Online Well-Being Focused Curriculums: A New Approach to Teaching and Learning for K-20 Health Education

Online Well-Being Focused Curriculums: A New Approach to Teaching and Learning for K-20 Health Education

Michelle Lee D'Abundo (Seton Hall University, USA), Stephen L. Firsing III (Coastal Carolina University, USA) and Cara Lynn Sidman (University of North Carolina – Wilmington, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6046-5.ch053
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Abstract

Education and health are among the most salient issues facing Americans today. The field of public health has moved away from a physical health medical model to a more well-being focused quality-of-life perspective. K-20 curriculums in the United States need to reflect this ideological shift. In this chapter, content-focused curriculums with process-focused health behavior change-oriented learning are proposed as a strategy to promote well-being. Other issues that need to be addressed in the current education system are that the delivery of health-related curriculums is often inconsistent and taught by untrained personnel. Well-being-focused curriculums delivered online can provide consistency to improve the quality of health courses. This innovative approach has the potential to improve educational and health outcomes for K-20 curriculums while addressing public health issues by promoting well-being and quality-of-life for children and adults throughout the United States.
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Major Issues With Teaching And Learning About Health In K-20 Environments

Statistics indicate schools have not provided two of the basic components of coordinated school health: comprehensive health education and adequate physical education. According to the SHPPS 2006 report, which is a national survey to assess school health policies and programs at the state, district, school, and classroom levels, it was found that only 6.4% of elementary schools, 20.6% of middle schools, and 35.8% of high schools required instruction on all 14 of the following health topics: alcohol- or other drug-use prevention, asthma awareness, emotional and mental health, foodborne illness prevention, HIV prevention, human sexuality, injury prevention and safety, nutrition and dietary behavior, other STD prevention, physical activity and fitness, pregnancy prevention, suicide prevention, tobacco-use prevention and violence prevention. Regarding physical activity, only 3.8% of elementary, 7.9% of middle, and 2.1% of high schools provided daily physical education or its equivalent (150 minutes per week in elementary schools; 225 minutes per week in middle schools and high schools) for the entire school year (CDC, 2006). Rates of implementation vary by state and district, however, this national report indicates that America’s schools are failing when it comes to comprehensive coordinated health education and physical education.

In theory, coordinated school health makes sense, however, as indicated by the aforementioned SHPPS statistics, the concept is difficult to implement throughout the United States. According to Deschesnes, Martin and Hills (2003), implementing coordinated school health would require a substantial change in the way schools operate. These authors explained, “This involves moving from practices that rely mainly on classroom based health education models to a more comprehensive, integrated construct of health promotion that focuses both on children attitudes and behaviors, and their environment” (p. 387). In this chapter, issues specific to health education are addressed, which is only one essential component of coordinated school health.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Student Well-Being: Described as “the degree to which a student is functioning effectively in the school community” ( Fraillon, 2004 , p. 23).

Lifetime Health and Wellness Courses: Courses designed to promote lifelong well-being through physical activity and topics like behavior change, stress management, nutrition, physical activity program planning, and how to become an informed consume.

Coordinated School Health: The comprehensive approach to school health consisting of eight components: health education; physical education; health services; nutrition services; counseling, psychological, and social services; healthy and safe school environment; and health promotion for staff (CDCb, 2013 AU82: The citation "CDCb, 2013" matches multiple references. Please add letters (e.g. "Smith 2000a"), or additional authors to the citation, to uniquely match references and citations. ).

Quality of Life (QOL): Multi-dimensional perspective of life domains including physical, psychological, level of independence, social relationships, environment, and spirituality/religion/personal beliefs (World Health Organization QOL [WHOQOL] Group, 1995 AU85: The in-text citation "Group, 1995" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Higher Education Faculty Qualifications: According to SACS COC (2006) AU83: The in-text citation "SACS COC (2006)" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. , in order to teach at the undergraduate level, faculty must have a doctorate or master’s degree in the teaching discipline or master’s degree with a concentration in the teaching discipline with a minimum of 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline.

National Health Education Standards (NHES): National health, multi-dimensional and socio-ecological perspective standards established to promote “health-enhancing,” not disease-prevention, behaviors for pre-Kindergarten through grade 12 (CDCc, 2013 AU84: The citation "CDCc, 2013" matches multiple references. Please add letters (e.g. "Smith 2000a"), or additional authors to the citation, to uniquely match references and citations. ).

Well-Being Health Education Curricula: Well-being focused curriculum including the engagement and transformation of students through application of a learned process of behavior change.

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