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Health education in schools
The challenge of teacher training
The aim of health education is to help all young people gradually to acquire the resources that they need in order to make choices and exhibit responsible behaviour concerning both their own health and that of others. It therefore enables young people to be effective citizens. The role of the school system is, therefore, to help students to develop this capacity to decide for themselves and to take responsibility for their own health. In view of this fact, health education is not a matter for specialists; rather, it is part of the daily work of adults who are responsible for the education of children and adolescents.
For primary and secondary teachers, health education is one of many tasks. Their training in this area cannot therefore be limited to a series of information sessions about health-related themes. A truly appropriate training system must be carefully integrated with the other aspects of the modern teaching profession, and must be placed at the heart of any plan to redefine teaching. Addressing such "live issues" of citizenship with students is a way of enabling them to draw connections between what they learn academically and their own experience, and thus to create their own identities as teachers.
The purpose of this work is to make explicit the various pitfalls that can arise in health education training, and to offer the reader some tools to deal with them.
It is aimed at all those involved in training, at professionals from various disciplines and working in various institutions, and has been designed to help produce a culture that is common to the various stakeholders, working in the context of a partnership.