Journal Article

Health Education in Schools—From Information to Empowerment Models

Curt Hagquist and Bengt Starrin

in Health Promotion International

Volume 12, issue 3, pages 225-232
Published in print January 1997 | ISSN: 0957-4824
Published online January 1997 | e-ISSN: 1460-2245 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/heapro/12.3.225
Health Education in Schools—From Information to Empowerment Models

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School is considered to be a very important arena for health education among children and adolescents. Within the field of health education in school, there are nowadays manifold methods, models and directions. A typology of different models for health education in schools is accounted for in this article. The typology is built up partly from the strategy for change—top-down or bottom-up—which is characterized by health education, and partly from the contextual framework— narrow or wide—within which health education is carried on. In this way, four different main types of models can be perceived. (i) Traditional educational models which are characterized by a top-down strategy for change and a narrow contextual framework. These models are mainly practised in the classroom and the pupils are for the most part passive receivers of information. (ii) Modern educational models which are characterized by a bottom-up strategy for change and a narrow contextual framework. In these models the pupils take an active part. These models are mainly practised in the classroom. (iii) Planner models which are characterized by a top-down strategy for change and a wide contextual framework. In these models the entire school, and sometimes also the community outside, is included in health education. The models are often characterized by being health work for, rather than with and by, pupils, even if pupil participation is sometimes focused. (iv) Empowerment models which are characterized by a bottom-up strategy for change and a wide contextual framework. In these models participantorientation is essential and the school environment and social conditions are considered to be important for health education. Empowerment models can partly be seen as an answer to the criticism of principle that health education is traditionally being subjected to as regards aim, direction and contents. In this paper, empowerment models are described and discussed, as a suggestion as to how school pupils can be enabled to participate in a programme of change concerning both lifestyles and environment.

Keywords: empowerment; health education; schools; youth

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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