Cover Image
close this bookTeacher's Guide on Basic Environmental Health (WHO, 1999, 327 p.)
close this folderPart One: Teaching environmental health
close this folderOrganizing a course or workshop
close this folderCurriculum development
View the document(introduction...)
View the document1. Goals and objectives
View the document2. Required background
View the document3. Subject matter/teaching methods
Open this folder and view contents4. Selected teaching methods
Open this folder and view contents5. Audiovisual materials
View the document6. Reading list, resources
View the document7. Timetabling
View the document8. Evaluation
View the document9. Follow-up

1. Goals and objectives

Setting goals and objectives is an important first step in conducting any teaching session. Learning goals are the outcomes one hopes to achieve. A learning goal for a course in basic environmental health might be to increase awareness about the health effects of environmental and occupational factors. After setting goals, the next step is to break broad goal statements down into specific objectives or concrete accomplishments to be attained. Each of the chapters in the text is preceded by a list of learning objectives. For example, following a session on “Air pollution”, “participants will be able to describe the major sources of air pollution”.

While most educational programmes outline three major types of learning objective (knowledge, skills and attitudes) this programme, with its emphasis on the practical application of environmental health knowledge, also includes the development of social action skills. The four types of educational objectives are described below.

Knowledge: The information or knowledge that participants will acquire during the educational programme.

Skills: The skills or competencies that participants will develop (e.g. skills related to course content as well as “life skills”, such as information retrieval, problem-solving and communication skills).

Attitudes: The attitudes or beliefs that participants will explore. These may affect participants’ ability to put what is learned into practice.

Social action: Collective (rather than individual) actions directed towards social change. This might entail formulating public policy, implementing monitoring and surveillance programmes, organizing professional associations and promoting community education.

Examples of the four types of objectives are given below:

At the end of the workshop (e.g. on environmental health for public health professionals), participants will be able to:

Knowledge: List the adverse health effects of chemical, physical and biological risk factors.

Skills: Demonstrate the use of EPI INFO, a computer programme for epidemiological data analysis.

Attitudes: Appreciate the need to utilize scientific data on environmental health to make public health decisions.

Social action: Establish a network of environmental health professionals.

These educational objectives, expressed in terms of student competencies, will become an effective tool for managing, monitoring and evaluating the course.