response to life issues that often stifle educational and personal development.
The Network for Dissemination of Curriculum Infusion (NDCI) has provided ongoing professional development workshops and resources to educators, from early childhood teachers to university faculty, since 1993. Sources of funding have included the U.S. Department of Education, the State of Illinois Department of Human Services, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Fry Foundation and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Free 5 CPDU online workshop through Northeastern Illinois