Teaching is Inducing Wonderment.

In health education, it is common to frame content in terms of what not to do. Don’t do drugs, don’t have (unsafe) sex, don’t eat harmful foods; this negative position permeates in much of the critical dialogue we must have with our students. There is a growing body of evidence for the benefits of searching for competencies in young learners; finding the positive and capitalizing on strengths rather than continually labeling the negative and focusing on failures. Can we follow this logic with health education? Would we be more successful if we were to focus on the positive, amazing qualities of our bodies, selves, and communities rather than the negative, scary consequences of our (potential) behaviors, actions and choices? If we can cultivate a respect and awe for these individual and collective bodies, can we prevent the same traumas and struggles we aim to prevent with the negative “don’t ____” framework?

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