Health Symposium Vignette 1 Jane is a third grade teacher in a suburban school district.

It is her third year of teaching, and she is starting to finally feel like she can focus on her students’ instead of writing curriculum and developing lesson plans. The first two years were a whirlwind. She reviewed her curriculum maps over the summer and realized she is not teaching health the way she wants to teach it to her students. Although she doesn’t want to admit it, she knows she hasn’t really taught health to her students at all. Visiting with a friend, who is a personal trainer, over coffee during one summer morning, Jane confesses that her health education knowledge and skills has not kept pace with accelerating technological and social change. Her classroom instruction in health encompasses memorizing the four basic food groups, learning how germs are spread, and stressing the importance of hand washing. While discussing her frustration, she vowed to change both the content of her instruction, and her process for instructing her students. In the past, Jane would follow a curriculum guide left by a preceding teacher. She always felt the content was incorrect, and that the materials she was using were dated and medically inaccurate, but she just didn’t have time to make adjustments. She went with what was traditionally taught. When she discussed this with other teachers, she learned she wasn’t alone. Many didn’t cover health in their classroom because they felt it was the job of the physical education teacher. Jane recently learned that the shelf life of health information was five years, so she knew that the materials she was using were outdated. Likewise, she knew there were school board requirements and State and National standards for health. However, these were not part of her current health program. What was most frustrating for Jane was the way she taught health. She was very skilled in teaching the other content areas. She believed in and implemented constructivist techniques in all her other subject areas, but when it came to health, she was not happy with her practice. A majority of the activities she did were low on Blooms Taxonomy. They included word searches, fill in the blanks, and the recall of information. She knew that her elementary students had to, among other things, learn the essentials of safety and personal health, and promote an active lifestyle at both the skill and conceptual level. She was not doing this. She also knew that most of her colleagues were not either. As she began to work on revising her curriculum, she felt overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start.

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