|Teacher's Guide on Basic Environmental Health (WHO, 1999, 327 p.)|
|Part One: Teaching environmental health|
This Teachers Guide forms part of current efforts by its sponsors (WHO, UNEP, CRE-COPERNICUS, UNESCO) to strengthen environmental health capacity and promote actions that eliminate, prevent or minimize hazards. The quality of our environment and the health effects resulting from environmental factors are of increasing concern in both developed and developing countries. The extent of these health effects is often unknown and the technology to prevent and control environmental hazards needs further development. A variety of well-trained professional groups is needed to identify and effectively address current and future problems related to environment and health.
The Basic Environmental Health text and this Teachers Guide are designed to facilitate and promote environmental health teaching in both university settings and in-service training courses for government agency staff, industry professionals and managers, and interested people in non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or community groups. Specific target groups in universities include students in medicine, nursing, other health professions, engineering, environmental science and management, and others needing a basic introduction to environmental health (including students in geography, urban planning, social work and environmental law). In fact, environmental health education is desirable for most professions.
The guide is designed to be used in conjunction with the Basic Environmental Health text. It includes an orientation to the recommended teaching approach and the rationale for its use, a description of selected teaching methods, guidelines for organizing a course or workshop, and sample learning activities for many of the topics presented in the text. These learning activities are based on the methods described in the guide. The description of the methods should assist teachers in adapting the exercises to meet the needs of their students.
The guide can be used to develop programmes on environmental health in a variety of teaching situations and educational settings. For example, teachers can:
- develop a full semester course;
- incorporate curricula on environmental health into existing courses;
- design a short course or workshop based on sections of the book;
- produce a lunch-time or weekend seminar series.
Teaching exercises should be used to adjust the complexity of the course to the needs of individual students or the whole class. In interdisciplinary classes, for example, the teacher may require more in-depth research from students in areas of their own expertise. This allows for each student to achieve a maximum learning experience while contributing to the group. It also simulates real situations in which professionals in different disciplines are expected to understand each other while depending on each other to solve complex problems in the field.
To make teaching exercises more relevant, teachers are encouraged to adapt them to reflect national or local experience or to use local stories, investigations and issues to develop new case studies.