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Why study health education?

Health education supports the curriculum’s vision for our young people, by enabling students to develop the values, knowledge, and competencies to live full and satisfying lives.

Through their engagement with health education, students develop the competencies to become confident, connected, actively involved, lifelong learners, ready to contribute to the future well-being of New Zealand.

[Health education is about] … learning to accept and see differing perspectives to an issue. Being aware of the main ethical issues New Zealand faces. If someone has a problem, looking at the determinants and factors that may have made the person that way for example, learning not to judge someone, and helping by finding the cause, not just curing the disease.

Year 13 student, Quoted from Gillian Tasker’s (2006) paper: “It makes you think outside the square”: Examining the relationships between students’ perceptions of their learning in senior secondary Health Education, the proposed Key Competencies, the Schooling Strategy 2005–2010 and learning in the knowledge rich age of the 21st Century.

Learning in health education

Supports personal growth

Health education encourages students to:

  • manage their own well-being; make health-enhancing choices, and plan, and action goals
  • support the well-being of others; learn how to communicate effectively and see issues from different perspectives
  • be resilient; learn to identify and minimise risks, develop strategies for coping with adversity, and access and use support, for themselves and others
  • understand the attitudes and values that impact on well-being, such as respect, care and concern for others, and social justice
  • contribute meaningfully and responsibly to the well-being of communities; look critically at well-being issues affecting communities, and plan and take collective action.

Challenges thinking about what is fair and just

Students learn to analyse, evaluate, and, where appropriate, take action to enhance the well-being of individuals, communities, and society. Students are challenged to think critically about a range of personal and societal health-related perceptions and practices.

Builds resilience and explores issues

Health education explores current issues relevant to adolescents, such as sexuality and relationships, drug and alcohol use, and how to build resilience in order to manage change and stressful situations.

Creates learning pathways

Learning in senior health education provides the foundation for pathways to the social and health sciences (education, psychology, sociology, philosophy, politics, law, economics, medicine, health, justice, and social services).

Develops skills for health promotion

By looking critically at issues that affect individual and community well-being, students learn to processes information and develop skills that can be used to take health-promoting action.

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Last updated November 27, 2011