ERG SES H 01, Parallel Session H 01
This paper discusses the findings from a qualitative research aimed at exploring teachers' attitudes and opinions in relation to health education in schools, and their views on organizational factors which promote or inhibit implementation of municipal health promotion interventions in schools. The research is linked to a local health promotion project in a municipality i Denmark,focusing on strengthening school health education through targeted actions to involve pupils in healthy eating and physical activity. The project is funded by The Danish School of Education, Aarhus University and Ministry of Science.
Theoretical framework of the research is shaped by the discourse of critical health education, characterized by emphasis on holistic health,pupil participation and action competence. This approach is also reflected in the ministry’s objectives and provisions for health education in primary schools in Denmark as outlined in the national curriculum guidelines for health education.
The underlying hypothesis is that there is a gap between the conceptual ground in the guidelines and policy on the one side and the health education practice on the other side. The study aims to understand this gap by exploring teachers' attitudes, opinions and competences related to health promotion and health education, as well as organizational factors influencing teachers' practice. To test this hypothesis I use Mains theory about teachers' teaching practice, and Greens precede-proceed model which explains how organizational factors influence teaching practice.
The teacher is the fundamental agent in school health programmes, and research confirms that there is an association between teachers' conceptions of teaching and their teaching practices. In Denmark every primary school teacher can be appointed to teach health. However, many teachers do not have formal skills or prior experiences with health education. For some teachers, participatory health education is in contradiction with their regular teaching practice.
Against this background, the objectives of the study include:
- to explore how interventions focusing on food, physical exercise and action competence are implemented in the everyday school practice of health education
- to explore teachers' attitudes, opinions and competences in relation to health education: specifically food, physical activity and action competence
- to explore organizational factors which influence educational change
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