How To Choose New TEKS Curriculum for Your Health Science Courses

Are you a health science teacher in Texas trying to decide what materials to use in your Principles of Health Science classes? With the Texas Proclamation 2017, there are a number of TEKS curriculum choices available. But how can you possibly find enough time to review them while also teaching?

Depending on your situation, you will be in need of different types of instructional materials for Principles of Health Science. How can a teacher’s classroom situation relate to needing a certain type of material? An example of this came up recently when Ken Richard from our Product Team was in Texas to meet with teachers who use our curriculum.

One instructor shared his struggle of meeting the needs of 3 distinct groups of students:

  • Students assigned to the course by a counselor and do not want to be there
  • “Middle of the road” students who will not do well enough to make it to advanced health science courses
  • Top students who will most likely go on to post-secondary health science pathways

In this teacher’s situation, he needs TEKS curriculum to meet the needs of his diverse class. This is very different than an academic course such as Honors English or AP Calculus where the student body is less diverse. Unfortunately, there is no “silver bullet” that will address every challenge in your health science classroom, but it’s important to find something that will be the best fit.

In this article, I will explore some of the options available, and where they are the best fit for a Principles of Health Science course. The types of instructional materials I will compare are:

  • Health Science Textbooks and Supplements
  • eBooks
  • Test Prep Materials
  • Interactive eLearning Curriculum
  • Video-Based Learning

Health Science Textbooks and Supplements

Health Science Textbooks for TEKS Curriculum

A common choice is to use a textbook as the main part of your health science curriculum. A health science textbook is a comfortable option, as it is what educators and students have become used to. And nowadays, textbooks often come with supplements (print or online) to add health science activities to your lessons.

The fact that choosing a textbook means you have a physical item for students to learn from is both a benefit and a downfall. As Ken Richard says:

“The best thing about a textbook is you can buy it once and keep using it for three or four years. If your school runs into financial trouble down the road, you can always stretch it for that fifth or sixth year… As long as you want to keep using it.”

Thinking about using the same materials for five years straight isn’t necessarily the best option, especially for the quick-changing healthcare industry. With a textbook, what’s printed is what you and your students get. This is an important aspect of a health science textbook that is often forgotten, since a book can relieve a lot of work from an instructor’s plate.

Think a health science textbook may be the right choice for you? This article will help you look at some of the options available: What is the Best Principles of Health Science Textbook?

The following instructional materials eligible for adoption under Proclamation 2017 are textbooks:

  • “Introduction to Health Science: Pathways to Your Future,” from Goodheart-Wilcox Company
  • “Today’s Health Professions,” from B.E. Publishing, Inc.
  • “Introduction to Health Care in a Flash!” from B.E. Publishing, Inc.

eBooks for Health Science Courses

Many health science teachers want to move away from the traditional textbook to something electronic. This is a great idea, and ebooks usually have the same content as a printed textbook with a few extra perks.

Your students often have numerous textbooks to carry and keep track of. With an ebook for your Principles of Health Science course, that’s one less (pretty heavy) textbook. Another benefit is ebooks tend to cost less than textbooks.

There are also cons to using an ebook as part of your TEKS curriculum. Much like a traditional textbook, an ebook is static content. Because of this you are likely to hit the same roadblock of outdated curriculum as education standards and the healthcare industry change.

The following instructional materials eligible for adoption under Proclamation 2017 are ebooks:

  • “Principles of Health Science - Digital eText,” from Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Prentice Hall
  • “Diversified Health Occupations 8th Edition,” from Cengage Learning Inc.

Test Prep Materials for Health Science Certifications

Many health science instructors are looking for materials to prepare students for certifications like the NHA CMAA and NCHSE End of Course Exams. If you are more focused on getting students to pass these certifications, be sure to include the appropriate materials in your TEKS curriculum.

For many instructors, preparing students to pass a certification can be difficult. How do you know what to teach? What if you accidentally leave out a crucial skill from your health science activities? Before you become overwhelmed and seek out instructional materials created specifically for certifications, take a moment to think about this:

As a health science educator, preparing students for certification is only part of your job. It’s important to provide them with a good foundation of healthcare skills and interpersonal skills they need to succeed even after passing the exams. It’s probably best to use test prep materials as only a piece of your TEKS curriculum - not the entire thing.These articles will give you a few tips for a good balance:

Interactive eLearning Curriculum for Health Science Courses

Much like the other types of instructional materials discussed, interactive elearning curriculum can be a great choice in certain situations. Many health science instructors are nervous to use digital curriculum instead of a more traditional instructional material choice.

One of the biggest differences in this type of material from the others previously discussed is that a digital curriculum developer will keep up with changing standards and new technology. As Ken Richard from our Product Team has said:

“People that use digital curriculum will get that updated content, most often for free, depending on whose services you acquire. There’s no installation or downloading… it just arrives ready to go when you sign on. There is no wait for the next edition of the textbook in order to get the newest material.”

Another benefit of using interactive digital content for your health science TEKS curriculum is the variety of resources included for teachers and students. Students work through digital lessons, answer questions, and complete activities. This is followed by the quizzes and tests that are graded automatically, something that print materials and ebooks are lacking. All of the student learning is reinforced with resources provided for the teacher to spark discussions and engage students.

But like any other choice, interactive curriculum has some downsides. If your students have limited access to computers or tablets, digital curriculum may not be the best fit for you. One way to see if it could work for your courses is to think of your classroom setup for technology access. This article will help you dig deeper: A Guide to Maximizing Your Health Science Classroom Setup with Digital Content

The following instructional materials eligible for adoption under Proclamation 2017 are interactive eLearning curriculum:

  • HealthCenter21, from Applied Educational Systems

Video-Based TEKS Curriculum for Health Science

Video-Based TEKS Curriculum for Health Science Courses

Similar to the interactive digital curriculum, video-based learning can be a great way to ensure your curriculum stays up to date. Because it is more than just a printed text put online, it can be updated and added to more easily. A video-based curriculum can work well for a health science instructor that wants students to use technology.

However, sometimes video-based learning can be more “static” than you think. Content presented in videos can be just as un-engaging as a health science teacher lecturing straight from the book. If the video-based curriculum you are reviewing doesn’t have additional resources like interactive activities and questions for students to answer it could be a red flag. Be sure you check out the student version of the video-based content to see if there are “extras” or if it is only videos for students to watch.

The following instructional materials eligible for adoption under Proclamation 2017 are video-based curriculum:

  • iCEV Health Science Site, from CEV Multimedia Ltd.

Choosing the Right Materials for your Health Science Courses

After looking at the different types of instructional materials, this may seem like an overwhelming decision to make… but I hope the information here will make your choice easier. Keep in mind that you may find there is not one type of instructional material that works for you and your students. Many health science instructors use a mix of materials to provide the best curriculum for their students. A blended teaching style could be just what you need.

To learn more about these instructional materials, read this review article: An In-Depth Review of TEKS Health Science Adopted Instructional Materials for Principles of Health Science

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October 20, 2016