Advancing Health Education Pedagogy Through Life-Enhancing and Life-Saving Perspectives, and Backward Design

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Fulfilling a growing need to address the spectrum of problems, perceptions, and practices compromising students’ wellness, and as a tool for health promotion, new approaches to health education can enhance life quality, reduce health costs, and save lives. As one component to the broader area of health promotion, health education provides a valuable contribution to improved individual and community health. The health education course featured in this article approaches health from both life-enhancing and life-saving perspectives, integrating active learning as its primary methodology. Featured course framework, student learning outcomes, assignments, and learning activities may be adopted or refined by faculty and curriculum designers who provide students with community health education experiences including health promotion, disease/injury prevention, and sudden illness response. Course design was informed by Wiggins and McTighe’s Backward Design, national health education and American Red Cross standards, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations. Course learning activities use health education as a strategy in health promotion and disease/injury prevention, and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)/AED (automated external defibrillator)/first aid skills to potentially sustain life, reduce pain, and minimize consequences of injury or sudden illness. Throughout the course, students review and interpret emerging research and services relevant to contemporary health concerns. Subsequently using this knowledge in ways to educate and encourage healthy practices, students design and convey health-promoting messages enhanced by various media. Students attain essential skills by using health education strategies. Additionally, American Red Cross certification may be earned through this course, further developing capacities and skills needed to build a healthier campus community.

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