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Training Teachers as Health Promoters


Abstract


In the context of the global changes that affect families and communities, including the current COVID-19 pandemic, today's young people face new threats to their health and most of them lack adequate nutrition, healthcare services and education. As children and adolescents spend a significant amount of their time at school (or remotely connected with teachers, as occurred in these last months of health emergency), educators have the great opportunity to positively contribute to their global growth, fostering physical, mental and social wellbeing, which has also a significant impact on students' academic achievements. Nowadays, training teachers as "health promoters" allows educational system to deal more effectively with health needs of the students, helping them in the prevention of risky behaviours (cigarette smoking, binge drinking, drug use etc). According to the recommendations provided by the World Health Organization and UNESCO, we highlight the need for pre-service and in-service teacher training on the major topics concerning young people health, as well as COVID-19 safety issues. Moreover, teachers should be trained on the most participatory and pro-active methodologies to effectively convey health-related contents in school setting, in order to trigger a personal interiorization of the knowledge acquired by the students, and to engage them in practical actions about healthy lifestyles (i.e. balanced nutrition and physical exercise, no smoking, no alcohol, no drugs). Teacher training on health topics enables educators to develop a new professional identity based on a health-centered vision, in the perspective of reducing social/health inequalities that still concern most disadvantaged children. Medical professionals and pedagogists could be appointed as available consultants respectively for training teachers on health contents and about the most effective didactic strategies useful for displaying educational interventions in school setting aimed at preventing unhealthy habits among young people. Health education should be included in scholastic curricula within scientific disciplines or treated as separate subject in extracurricular activities under direct responsibility of school staff.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i25327518v4i1p37

Keywords: Teachers Training; Health Promotion; Prevention; Risky Behaviours; School; Health Pedagogy

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