The [Virus] of Choice Has Changed

You know what topics we weren’t taught to teach in college? Preventing HIV with PreP, vaping cessation, sex trafficking, opiate addiction, and COVID-19 to name just a few.

And what does society want us to add to our curriculum to address the latest health crisis?  Preventing HIV with PreP, vaping cessation, sex trafficking, opiate addiction, and COVID-19 to name just a few.

I’ve spent the longest time promoting skills-based health education (SBHE) by saying that the drug of choice will change but the skills needed to address those drugs will never change. Some teachers push back, thinking that SBHE is too rigid, but never before has the flexibility of SBHE been apparent with the rampant nature of the current coronavirus pandemic.

In the days before schools across America closing, I had already woven the coronavirus into my lessons.

Students asked if we could discuss, and educate ourselves on the virus, so we practiced the ability to access valid information to enhance health. (NHES 3) Thank goodness for the CDC!

By the end of the week, students applied the DECIDE model to demonstrate their ability to use decision-making skills to enhance health. (NHES 5) Many students wrote about coronavirus-related scenarios regarding spring break plans, or wether to abide by social distancing guidelines instead of hanging with friends.

When planning your health curriculum there are things you MUST teach, things you SHOULD teach, and things you’d LIKE TO teach. Your curriculum is not set in stone and should reflect your state guidelines, the needs of your community, AND the hot topics in society today. The most contemporary content available is likely to be waiting for you in your social media feed.

If you have not updated your health curriculum in a while, I urge you to make it as contemporary as possible, as inclusive as possible, and as engaging and interactive as possible. Listen to your students, listen to teachers who are sharing successes from their SBHE journey, and pose questions to your professional learning network.

Ask yourself what proven strategies can you borrow and adapt for your classroom? What ideas have worked for you that can be shared with the health community?

If you are looking for an example of how SBHE can be applied to a variety of content areas AND delivered in a non-traditional way, then you HAVE to check out the excellent work of Cairn Guidance and the KAHPERD health cadre.

This is the first in a series of microblog posts for #slowchathealth. Look for these concise blog posts being shared during the first full week of April. Search for #slowchathealth and #microblogs to find the full series once they have been posted.

Please contact me if you want to write a microblog (or something longer) and we can make this happen. The #slowchathealth blog site has a growing, global readership. Consider amplifying your message by sharing your passion for health education with us.



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