Values-driven health agenda formation: innovative experience of regional educational establishments

Dr.Hab., Professor M.I. Lukyanova1
Associate Professor, PhD L.P. Shustova1
Associate Professor, PhD S.V. Danilov1
1Ulyanovsk State University of Education, Ulyanovsk

Keywords: health, values-driven health agenda, innovative activity, regional innovative platforms, subjects of educational activity.

Background. Having made a theoretical analysis of the available literature, we would define health as the important life value and the key prerequisite for success of any personally and/or socially important mission [2, 6, 7]. A healthy lifestyle may be interpreted as the health system integrating a variety of health forming and building activity tools that, on the one hand, are appreciated by the target communities and, on the other hand, maintain and improve the individual health and adaptation resource and, hence, contribute to the physical, mental and social wellbeing.

Generally the individual attitudes to health are nowadays contradictory if not paradoxical – as they are manifested, on the one hand, in the great demand for and appreciation of health, and, on the other hand, reluctance to take efforts to keep up and improve own physical and mental health. Normally people tend to appreciate health as a natural gift in a rather passive way, and take efforts to rehabilitate it only when faced with some health disorders.

One of the ways to promote the values-driven health agendas in communities is to establish regional innovative project footholds in the education system for the modern research and experimental health initiatives.

Objective of the study was to analyze progress of the regional education establishments in the innovative values-driven health agenda promotion projects for the local young people.

Structure of the study. Ulyanovsk State University of Education has accumulated a great experience of innovative health projects in the regional education system. For the last 20 years the Ulyanovsk State University of Education faculty has provided the health research and promotion project management and supervision services to many regional agencies and establishments to lay the theoretical and practical grounds for the values-driven health agenda in the young population groups.

Study findings and discussion. The values-driven health agenda promotion projects have been largely focused on the regional education establishments, with the local preschool educational systems being among the top priority project sites. Thus Yagodka Kindergarten #62 in Ulyanovsk is among the project sites to implement a mental health improvement project geared to form basic mental health control and improvement skills in the children.

The values-driven health agenda promotion projects for more senior (school, lyceum, gymnasia and college) groups apply a wide variety of methods and tools to facilitate progress in the health agenda formation process. Thus Secondary General Education School #74 in Ulyanovsk in cooperation with Ulyanovsk Medical College has developed a special health system to test and analyze its benefits for the students [4]. Furthermore, Gymnasia #24 in Ulyanovsk has developed and implemented an interdisciplinary Health Training Curriculum [3]. And Secondary General Education School in Terengul (Ulyanovsk Oblast) has developed and tested benefits of new socializing, cultural and health advancement technologies. The new training model was tested beneficial in many aspects including the highly responsible attitudes to the school learning; values-driven and responsible health agenda; and reasonable immunity to drugs and bad habits tested in the children.

A sound values-driven health agenda may be formed in a child only when the teachers and parents provide perfect role models and share the health values with the child. Since the connection of the senior and junior values systems is not always obvious, the educational establishments need to take efforts and make due provisions to encourage the teacher’s individual mental and physical health building and healthy lifestyle promotion programs. Thus Yablnonka Kindergarten in Mullovka village of Melekessky district for the last few years has run a Teachers’ Mental Health Protection and Improvement Research Project. And Secondary School #2 in Baryshsky district runs a Teachers’ Professional Health Project with the relevant mental health/ education climate improvement components. One of the key goals of such projects is to build the teachers’ competences in own health improvement issues and support the individual health agenda by a variety of theoretical and practical provisions and tools [1, 5].

As far as the families are concerned, the families raising children with health impairments are the most challenging for the health projects. Thus Kolobok Kindergarten # 16 in Ulyanovsk has accumulated a precious experience of health agenda formation and health improvement services to such families.

As one of the key socializing institutions, the educational system should work in close cooperation with the external partners for success. The health agenda formation projects may be facilitated by a variety of relatively new cooperation formats offered by modern municipal social-cultural centers – as it is the case with Secondary School #19 in Dimitrovgrad. Alternatively the school health projects may be facilitated by synergy of the municipal social-cultural resource and the local physical education and health (PES) system – as has been demonstrated by Secondary School #2 in Novospassky village of Ulyanovsk Oblast.

Having analyzed the practical experience accumulated by the Ulyanovsk Oblast educational system in the values-driven health agenda formation projects we offered a few practical recommendations on how these efforts may be facilitated. First of all, the projects need to be supported by the relevant practical provisions sensitive to the health values and priorities of the target population groups: students, teachers and families. When the projects face some problems, solutions shall be found based on the situation evaluation tests using the relevant test toolkits to rate and analyze the target group’s physical and mental health and profile its health values and health agendas on the whole.

Conclusion. Practical efforts to cultivate due health values in young people shall be designed to have the health issues effectively covered and integrated in the education and physical training curricula, with the target health projects supported by the relevant health environments/ climates and cultures in the education establishments, with the teachers, families and children collectively contributing to the health forming and building efforts. Health project efficiency will be secured by a reasonable versatility of the practical (rather than declarative) health methods, tools and technologies customizable to the age and health specifics of the target groups; plus focused trainings and advancement health courses for teachers to form and advance their knowledge and skills in every aspects of the modern health protection and improvement technologies.

References

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Corresponding author: lukjanovami@mail.ru

Abstract

The study addresses the young people’s health issues on the whole and the deficiencies of the existing health agenda formation school system in particular. One of the promising ways to address the problem is to offer an individualized values-driven health agenda formation system to help the young people reconsider their negligent attitudes to health. Considering health among the key life values forming a basis for the individual progress in the personally and socially sensitive domains, we have analyzed the practical innovative experience of the regional educational establishments in the health protection and health agenda formation projects. Based on the study data and analyses, we offered recommendations on how the values-driven health agenda formation projects shall be designed and managed on an individualized basis. The projects need to be supported by the relevant methods sensitive to the values and priorities of the target population groups and apply modern dependable research methodologies – to facilitate the health issues being broader covered by the education curricula; secure due commitment of the teachers, children and families to the health projects; offer special advanced training courses for the teachers on the health protection and health agenda formation issues; and widely disseminate the positive health project experiences of education establishments in the country.