An Evaluation of the Role of Elementary School Teachers in Kuwait in Promoting Health

By Amari, Hanaa Al- | International Journal of Health Promotion and Education, October-December 2007 | Go to article overview

An Evaluation of the Role of Elementary School Teachers in Kuwait in Promoting Health


Amari, Hanaa Al-, International Journal of Health Promotion and Education


Abstract

The health promoting school concept is now a well-established framework for the development of health promotion initiatives in schools. Teachers who are part and parcel of the school environment can play an important role in evaluating or assessing the extent to which their school environment is supporting health promotion.

This study was designed to assess the perception of teachers about the school environment and the role of the teacher in promoting health education in elementary schools in Kuwait. The findings from this study revealed that elementary school teachers in Kuwait expressed approval of their school environment in promoting health education.

Key words: health education, school teachers, school environment.

Introduction

The concept of health promoting schools has been embraced internationally as an effective way of promoting the health of children (Macomb & Flasher 2004). This concept provides the basis for a broad settings approach to health promotion in schools. Health promoting school initiatives, by their very nature, are grounded in a holistic view of health and should be multifaceted in order to target not just individual lifestyle, but the wider organisational and socio-environmental context of the whole school community. This approach provides a useful framework because it focuses not on the curriculum but on the school environment, community involvement, policy development and appropriate health and social services.

Successfully managing a school environment is an educational investment. Research increasingly shows that there is a clear link between environmental quality of schools and educational performance. Facility management systems determine environmental quality in schools. The quality of the school environment shapes the attitudes of students, teachers and staff. Attitudes affect teaching and learning behaviour. Behaviour affects performance. Performance determines future outcomes of individuals and society as a whole.

Teachers are responsible for promoting health education. The teacher training curriculum emphasises the importance of health education. Moreover, there is a wide variety of resource material for health education; more than any other area of the school curriculum as it relates to different aspects of health. It is a cross-curricular subject, which covers areas like food and nutrition, personal hygiene, environmental factors, psychological factors, health treated exercises, safety, family life education, sex education, substance use and misuse.

Elementary schools are educational institutions where the students study not only what they are learning in the curricular sense, but also their own capability as learners. The instructional programme is based on problem situations through communication, reasoning and problem solving. Evaluation is used as a means of instruction, learning and programming. Healthy lifestyle training should be initiated in childhood to promote health in adulthood and schools provide an excellent setting for introducing comprehensive health education (Nabipour et al 2004).

Evidence suggests that healthy environmental conditions at school shape attitudes and, eventually, the positive performance of students. Appealing environments tend to be free from undesirable sights and influences. Research has proved that many factors contribute to the quality of the school environment. The school location, indoor air quality (Leach 1994), thermal control, noise levels (Lackney 1999) and classroom lighting (Philips 1997) all contribute to student achievement, teacher retention and student health. Linda's (1993) study showed that deteriorating school facilities affect student learning, teacher morale and hence the entire teaching-learning process.

A healthy environment not only means the school's physical structure but its health education and encouragement of healthy behaviour among students (Liberal et al 2005). …

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