08 SES 08, Health-Promoting Schools: Teachers in Focus
Parallel Paper Session
There is growing recognition that education and health are inextricably linked to the school context. Not only are healthy children and young people are more likely to enhance their learning abilities and achieve better academic outcomes but also when they feel good and healthy at school they are less likely to undertake high risk behaviours. In this perspective the International Union for Health Promotion and Health Education has been strongly involved in encouraging and advocating the implementation of the “whole-school health promoting school” concept, in which both health and education sectors must work together in schools.
Health promotion in a school setting has been defined as school activities undertaken to improve the health of all school users, having a broader concept than classroom health education and it includes activities relating to healthy school policies, the school physical and social environment, the curriculum, community links and health services. There are many factors that may either support or impede the implementation and sustainability of health promotion programmes in schools, such as: (i) the institutional context of the school, i.e. the national and local policies concerning health and environmental school issues, (ii) the specific school context regarding the school Head/Principal/Director’s leadership in creating a school climate of trust, respect, collaboration and openness, (iii) pupils’ involvement and compromise with health programmes, and (iv) teachers’ beliefs and teachers’ perception of their role in health education and health promotion, their confidence in their own competencies to be effective in health promotion programmes, which is tightly linked to their specific health training.
Teachers play a central role in the implementation and sustainability of school health promotion programmes as they are the ones able to make the bridge between the school curriculum in the classroom and the whole-school health promotion programmes. It has been shown that teachers must undergo adequate health training in order to develop competencies for the implementation and sustainability of health promotion programmes.
The aim of health promotion programmes is to increase wellbeing and to reduce health risks, as stated by Downie et al. Their model of health suggests that health is a relative value, running in a continuum between two poles, positive health (PH) and negative health (NH).
It is largely documented that self-perceived health may vary among people as a result of their system of values. Such variation may be particularly evident among countries with socioeconomic and cultural differences. The understanding of teachers’ views about health and health education is of paramount importance for the design and planning of adequate teachers’ training courses. Having all this in mind, the present study analysed the health perceptions of teachers and future teachers from 15 countries in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Middle East, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and South America. Respondents were asked to complete a questionnaire where a specific question, among others, was constructed on the basis of the Downie et al. model about having positive health and negative health perspectives
Greenberg MT, Weissberg RP, O'Brien MU et al. Enhancing school based prevention and youth development through coordinated social, emotional and academic learning”. Am Psychol 2003; 58: 466-74. Han SS, Weiss B. Sustainability of teacher implementation of school-based mental health programs. J. Abnorm Child Psych 2005; 33: 665-79. Stewart-Brown S. What is the evidence on school health promotion in improving school health or preventing disease and specifically what is the effectiveness of the health promoting schools approach? Copenhagen: World Health Organization 2006. St Leger L, Kolbe L, Lee A et al. School Health Promotion - Achievements, Challengers and Priorities. In: McQueen DV, Jones CM (Eds.). Global perspectives on health promotion effectiveness. New York: Springer, 2007, 107-24. Ravens-Sieberer U, Freeeman J, Kokonyei G et al. School as a determinant for health outcomes – a structural equation model analysis. Health Educ 2009; 109: 342-56. IUHPE - International Union for Health Promotion and Health Education. Achieving Health Promoting Schools: Guidelines for Promoting Health in Schools. Paris: IUHPE, 2009. Allensworth DD, Kolbe LJ. The comprehensive school health program: exploring an expanded concept. J School Health 1987; 57: 409-12. Barnekow V, Buijs G, Clift S et al. Health-promoting schools: a resource for developing indicators. Copenhagen: Council of Europe, World Health Organization, European Commission, 2006. Downie RS, Tannahill C, Tannahill A. Health Promotion – Models and Values. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. http://www.who.int/hpr/NPH/docs/ottawa_charter_hp.pdf (25/08/2011). Ewles L, Simnett I. Promoting health - A practical guide. London: Baillière Tindall, 1999. Abric JC. A structural approach to social representations in Representations of the social: bridging theoretical traditions. In: Deaux K, Philogène G (eds) Representations of the social: Bridging theoretical traditions. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2001, 42-47. Finnish National Board of Education National. Core Curriculum for Basic Education, 2004.
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Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
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