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The perceived value of Health Education in schools: New Zealand secondary teachers’ perceptions

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The purpose of this study was to investigate New Zealand (NZ) secondary1 health education (HE) teachers’ perceptions of the value various stakeholders attribute to HE and to identify enablers and barriers to effective implementation of school HE policy. In 2009, secondary HE teachers from NZ completed an anonymous questionnaire about their perceptions of key stakeholders’ value of HE and what the participants viewed as enablers and barriers to the implementation of effective HE programmes in their schools. Qualitative and descriptive data were collected and responses to open-ended questions were analysed using content analysis. There appeared to be tensions between policy and curriculum expectations and school-based curriculum decision-making. This suggested that HE was marginalized in many of the schools and HE teachers experienced challenges in implementing effective HE programmes. Indicators of value for the subject emerged and included stakeholders’ understandings of the HE curriculum, the position of HE within a school, and stakeholder responses to HE. In conclusion it is argued that the realities of secondary HE need to be improved to address the well-being of our youth.

Keywords: health education; secondary school curriculum; teacher response; value judgement

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Faculty of Education at Victoria University of Wellington, Donald Street Karori, Wellington, 6012, New Zealand

Publication date: August 1, 2013

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