(cohort mean: 72%)
Part 1: Hauora and children’s perceptions of health
Whilst the non-probability sampling, used in the readings provided, cannot be used to infer views of the general population, it does, however, suggest that the New Zealand children involved in the research perceived ‘being healthy’ as a corporeal matter (Burrows, 2009; Burrows, 2008; Powell, 2015). This perspective focused towards physical traits fails to align with the hauora philosophy, whereby physical, social, emotional, and spiritual constituents are present and in balance (Ministry of Education, 2007).
The taha whanau (family) dimension of hauora aims to ensure that students have a feeling of belonging, however, it is evident from the reading that the adoption of body pedagogy’s has had the reverse effect (Powell, 2015). Evidence suggests many children are dissatisfied with their body image, as certain types are privileged and hold more social capital than others (Powell, 2015; shilling, 2004). Even if a child is able to meet expectations and eat five vegetables and exercise for 60 minutes (Burrows, 2008:), their perception of health fails to acknowledge that results vary for individuals, further distancing them from an inclusive environment, valued in taha whanau.
The taha hinengaro (psychological) and taha wairua (spiritual) dimensions of hauora are absent in students perception of health. A possible reason for this is that HPE prioritised physical activity and, as Powell (2015) discovered, meant that emotional and spiritual development had been neglected. Strong influences on why the body pedagogy is being practiced is due to inadequate professional development in HPE (Petrie, Jones, & Mckim, 2007) and neoliberalizing of public education (Powell, 2015).
The children’s narrow perception of health is a strong indication that the New Zealand has failed to embrace the holistic concepts inherent in hauora. The main reason for the children’s perception revolving around taha tinana (physical health) is largely due to educational institutions voluntarily adopting contemporary initiatives that aim to reduce the perceived obesity epidemic through promoting diet and exercise (Burrows & Wright, 2007; Macdonald, Hay, & Williams, 2008), which back benches the other domains.
It is important to understand children’s’ perception of health in order to identify the impact of former HPE initiatives and apply evidence based methods to future programs. It is evident that the body pedagogy had an unforeseen negative impact on children’s perception of health. Research is now suggesting that children be relieved of this “life-long pursuit of thinness as a route to health “and encourages the adoption of all aspects of hauora and “not just the physical” (Liesette, 2009: 34).
Part 2: Underlying concept – Attitudes and values
- Lesson plan
Key area of learning: Mental Health
Year level and curriculum level: Year 6, Level 3
Personal growth and development – Identify factors that affect personal, physical, social, and emotional growth and develop skills to manage changes.
‘Managing self’ is the key competency used for this lesson. Key attributes of this competency are for students to develop self-motivation, a ‘can-do’ attitude, and believing they’re capable learners (Ministry of Education, 2007). ’Managing self’ aligns with the achievement objectives as ‘personal growth’ encourages the development of the aforementioned attributes.
Students will develop their understanding of factors that influence their health and wellbeing (including physical, mental, social, and spiritual) and learn to value the diversity in other people’s beliefs.
II. A detailed learning experience
- Ask students, as a group, “What is health?”, “Describe someone who is healthy”, and “describe someone who is unhealthy”.
- Discuss, with students, the seven dimensions of wellness:
- Social wellness – community, family, friends, responsible communication, cultural competence;
- Emotional wellness – self-awareness, fear, anger, joy, happiness, stress;
- Spiritual wellness – self-esteem, core values, religion;
- Environmental wellness – diversity, acceptance, interdependence, personal impact;
- Occupational/academic wellness – skills, position, goals, satisfaction, competence;
- Intellectual wellness – accountability, reliability, good decision making; and
- Physical wellness – appearance, exercise, nutrition, self-motivation.
- Ask students “What would each dimension look like under ideal circumstances?”, and “What do each of these dimension mean to you?”
- Explain to the students that these dimensions are an important components of what makes a person healthy.
- Explain to the students that they are going to complete a worksheet that has the seven ‘dimensions of health’ listed in separate columns. They are to write about how each dimension relates to them.
- Demonstrate to the students how they are to complete the worksheet by showing them a version that you (the teacher) have completed. Describe your own personal relationship with each dimension.
- Have students complete the worksheet individually.
- Have students discuss their answers in pairs or small groups. Ask them to identify any similarities and differences.
- Once the worksheet is completed, bring the students together as a group and discuss their findings. Lead the conversation, so that students identify that health is a subjective concept that differs between individuals.
This activity provides the opportunity to work co-operatively and to discuss what it means to be healthy. An assessment opportunity is to observe student participation during pair and class discussion.
III. A short transcript
Student 1 – Teacher, I think (Student 2) did it wrong.
Teacher – Tell me why you think that.
Student 1 – In the spiritual section, he wrote “Going to church”, but my family doesn’t do that stuff, so I just wrote “being good”.
Teacher – (Student 2), what kind of things do you learn about in church?
Student 2 – The priest usually talks about how we should help others.
Teacher – Helping others and engaging in a community seems like an important aspect of wellbeing.
Student 1 – Yeah. Could it be that health has a different meaning for each person?
Part 3: Health promotion
In small groups, students will create posters that portray messages of ‘positive relationships’ as part of an anti-bullying campaign. The posters will be displayed around the school and in public domains to promote public awareness. Students will be encouraged to engage with their family and communities in order to develop their understanding of how relationships are an important component of health and well-being. The first section of this project will be dedicated to students conceptualizing their own ideas about what is involved with building positive relationships. They will be encouraged to survey their family and communities (e.g. church or friends), in order to enhance their understanding. Involving parents and community services in health promotion positively effects health-related behaviour (Vreeman & Carrol, 2007). Next, students will work in small groups to create a slogan for their poster and create the artwork to reinforce the slogan’s message. This component requires students to further develop their communication skills as a collaboration and consensus will be required to create a final product.
The outcome of this project is for students to learn about building positive relationships, in relation to wellbeing, and demonstrate communication that enable them to interact appropriately with other people.
It is evident from Carroll-Lind’s (2009) research that many students do not feel safe in school. One reason for this is bullying. A recent study (Adolescent Health Research Group, 2008) found that 6 percent of students reported they were bullied regularly. Furthermore, incidents of bullying were 50 percent above the international average in New Zealand schools. The effect bullying has on victims is serious. Hooper and Dickinson (2003) have found that bullying can cause victims to experience anxiety, depression and poor overall mental health, which also leads to lower levels of academic achievement (Stafford, Moore, Foggett, Kemp, & Hazell, 2007).
Evidence suggests that a supportive school environment has a substantial impact on a students’ wellbeing (Adolescent Health Research Group, 2008). Furthermore, including parents and communities can improve a students’ social outcomes (Hornby & Witte, 2010).
Action areas, from the Ottawa Charter, utilised in this project are ‘creating supportive environment’ and ‘developing personal skills’ (WHO, 1999).
Curriculum level, year level
Year: 6 Level: 3
Two learning intentions
- Students will learn to recognise instances of discrimination and act responsibly (Ministry of Education, 1999: 3D2).
- Students will demonstrate basic strategies to manage the positive and negative interactions with other students (Ministry of Education, 1999: 3D3).
Learning experience #1
- Get permission from the school and other agency’s to hang the posters prior to telling students, in order to avoid disappointment.
- Have a discussion, with the students, about the importance of healthy relationships and ask “what does it mean to be a good friend?” and “how does it make you feel interacting with a good friend?” This discussion helps students identify and adopt positive traits in relationships.
- Now introduce bullying with a brief description and contrast this with positive relationships, through a group discussion.
- Ask students “what are some examples of bullying?” and “how would you feel of this happened to you?” This exercise encourages empathy, an important process for communication and maintaining relationships.
- Now describe a made-up situation were a student is being bullied. Allow students to ask questions to clarify details.
- Ask students to identify possible motives for why the victim and the bully chose to behave the way they did.
- Encourage discussion by asking for possible solutions – “what would you do differently as the victim and/or on-looker?”
- Discuss with the students appropriate responses to bullying, which conforms to the schools policy. Some schools encourage the use of a ‘stop’ hand gesture with the phrase “Enough”. If the phrase does not fit with the class culture then encourage their input for an alternative. Participation encourages ownership of learning and will also increase likelihood of adoption.
- Have students individually create two mind maps. The first will contain words and phrases that a good friend would say and the second will contain phrases that a bully might use. Ensure students use restraint with the phrases and that they are not to be aimed towards another student.
- Review the mind maps and provide feedback to the students. Censor any phrases that are inappropriate.
- In small groups, students will use role-play, based off their mind maps, to act out what a bully might say and students will use the ‘stop’ hand gesture with the phrase
“Enough” as a response.
- Encourage students to survey family and community members and obtain their view about bullying.
- To conclude the lesson, review traits of a good friend, appropriate responses to bullying and answer any final questions.
Learning experience #2
- Briefly describe the topic of bullying from the former lesson and ask students to reiterate how bullying can be addressed. Encourage students to share any insights provided from family and/or community members.
- Explain to the students that they will be creating anti-bullying posters that are going to be placed around the school and community. The objective of these posters is to promote healthy relationships by empowering individuals.
- Students will work on a draft poster, in small groups. The groups must create a slogan and sketch a poster design.
- As students work on their poster, monitor the class for student engagement and encourage all to participate.
- Review the drafts and once corrections have been made, allow students to work on the final poster. If there is not much time in the lesson, students can continue their work at a later date.
- To conclude the lesson ask the students “Where is the best place to put the posters to reduce bullying?”
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