Sharing technology news ,blogs, and tweets that I have enjoyed.
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Empowering Youth to Take Charge of Their Health
Guest article written by Peter
Young people are in the midst
of an unprecedented health crisis.For the first timeyoung
people have ailments that used to be limited to adults. According to the
Centers for Disease Control (2013), childhood obesity has doubled in young
children and tripled in adolescents in the past30 years. Type
2 diabetes, a disease normally seen in adults over 40, is on the rise in
children and adolescents (Centers for Disease Control, 2013). The number of
cases of nonalcoholic fatter liver disease in young people over the age of 10
is on the rise (Vajro et al., 2012).
These are not the only health
issues today’s young people are faced with. As the info-graphic below shows,
mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, bipolar and mood disorders
are prevalent in adolescents and young adults. The World Health Organization
(2012) estimates that 20 percent of adolescents worldwide experience a mental
health problem every year.
Source: Alyssa Celebre via
Add in the approximately 3.5
million young people that are taking medications for Attention Deficit Disorder
(ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and the fact that
some estimates suggest that half of young people, ages 6 to 21, in the United
States have some form oflearningdisability,
it’s no wonder that many young people today feel confused, out of touch with
themselves and powerless to do anything to change their situation.
Here’s the good news! These statisticscanbe changed and young peoplecantake charge of their health. This is
the focus of my work atyouthtransformation.com.I have witnessed these statistics firsthand and believe
that young people need to know that they have a say in how their life unfolds.
Young people are often confused
by the mixed messages they receive about health from the media, family, friends
and society at large. On one hand, they are shown unrealistic images of
lean-muscled female and male bodies that are airbrushed and/or touched up to
hide imperfections as the ultimate in health; these images are confusing,
unrealistic and represent a limited view of health.
While the people in these
images may indeed be healthy, we have no real way of knowing that. On the other
hand, young people are told to be healthy and that being healthy is important,
yet they are surrounded by a sea of junk, imitations and distorted views of
life that are available 24 hours a day.
They are bombarded withadvertising imagesspecifically developed for their age
group with their developmental needs, wants and desires factored in.
So what can we do? In my work,
I empower young people to take charge of their health and be the masters of
their lives. One of the main ways to do this is to help young people know
themselves. Giving young people time to reflect, think and be still is key in
helping them getting to know themselves, what they need, and ultimately, what
works for them.
As young people get to know
themselves, they begin to understand the needs theyshare with
others and the needs that are unique to them. In turn, this also
increases their ability to empathize with others. Knowing their unique
needs is an important step in young people’s ability to make decisions that are
best for them.
Support from adults is key in
empowering young people to take charge of their health and be the masters of
their lives. This is especially important when making lifestyle changes.
In essence, all of the work is about making changes that become a way of life,
not an add-on or a chore.
Another key area I focus on ishealthy eating.
This doesn't mean going on a ‘diet.’ It’s about finding ways to eat foods
that are delicious, nutritious and work best for each individual young
person. Sometimes this is about a shift towards eating more whole foods;
other times it is about transitioning from patterns of behavior that result in
unhealthy eating habits. Most of the time it’s about the young person being
empowered to make the best food choices for them based on self-knowledge,
exploration and careful consideration.
Peter Berg, A.B.D, M.S.,
The founder ofYouth TransformationsandEducational Transfomation.org,is a board certified holistic
health and mental healthcoach,
a teacher, educational administrator, community organizer, educational
consultant, school developer, national trainer and an expert in and an advocate
integratededucation. He has written extensively onalternative, holistic, integrated
educational theory and techniques and has founded and co-founded non-profit
community and environmental-based organizations.
Peter received his
Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies andEducationfrom AntiochUniversity and is currently finishing
his Doctoral research atWaldenUniversity, which explores
the ties between school leadership and progressive and holisticeducation.
Peter maintains partnerships
and affiliations with organizations that promote sustainability, social and
environmental justice, human rights and holistic health. Often
this work entails bringing these organizations together to form partnerships
and exchange ideas. Peter has consulted on various start-up schools throughout
the country and continues to offer consultations to national and international
organizations, schools and individuals.
In reading my last two posts, you know I believe that building relationships with your students is paramount for a teacher to maximize the learning of his/her students. I am delighted to have LindseyWright firstname.lastname@example.org a guest post on technology and relationships.
The current climate seems to both embrace technology as an essential element of society and revile it as the death knell of human bonding and relationships. It's sparked debates about how many hours children should spend online, whetheror not social media are actually connecting us to others or isolating us further, and how extensive a role technology should play in education.
While the first two points are perhaps best addressed by parents, the last has become as much the domain of teachers, administrators, and the government. Arguments run the gamut from encouraging high school graduates to take to espousing avoidance of technology in the classroom in favor of traditional learning techniques. However, both of these arguments(admittedly extremes) fail to take into account the role that technology is intended to play in learning relationships. Rather than usurping therelationship between student and teacher, technology should be a tool toenhance that learning connection and develop stronger classroom bonds. Inshort, it is meant to foster a love of learning in students that will continueinto adulthood.
Active vs. Passive Learning
To see the role technology should play in the relationship between student andteacher, it's first essential to understand the difference between passive and active learning. As noted by Norman Herr, Professor of Science Education at CaliforniaStateUniversity,both types of learning are essential to the classroom, but the depth oflearning varies between them.
A passive learning experience is typically characterized by lectures and note-taking. Rather than exploring new points of inquiry, the passive learner is viewed as an empty vessel to be filled with information presumably to be reproduced on a test. In contrast, the active learning experience is one in which student and teacher engage in a relationship based upon mutual inquiry and discussion. Rather than simply learning information by rote, the active learneris able to restructure that information to create new meaning and understanddeeper relationships between different elements.
Instead of lectures, teachers use brief instructional periods to provide basic information that forms the basis for ongoing active inquiry on the part of the student or class. By the end of a course, active learners should be well-versed in the subject matter, able to understand deeper meanings based upon that information, and build upon the material in future study.
The primary difference between passive and active learning, Herr notes, lies in the relationship dynamic between student, teacher, and material. In passive learning, the relationship between these disparate parts is minimal at best. However, in an active learning experience students and teachers meet over the material. In other words, students and teachers engage in a discussion about the subject matter that builds a relationship based on academic inquiry andmutual respect. Students develop confidence in their abilities to understandand work with the material, and teachers gain new insights into the different learning styles of students, as well as gain from their new perspectives on the material itself. A genuine learning relationship is fostered that will serve students throughout their educational careers.
Technology and the Active Learner Numerous studies by the US Department of Education on the role technology plays in the classroom have shown repeatedly that the proper use of technology in education fosters active learning. This doesn't mean technology should always be used arbitrarily, but that effective use of educational technology facilitates learning and the relationship that's meant to develop between student, teacher, and material.
The studies suggest technology should be used in an educational context tofoster understanding of topics, promote independent inquiry, and develop peer collaboration. In short, technology should be used in a meaningful way. To suggest one example, students could perform an Internet scavenger hunt (that is, do research) for information about the subject under study. Students could then collaborate in groups to create presentations about particular aspects of the topic, with each presentation to be followed by class discussion of that specific element.
In such an activity, the teacher would monitor the use of technology, discuss findings with students, and provide research guidance as needed. Rather than passively enduring a lecture, students would be engaged in acquiring information themselves and developing a stronger relationship with both the teacher and peers based upon sharing what they've learned. This is active learning in action, facilitated by simple and suitable use of technology.
Many fear technology is creating automatons incapable of interacting withothers, but study after study demonstrates technology actually enhances education and the relationships that exist between students, their peers, and teachers. Rather than harming the educational system and the learning relationships upon which it depends, technology when properly used can enhance these relationships and create engaged learners eager to teach each other and interact with teachers as they discover their own ability to learn for themselves.