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This is a guest post by Andrew Beaumont, a Health and Human Development teacher at St Bede’s College, Mentone and VCAA assessor for 13 years. Andrew is also the lead author for the highly popular Jacaranda’s Key Concepts in VCE Health and Human Development series.
In 2018, teachers will start implementing an exciting new Study Design for VCE Health and Human Development. Overall, the new curriculum takes a contemporary approach to exploring health and wellbeing, building health literacy and providing ways that students can engage with the world to promote the lives of all people and the environments in which we live.
In this blog post I will review the major changes in the new Study Design, provide a few easy tips for implementation, and share my top five reasons why Jacaranda’s new HHD series is the best resource for students and teachers alike.
Compared to its predecessor from 2014-2017, the new Study Design incorporates significant changes that teachers need to be aware of. For example, the NHPAs, responsibilities of different levels of government, reasons why the SDGs are important, and the concept of global health are no longer a part of the Study Design. New concepts have been introduced, such as:
Given the wide scope of changes, it’s possible that some teachers may feel overwhelmed. Here’s my advice to minimise the stress of the new Study Design:
Available in November 2017, the updated Jacaranda Key Concepts in VCE Health & Human Development series is written to match the Study Design exactly and take in all changes. However, more than simply what students need to learn, the texts take into account how students learn best and structure the content accordingly. The result is a resource that teachers can feel confident in, and students can learn from—no matter their level. Here’s proof:
The single biggest change with the 2018-2022 Study Design is the focus on health and wellbeing, a concept that relates to the state of a person’s physical, social, emotional, mental and spiritual existence and is characterised by an equilibrium in which the individual feels happy, healthy, capable and engaged. The five dimensions are closely related and as a result, some examples of health and wellbeing outcomes can relate to more than one dimension. Emotional and mental health and wellbeing are two dimensions that are particularly closely related, but there are differences between the two.
What you can expect in the Jacaranda Key Concepts in VCE Health & Human Development series:
Each title includes a discussion of the differences between these dimensions to make these concepts clearer for students (see below).
Another change is that the action areas of the Ottawa Charter now underpin the exploration of health promotion initiatives in a range of contexts.
The ability to make one link between an action area and health promotion in the given scenario may not be enough to secure full marks. That’s why we have included a range of links between the relevant concept and each action area to ensure that students will be well equipped for exam questions targeting these dot points.
This Study Design will engage students and provide them with knowledge and skills that they can use in their everyday lives to explore, analyse, evaluate and act in relation to health and wellbeing, and human development, in individual, national and global contexts. In particular, key skills form an essential component of any VCE Study Design and are particularly important in the new HHD course, as the curriculum now focusses more on application. Students who are competent in key skills invariably receive higher exam and study scores.
The new Jacaranda texts provide comprehensive coverage of all key knowledge and key skills. The structure is designed such that students thoroughly explore each concept in the new Study Design first, before engaging in activities to consolidate and assess their knowledge. The amount of content in each section is manageable, so students don’t have to read an excessive amount of text before being able to reflect on and apply their knowledge. This is hugely beneficial since too much text before active engagement with the concepts can result in key points becoming lost.
Despite their importance, key skills are often neglected in Health and Human Development resources. That’s why the Jacaranda texts not only integrate key skills throughout the chapters, but specifically address every single one in the Chapter Review section, providing advice and specific practise for each.
Teachers and students have ample choice in the new Study Design. Here are a few examples:
As these decisions can change from year to year, the new Jacaranda texts address all options identified in the Study Design, or a range of options if none are suggested in the Study Design. This approach provides much-needed flexibility and ensures that students are adequately prepared, regardless of the topic explored in their class.
However, as a result, there are some chapters whereby only a fraction of the content will be necessary to teach the required concept, based on the choices that you make as a teacher.
Don’t let the total page count throw you off!
These days, it’s not just about the words in the text. Visuals help in the retention of key concepts and many students (and increasingly, teachers) regularly employ information technology as a tool to assist their learning.
The new Jacaranda texts are highly visual, but each use of a graph, chart or other graphic has been carefully scrutinised to ensure that it adds an element to the concept in question and/or assists in developing key skills. While it can be tempting to fill a text with visuals such as data, infographics, flow charts and tables, many do not focus on a key concept within the course and can actually contribute to confusion for students. Worse, if they are too complex, they can be a source of frustration.
The new editions also continue to make use of contemporary digital resources and build on the base established in the previous editions. This provides students with opportunities to extend their knowledge and skills by engaging with videos, interactivities and links to relevant content on the internet.
Students come to us with a range of abilities and all should be catered for.
The titles maintain the structure of scaffolding content, questions and activities to ensure that students of all abilities can achieve success and realise their potential.
To clarify, the intention is not that students complete every question and activity—rather, providing a range ensures that higher achieving students can extend themselves, while providing opportunities for success for all students.
I hope this summary was helpful. If you have any questions about the new Study Design or the Jacaranda series, you can always reach out to me at [email protected]. To get a sneak peek at the new Jacaranda VCE HHD editions, make sure you register for sample chapters here.