Health promoting school indicators: schematic models for children.
Nic Gabhainn, Saoirse
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Nic Gabhainn, S., Sixsmith, J., O'Higgins, S., Delaney, E-N., Moore, M. & Inchley, J. (2007). Health promoting school indicators: schematic models for children. Health Education, 107(6), 494-510.
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to outline a three-stage process for engaging with students to develop school level indicators of health; in sequential class groups students first generated, then categorised indicators and finally developed schematic representations of their analyses. There is a political and practical need to develop appropriate indicators for health-promoting schools. As key stakeholders in education, students have the right to be fully engaged in this process. Design/methodology/approach - The sample in this paper comprised 164 students aged 16-17 years in three medium-sized Dublin schools. In the first classroom, students answered the question "If you moved to a new school, what would it need to have to be a healthy place?" on individual flashcards. In the second classroom students classified the flashcards into groups using a variation of the card game "snap". In the third classroom, students discussed the relationships between the developed categories and determined how the categories should be presented. These procedures were repeated twice in three schools, resulting in six developed schemata. Findings - The paper finds that the six sets of categories showed remarkable similarity - physical aspects of the school predominated but emotional and social health issues also emerged as potential indicators. The schema demonstrated the holistic perspectives of students. They illustrate the importance of relationships and the physical and psycho-social environment within schools. Originality/value - The paper illustrates that students can productively engage in the process of indicator development and have the potential to act as full stakeholders in health-promoting schools. The methods enabled student control over the data generation, analysis and presentation phases of the research, and provided a positive, fun experience for both students and researchers.
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