234766 College health promotion using a popular education approach: Pedagogy, practice, and lessons learned

Monday, October 31, 2011

Christie Barcelos, MPPA , School of Public Health and Health Sciences, Division of Community Health Education, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA
My Body/My Health (MBMH) is a general education undergraduate health promotion course at a large, public university in the Northeast. The course promotes individual and community wellness on health topics germane to undergraduate college students, including general wellness, substance use and abuse, nutrition and body image, sexual health, sexuality and relationships, etc. MBMH uses a popular education approach that draws on adult learning pedagogy, social justice principles, and theories of community health behavior. One of the key objectives in MBMH is to facilitate a learning process that leads to critical thinking and change in health attitudes and behaviors. Although often perceived as “less academic” than other courses, MBMH challenges students to examine deeply held assumptions and think in new ways. Non-formal readings, problem-posing and experiential exercises, interactive lectures including performances, films, and guest speakers replace traditional post-secondary educational practices such as textbook readings and memorization of terms and concepts. Student learning is assessed not on exams, but through reflective journaling, participation in group discussions, and completion of community service. The course expects students to be active learners, relate what they learn to their lives, and engage in dialogue with both the instructor and other students on the topics covered. Lessons learned include the need to keep high standards along with a commitment to non-formal teaching and learning; humility and patience in working with students accustomed to a “banking style” of higher education; and the importance of being explicit about the unique course approach in order to guide student expectations.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe the pedagogy of a general education undergraduate health promotion course that utilizes a popular education approach. Identify at least five practices that the course utilizes in order to promote individual and community wellness in health issues germane to college students. Analyze at least three lessons learned that can help guide other popular education approaches to undergraduate health promotion.

Keywords: College Students, Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am the head teaching assistant for the health education course described in the paper.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.