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Planning considerations

Before planning a unit of teaching and learning about body image, teachers will need to have established a supportive, co-operative, learning environment in their classroom. They will also need to be aware of the system of pastoral care or referral for support that operates within the school, should individual students require additional support.

Teachers need to be acutely aware of the attitudes, values, and behaviours that they promote in their classrooms, both in formal lessons and by example. They need to ensure that they avoid reinforcing negative, discriminatory attitudes and that they promote practices that are genuinely inclusive of the diversity that exists among their students.

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Teachers and other staff may need to assess their own attitudes and behaviours about weight so they don't inadvertently model body dissatisfaction or promote size discrimination.

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Ikeda, 1995, p. 108

In this resource, Critical Thinking and Action is a key concept. Help to develop this concept are in the possible learning experiences.

When planning learning activities for eight- to ten-year-olds, consider their current self-perceptions and identity development. Within this age group, gender, cultural (ethnic, family, urban or rural), age, and maturational differences will all impact on how much or how little body image is an issue. Undertaking some diagnostic work, which can be done as an integral part of the teaching and learning programme (see the Class Culture activity), can provide insights into your students' perceptions of body image and will be very helpful in directing planning. Undertaking a diagnostic activity also provides your students with an opportunity to have some input in planning a unit of work. This helps to increase their motivation and ensure that their needs are met.

Some activities that deal with sensitive issues include a note of caution for the teacher. To distance students from such personal issues as ethnicity, cultural practices, different abilities, and different gender roles, it may be helpful to introduce these ideas in social studies and language programmes before exploring them at a more personal level through health education.

Everybody Belongs should not be the first health education unit of work undertaken in the year as it needs to be preceded by teaching and learning about self-worth, interpersonal skills, and relationships, using activities like those provided in Creating Positive Classroom Communities and Adventure Experiences in the School Grounds.

Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes provide a clear focus for teachers and students and describe the learning that is expected to occur as a result of particular activities. In this book, the learning outcomes are linked to achievement objectives as follows.

A learning need is identified. For example, your students may need to contribute to guidelines for creating a working environment in which sensitive issues can be safely expressed and discussed. This learning outcome can be linked to level 2, strand D, achievement objective 3 and is therefore identified as related to achievement objective 2D3.

To help students to achieve this learning outcome, teachers could refer to the learning experience Making a class korowai and assess students' learning when the students contribute to their class guidelines.

Factors affecting learning

Research into key factors that have a positive effect on students' learning (Hattie, 1999) indicates that innovative, responsive teachers can make a real difference to the achievements of their students. The single most significant factor is feedback. Teachers who provide feedback to students, giving them frequent information about how well they have understood and performed the current learning task, are giving them real, practical help that will have positive results.

Effective teachers give feedback; they also set specific, appropriate, and challenging goals for their students. Students who are involved in setting these learning goals and who then receive feedback while working towards them are more committed to achieving the goals and do, in fact, achieve better results.

Innovation is important. Teachers who consistently review their practices and try out new models, methods, and processes are likely to improve the quality of learning for their students.


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