It is widely recognised that active learning methods are the most appropriate way to help students acquire skills in the SPHE classroom. All the research done in this area points to the conclusion that the old "Chalk and Talk" methods or "moralising" simply does not deliver results - if the Health Ed. curriculum is to change student attitudes and behaviour, it must be committed to experimental learning methods.
The Learning Cycle:
Experiencing: In stage I students are invited to participate in a structure
activity (i.e. role play/ group discussions etc).
(b) Processing: In stage II the students report back to the class, sharing their reactions.
(c) Generalising: Stage III of the Learning Cycle involves discussion on what can be learned from the experience.
(d) Applying: The fourth stage of the learning process encourages the students to apply the learning to new situations.
2. Why use Group Work?:
points to the fact that experiential learning is more effectively facilitated
by group work than "normal" class work.
Small Group works: This involves dividing the class into small discussion groups of 4-6 students. This has been found to be effective because:
the students say:
"Personal and Social Ed. is an interesting class. It’s a good break from ordinary class where you don’t get to say what you feel. When the class is split up it makes the numbers smaller so more people get a chance to speak. I like doing the group work as it is good fun and it’s a chance to get to know everyone better".
"It is a class really worth having ‘cos I learned about feelings and through this class I made new friends and also learned how to solve my problems about school".
"In P.S.E. everyone gets a chance to speak about themselves and what they are feeling and everyone listens to you and you can trust them not to spread it to everyone."
"You learn how to stand up for yourself and do what you want to do not just because someone else says so."
"I like this kind of P.S.E. group. You can talk to the teacher as a person and not a person higher than you."
Group Tasks include the following:
(a) Case Studies: These are useful as triggers for discussion and problem solving and can be drawn from newspapers, resource books etc.
(b) Role-Play: A fun way of learning. In a role-play students take on role based on real life situation. They get an opportunity to act out a response and to try out and develop personal skills. They may also learn to appreciate a situation from another person’s viewpoint.
(c) Brainstorming: The teacher assigns a topic and the students are asked to volunteer words associated with the topic. These are recorded on a flipchart/BB categorised and discussed.
(d) Artwork: This includes drawing collage and poster work and while particularly useful for weaker classes, is invariably enjoyed by all.
(e) Visitors: Speakers who are invited to the classroom can be an extremely worthwhile resource - provided the class prepares carefully for the visit, plans procedure and questions and the learning experience is processed afterwards.
(f) Games: These can be used to energise a group or calm down an "over-energised" group or calm down an "over-energised" group.
(g) Visualisations/Fantasy: Visualisation involves recalling events that have happened or rehearsing a situation that is likely to happen i.e. visualising a time when you were extremely happy or visualising speaking confidently in front of a crowd.
(h) Video: The use of video in SPHE should be as active as possible. It can be used as a trigger for discussion (freeze the videos at appropriate moments to allow for discussion)
It can also be used in conjunction with a worksheet.
From a Teacher’s viewpoint, evaluation of the outcome of Health Education classes is extremely difficult (and best left to professional evaluators) as we are looking at desired changes in behaviour and attitudes rather than at "knowledge" which can be tested in an exam format. It has therefore been suggested that a process of "Reviewing" is best suited to the work of the SPHE classes.
are a number of methods, which can be used to review the learning in the
(a) Journaling: the students write a short account of the lesson.
(b) Students assign a "Mark out of Ten" to the class depending on how relevant/useful the class was for them.
(c) Students discuss in small groups what they learned from the lesson and report back.
(d) Students finish sentences such as "Today I learned….."
(e) Teachers can also evaluate the lesson using the methods above, keeping a record of ways of improving the delivery of the lesson next time it is used.
Example of Review Sheet.
much did you learn in today’s lesson?
Was it clear what you were doing in this lesson.(a) very clear (b) reasonably clear (c)not clear.
How would you categorise your effort in this class.(a) Excellent (b) good (c) fair (d) poor.
Teacher Review of Lesson.
|(1). Aim of Lesson:|
|(2). Was the Aim achieved?|
|(3). How the lesson went……|
|(4). Feedback from students:|
|(5). What I learned…..|
|(6). Next time I will……|
Form for Pupils (end of year).
Please help us to measure the success of this course by completing the following sentences:
(1) In this class I learned more about……. ________________________________________________________
I didn’t like…..
The hardest activity for me was…..
The most enjoyable activity for me was…..
The course would have been better if…..
Overall I thought the course was…..