Effective Lesson: problem-solving models in Health

My Year 11 Health students are working on an Interpersonal Skills Unit. For this, students need to know, apply and evaluate the different problem-solving models. Rather than do role-playing and scenarios and have students work through the models, I decided to do something different.

I begun the lesson by explaining to the students that there were 3 models of Problem-Solving that they needed to know. I explained to the class that they needed to use the words that I had written on a portable whiteboard and create a flow-chart to explain “Who owns the problem,” give an example and decide what problem-solving model to use. This meant that they had to process the information around the models and apply it in a different way to show their understanding.

Students worked in small groups and each were given a piece of chalk to create their flow-chart. I had the portable whiteboard as a reference point. While moving around the groups I asked things such as; “When figuring out what model to use, what do you need to know first?” and “If you own the problem, what model do you use?”


Key words students were given:

I found this to be an effective lesson because in order for the students to be able to create the flow-chart they were having to gather, process and apply the information. I encouraged students to take responsibility for their own learning and prompted them through open-questioning. Also, the students enjoyed working in a different context and in a large, open environment. The students responded well to the activity and once we returned to the class, the students were able to correctly answer and relate the different problem-solving skills.

Outcome of the lesson:

Health Education Visit to MAGS

On the 10th of March the HOD of Health and I went to Mt Albert Grammar School to learn about their Senior Health Programme.

A useful tool that we learned about was Google Classrooms. I will follow this and present it to the other HPE staff on a Wednesday PD session. The way that MAGS uses Google Classrooms is to check ongoing student work. Google classrooms allows the teacher to see when the work was last accessed and edited. Also, feedback can be written as a comment straight onto the document. When the internal needs to be handed in it can be exported to Turnitin. The benefits of this system are that the work is on one platform and does not require chasing up work  or losing paper. This is something that we will look at trailing for Health Education at Orewa College.
More uses


Following up on this discussions with the other Health Teachers, I will develop and the Level 1 Health 1.3 Unit. This includes checking NZQA Clarification documents and collating all the resources.

Other things that I learned  was around giving student-choice in their research topics. This is particularly relevant for Senior Health. A suggested way that this is done is to teach half/half. One half is introducing three possible research topics and teaching the content and structure for about 1-2 weeks each .Then, the students are able to choose one of the three topics that interests them the most and spend the other half of the time for the nit researching and writing their reports.

Discursive vs Traditional Learning:

During our Department meeting we discussed the differences between a Discursive and Traditional Classroom. The key differences are that learning is not just a transfer of knowledge (traditional) but, that there is differentiation and there is opportunity for students to pursue and explore their own interests.

We further explored this concept of teaching  by writing on whiteboards in pairs and then discussing it as a Department. As a Department we are looking to differentiate learning so that the higher end students are extended and all students are working at their own level .

The Discursive.JPGDiscursive 2