How to Adapt to Trends Impacting High School Health Science Curriculum Blog Feature
Bri Stauffer

By: Bri Stauffer on January 28th, 2015

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How to Adapt to Trends Impacting High School Health Science Curriculum

English Language Learners | Curriculum Development | Health Science | Student Engagement

Many changes can affect what you need to cover in your Health Science programs. But what are some of the most recent trends? We’d like to help you understand what those changes are, and how they are going to impact your high school health science curriculum.

Concept-Based Curriculum and Instruction

According to Carole Stacy (Executive Director, NCHSE), there is a shift in the way health science topics are being taught: Concept-Based Curriculum. This style of teaching involves covering a wide concept, and then drilling down to detailed topics that fit into the larger concept.

An example would be to start with the concept of oxygenation. Once students understand it, you will introduce more detailed areas such as pneumonia and asthma that relate to the original concept of oxygenation.

Concept-based curriculum and instruction allows your students to form a bridge between the more detailed facts with the overall concepts. This will allow each new piece of knowledge to link to the others they have already learned, all leading to a better understanding of the topic. It’s all about giving your students a better foundation for when they start to prepare for certifications.

Learn more about concept-based curriculum and instruction here:

Dr. Linda Caputi - The Concept-Based Curriculum

Concept-based Curriculum to Transform Nursing Education

Mastering Concept-Based Teaching

Focus on Health is Increasing

In an interview with Mike Collins, Nancy Allen (Associate Director, HOSA) shared that America’s healthcare system is shifting from focusing on National Prevention Strategy Prioritiessickness and managing diseases to a focus on preventing sickness and promoting overall wellness.

Allen shared, “The emphasis will be to stop diseases before they start and allow Americans to be healthy and fit. Simply put: a shift from healthcare to health.”

Your high school health science curriculum will need to change in order to meet this trend. A good place to start is by looking at the National Prevention Strategy, which identifies seven areas that should be focused on.

Are you currently covering any of these priority topic areas in your high school health science curriculum? Now might be a good time to start thinking about making new additions to your existing curriculum in order to prepare for these changes.

The Need to Engage Digital Natives

Today’s students are categorized as digital natives. Because your students need more than just lectures to be engaged in the classroom, your health science curriculum must incorporate new ways of delivering the information.

Cynthia Sundstrom (Coordinator, Health Science Education, WV) shared with us:

“The time of standing in front of the room and trying to teach the way we were taught is over… We as educators must provide them with ways to learn that involve inquiry and intrigue.”

Though certain aspects of your health science program will need to remain the same, it is imperative that you try new ways to engage students in learning. One way many instructors like you are doing this is by introducing blended learning to their health science classrooms.

One health science instructor who is using blended learning tools to increase engagement is Stephanie Avery, from Father Patrick Mercredi High School in Alberta, Canada. Avery has had struggles with keeping students engaged and students falling behind due to absenteeism. You can learn how blended learning resources have helped her with these challenges by clicking here.

Accommodations for English Language Learners

Many teachers have told us that English Language Learners are increasing in many schools and CTE programs. This increase means that instructors must make adjustments to their health science curriculum in order to help those students succeed.

One way we have heard that health science educators making accommodations for English Language Learners is by allowing their ELL students to use Google Translator to translate worksheets and other documents to their native language. Another option to overcome this hurdle is to allow your students to use a translator app on their cellphone.

One educator we have spoken to about ELL students does both. Her comment was, "It takes them time, but I don't have a problem with that. Their test grades have improved and their English has improved too, as they've gone through the process."

Though certain areas of health science will certainly be challenging for ELLs, it's important that educators try to find ways to help these students succeed by adjusting parts of their health science curriculum. After all, most of these students are in your program voluntarily - they want to learn about healthcare!

Save this SlideShare to use as a quick reminder to make sure you’re prepping your high school health science curriculum for these changes:

[slideshare id=43966194&doc=trendsimpactinghighschoolhealthsciencecurriculum-150127154143-conversion-gate01]

Feel free to share it with your colleagues to help them prepare as well!


About Bri Stauffer

Bri collaborates with others at AES to create content that answers your questions about teaching classes, preparing students for certifications, and making the most of the AES digital curriculum.

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