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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A documentary analysis of the British Columbia school health programme (secondary) Auman, Jane Tate


The school health programme is an area within the school in which two distinctly different communities of teachers and health professionals are represented. It is a construct of unique and complex dimensions that has not been adequately addressed in the educational or health professional literature. This study claims that an investigation of selected teacher and health professional curricula documents has revealed an extensive school health programme that is officially prescribed at the secondary level. The first area is the presence of a hidden curriculum of health in the subjects of science, physical education, guidance and an explicit programme of health for school health professionals. The second area of research interest concerns the existence of diverse understandings about the school health programme that appear in the official curricula documents of the Ministries of Education and Health analyzed in this study. These understandings appear in the documents as teacher and health professional constructions of the social reality of the school health programme. Theoretically informed content analysis is used in this study to analyze the curricula documents. Specific theories from the sociology of knowledge have been utilized in constructing the framework from which the research questions and categories of analysis were derived. The analysis indicates that there is a poorly defined, loosely constituted plan of health teaching in science, physical education and guidance. The majority of health education objectives, beliefs and outcomes are hidden and interspersed within this curricula of the teaching community. In contrast, the curricula plan for the health professional is explicit and concisely delineated. Whereas the curricula of both communities display a wide variety of health related work and teaching and a diversity of understandings about health, the overall impression is that the school health programme at the secondary level in the province of British Columbia is an entity that is both unique and complex.

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