A thorough examination of your personal bias also includes considering the ways your teaching strategies and instruction style could affect your students. Once we recognize that biases and perspectives are inherent in any topic, we can take steps to understand the values, assumptions, possible motives and underlying messages in what educators and students say in class. Below, you will find ideas to help you plan for class discussions regarding Healthy Living.
Planning for Discussions Regarding Healthy Living
- Reflect on, recognize, and identify your own biases, prejudices, stereotypes, and capacity for discrimination.
- Create clear and consistent classroom norms.
- Guide interactive discussions rather than using direct instruction or lectures.
- Ensure that in group discussions students respect, protect, and promote the sharing of individual views. Tell students that diverse views are expected and encouraged.
- Reinforce that classrooms are not platforms for any one individual to dominate with one perspective.
- Think carefully about sharing personal information or views. Educators’ opinions carry great weight with learners.
- Recognize and respond effectively to biases, prejudices, stereotypes, and discrimination that are evident in the classroom.
- Model appropriate behaviour for students to follow, providing them with opportunities to respectfully participate in discussion that promotes the development and growth of understanding.
- Teach students to think about their responses before offering them. This teaches them to avoid acting on impulse or responding emotionally, actions that may exclude those around them and create barriers to discussion.
- Plan how you will manage conflicting opinions in the course of classroom discussions. Students’ thoughts and values must be respected regardless of ancestry, culture, race, ethnicity, body size, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical or intellectual ability, socio-economic status, religion, or spiritual beliefs.
- Use different strategies and groupings for instruction depending on the particular needs of your students. Be sure strategies and groupings are conducive to this learning about healthy living. Consider using small groups, groups separated by gender, and co-educational groupings.
Not only do educators need to create an inclusive environment and examine their biases, they also need to adopt a holistic and integrated approach to support students in developing the health literacy required to navigate a twenty-first century world. The following section provides a summary of this approach for use when planning and delivering a quality H&PE program.