Philosophy of Health Education

1 January 2017

All the strategies, activities, and services offered by, in, or in association with schools that are designed to promote students’ physical, emotional, and social development make up a school’s health program by the American School Health Association. This is just one of the many definitions of health and health education there is to be found. To understand my philosophy of health education, you may first need to know what I think health means to me. I like to believe that health is an ongoing process that is very individualistic and is coupled with wellness that everyone is constantly changing.

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I think this is because in certain points in your life certain aspects of wellness play a bigger role in your life than others. For example if a person is struggling spiritually or emotionally this does not make them an unhealthy person, this simply means that they are not as balanced as they could be in the aspect of all the other wellness areas. But just because they are lacking in those two areas, there can be other aspects of wellness such as social or mental that may be compensating for their suffering in the other areas.

I think that perfect balance of all seven aspects of wellness is hard to achieve, and that as long as the person feels that they are able to function in society without disruption of one of the aspects of wellness affecting them they can be defined as a healthy person. Based on this definition, my philosophy on health education is based around people making the right decisions and carrying out these decisions to help maintain or improve their current state of health and wellness they are at.

First off I think that when educating students, educators should focus on getting students to critically think about situations and how it can affect their actions and vice versa. I think in doing this I can teach my students that what ever situation is in life, at some point they should be pleased with their decisions and actions, which will help build their self-esteem, which in turn can make the students at a higher level of wellness which in turn will create a more healthy person.

When the students decisions and behaviors are modified, then it in turn can help modify the health and wellness of their group of friends, the classes they are in, which in turn can create change in the school, community, and can go on and on. I feel that in providing the students with the knowledge to make right decisions and reasons to support why they are the right decisions based on what the school policy or community believes can help them because sometimes students have an idea of what is the right decision to make but do not know how to carry this out and do not know how to defend their stance.

While this will obviously not work on every student it will hopefully help more students to make the “right decisions”. A current example of this would be to not text and drive. A student can make the decision in their head or even on paper to not text and drive but then their friends may pressure them into answering a text, so as an educator you can provide them with reasons why this is a good choice and how they can carry out this decision and not give into peer pressure.

After giving the students the basic facts and a few examples of how to stand up for their beliefs you should also give the students a chance to practice this because we all know some things are easier said than done. Also you do not want to only say this is bad this is good on topics you present, I feel like students will find teachers more credible if you address the other side of the situations you present them.

So basically you can not just say do this not that, this is wrong this is right and be done, rather you should elaborate and let students have a say as well to advocate for both of the sides of a topic. Next I think that the focus on health education varies depending on what grade level you are teaching and what topic you are talking about. For the most part though I think that healthy behaviors should be addressed and reinforced, but also there are times when you should advocate for change. The only problem about advocating for change is the student’s readiness to change.

For example if the students do not think what they are doing is wrong they will likely ignore your lessons to them, but I think coupled with my previous philosophy, despite the student’s readiness they will at least hear your message and hopefully think about it and eventually make a change in their behaviors. An example of this is if you are teaching middle school health education and you are talking about personal hygiene some students may not think that deodorant is necessary for them to use at this point in their lives, while others have been using it for a while.

I think in presenting the reason for presenting this will help reinforce the positive behavior of students that are already using deodorant and bring light to this topic for those who aren’t and hopefully will help them change. In talking about this too the students can also help support each other with this change by making this topic less taboo and possibly opening it up for more comfort level in hygiene and cleanliness in the students, which can benefit the student’s physical, social, and possibly emotional and mental aspects of wellness.

Finally I think that success in health education can be defined by both the choices students make coupled with this though is how their choices affect the way they function in society. I feel that if I provide students with the materials to make the right choices and carry out the decisions in their behaviors as well as correcting behaviors that may not be the best but also reinforcing their “correct” decision making and thinking then the health education is successful.

I feel that as long as you present the students with all needed materials and try to address concerns the best you can and answer any questions they may have then the rest is up to them, and as long as you see some change in the student’s behaviors and/or thoughts, or you see improvement of already established thoughts and behaviors then you have succeeded as a health educator. If not then something in your curriculum needs to be changed.

While I know you can not change every student to be the ideal person, you can certainly give them everything you can to try to change it. Ultimately the decision is up to the students and how open they are to this change. Thus, health education must be looked at as a systematic process to help individual students along a path to improving their individual health and wellness to a higher level than they enter your class.

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