Teachers' Health Work Spectrum

Year: 2016

Author: McCuaig, Louise, Enright, Eimear, Rossi, Tony, Macdonald, Doune

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Against an international background of concern about the health of children and the implications for shaping productive young people, schools have been increasingly co-opted into national public health agendas. Consequently, we argue there is a need to understand the ‘health work’ undertaken by teachers in schools. Australian researchers undertook an investigation of this complex dimension of teachers’ work. In this paper we present a classification tool, the Teachers’ Health Work Spectrum that captures and defines the nature and scope of teacher’s health work that emerged within the context of this research. The teachers’ health work spectrum was developed through grounded theory and observation during school site visits in the data collection phase. In addition to the Health Promoting Schools model (WHO, 1998), the spectrum was further clarified through the application of emerging health perspectives from Salutogenic Theory (Antonovsky, 1987) and socio-critical analytic tools provided by Foucault (2004), Bourdieu (1984) and Rose (2000). The resulting spectrum comprises of six domains that include: Classroom based Health Education; Enacting Safe and Healthy Curriculum; Incidental Health work: Health orientated caring teaching; Formal Health Policy: Within School; Formal Health related policy: Sector level; Multi-sectoral Health and welfare intervention. Case studies from each domain will be presented in this paper.Given the increasingly complex and performative role of contemporary school teaching, the Teachers’ Health Work Spectrum provides education and health personnel with a useful tool for clarifying the amount and nature of health work undertaken by schools and their teachers. Furthermore, the use of Rose’s regime of personhood framework provides an additional critical lens that affords a capacity for researchers to analyse and expose the power dynamics which underpin authorities’ strategies to shape teachers and students into good and healthy citizens. References:Antonovsky, A. (1987). Unravelling the mystery of health: How people manage stress and stay well. San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass.Bourdieu, P. (1984). Distinction: A social critique of the judgement of taste. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Foucault, M. (2004, translated 2008). The birth of biopolitics; Lectures at the College de France, 1978-79. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. Rose, N. (2000). Identity, genealogy, history. In Paul Du Gay, Jessica Evans & Peter Redman (Eds.), Identity: a reader (pp. 313–326). London: Sage Publications in association with The Open University.WHO. (1998). Global School Health Initiative. Available at http://www.who.int/school_youth_health/media/en/92.pdf