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Introduction to the Author Dr. Jinglin He MD, MPH & PHD
Programme Officer of UNICEF Area office for China and Mongolia
Associate professor of Beijing University
Dr. He has worked in the Child and Adolescent Health Institute at Beijing University for 10 years on health promotion programmes. She has implemented large-scale surveys on sex and HIV/AIDS prevention aimed at university students and middle school students. Also, she has been involved with health education to handicapped children and primary school students. Dr. He is author of nine publications including HIV/AIDS Prevention Education Teacher’s Guide, 2000 and Children, Health and Science, 1998. She has published over 20 papers.
Since 1996, Dr. He has been a Programme Officer in UNICEF on HIV/AIDS.
Foreword ‘We, the youth of our country, can make a difference. We can stop the spread of HIV infection.’ This is one of the slogans for World AIDS Day 1999.
It demonstrates the determination of a great number of youth today to prevent AIDS. However, AIDS is a growing epidemic around the world, undermining survival and happiness of families and eroding the work force and the economy in society. Tragically, children carry a great burden of the epidemic: worldwide, more than 8 million children have had to grow up without mothers, and they often suffer from discrimination, malnutrition and a heavier workload.
UNICEF is the lead United Nations organization for children. Based on the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF promotes the concept that the survival, protection, development and participation of children are universal rights of every child. Hence, the threat of AIDS requires more effective collaboration between UNICEF and other international, government and non-governmental organizations in order to operate and target more effective AIDS programs.
Political commitment from a country’s highest level of leadership is crucial for effective prevention services. Public information and education on AIDS are essential to combat the disease. Involving young people in prevention activities is essential if they are to be a positive force for change and the future of their country.
The cost of including HIV education in the school curriculum is marginal. The benefits to society are immense. The Life Skillseducational approach has been proven to be valuable and effective for the development of youth in many countries, and this is applicable to HIV/AIDS education.
China is making tremendous efforts to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. Young people in China, with determination, ingenuity and courage, can play a key role in educational efforts. I am glad to see this Guide in use, produced through the hard work of Chinese experts, teachers and UNICEF staff. I sincerely hope that Sichuan’s initiatives in its schools will be successfully implemented and will serve as a model for other provinces in China and other countries. UNICEF, together with the government of China and other international organizations, will improve our cooperation and support in this endeavor.
We are fighting for survival of both Chinese society and of all humankind.
AIDS is now endangering the health of all human beings on earth, especially the children, young adults and women. In Africa, the AIDS epidemic has destroyed several decades’ achievements in maternal and child hygiene. As a result, UNICEF sees the active engagement in AIDS prevention as one of the key tasks to improve the existing situations of children, young adults and women.
A change to a more liberal lifestyle is causing a large number of young adults to become susceptible to AIDS. A survey of worldwide AIDS data indicates that most of the HIV-positive people are young and middle-aged. By the end of 1999, in China, 79% of HIV-positive persons were 20 to 40 years of age, while 9.5% were younger than 19 years of age.
Compared with most developing countries, the percentage of school-aged children attending school in China is very high. This means that school can be an effective way to educate youth on this issue. In its fight against AIDS, China will disseminate AIDS prevention information to its young people in an extensive and timely manner if it can meet three key conditions: to continue its achievements in primary and secondary education; to put into practice and administer effective policies and; to train good teachers.
In 1996, UNICEF began its cooperation with the Chinese government in the administration, dissemination and educational aspects of AIDS prevention. In their collaborative efforts, youth education is one of the key elements of the AIDS prevention projects.
In September of 1997, with the aid of UNICEF, the Arts and Health Department of the Ministry of Education held a seminar in AIDS prevention for teachers from across China. Life Skills, which is widely adopted in the international educational field was introduced into this seminar. Life Skills and the closely related Peer Education techniques both aim to develop the ability of youth to make correct choices in real life. The seminar participants agreed the two training techniques were effective and suggested using Life Skills in AIDS prevention in school-based health education in China.
From 1998, UNICEF began supporting the training of teachers of different levels on Life Skills in some Chinese provinces, cities and counties. The aim of the training was to establish a group of qualified teachers and, in combination with Peer Education, to develop long-term, continuous educational activities in secondary schools. The results of this school-based education were to be extended, in a creative way, to families and communities. Thus, the integration of AIDS prevention, quality education and students’ all-around development can be made in this way.
Because of the success of the pilot program in Sichuan province, UNICEF is now using the proceeds from selling greeting cards to broaden and develop AIDS prevention education program in schools. UNICEF is striving, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and provincial educational departments, to help some areas to be the first to reach China’s Long-Term Program of AIDS Prevention and Control by 2002.
This Guide compiles and summarizes the essence of the training materials on AIDS prevention from China and abroad. Also, it adopts many advanced teaching ideas, as well as teaching materials that have been successfully applied in China. We sincerely hope this Guide can be used as a reference in HIV/Aids prevention education and that the successful Chinese experiences can be shared by individuals and organisations in the world.
Steps and Methods for Achieving the Three-level UNICEF
Training of Teachers (TOT) Program
- National and provincial experts
- International consultants.
- Key teachers from the regions and counties, chosen according to specific standards.
Once qualified, these teachers become the provincial or regional trainers.
- Organize and develop the second and third level of teacher training.
- Organize and develop relevant activities in schools and in communities.
- Create relevant teaching materials.
- Provincial and regional key teachers – the teachers who received the first-level training.
- National and provincial experts who can, when needed, provide guidance.
- Key teachers from all schools. (three to four teachers from each school)
- Organize and develop the third-level teacher training.
- Direct other teachers in teaching.
- Organize and develop relevant activities in schools and in communities.
- Key teachers from all schools – teachers who received the second-level training.
- Provincial and regional key teachers – teachers who received the first-level training.
- All teachers of each school.
- Combine the relevant subject matter with every school subject.
- Help to develop relevant activities in schools and in communities.
Activities in Schools and Communities
Activities can include:
Health education lessons.
Insertion of AIDS-related content in other subjects such as: Chinese, English, Geography and Biology.
Extra-curricular activities: theme-oriented class discussions, singing, painting and short skit competitions.
Publicizing in communities.
Selection Standards for Choosing Regional and County Key Teachers
(Participants for the first-level teacher training)
The teachers must:
Be capable of or have the potential to organize and to conduct teacher training
in AIDS prevention education and Life Skills;
Have more than three years of teaching experiences;
Be able to guarantee time to take part in the planning, directing and carrying out
of all levels of teacher training (will sign a contract with the work unit or school)
Guarantee at least two years of time, after having been trained, to conduct training
Suggestions for Using This Guide
Adjust teaching content according to specific situation, for example:
To delete some content,
to choose some specific games,
to adjust time of discussion and the depth of topics, and
to respect differences between male and female students.
The problems of AIDS are interdisciplinary topics that can be taught through many school subjects.
All the practical activities on AIDS prevention from China and abroad that introduced in this Guide can be used as sources of extra-curricular activities, competitions and quality education in schools.
This Guide can be used together with the school’s sexuality education and social science education curriculum. Also, it can be used as discussion topics for staff training in schools.
By coordinating with relevant departments in school, teachers can prolong the lesson period or choose content that fits into a 45 minute lesson, according to the specific situation.
We advise teachers to use extra-curricular time or the last lesson for teaching as far as possible. If this is not possible, please coordinate with the teacher of the next lesson. If it is necessary to protract the teaching time, inform the relevant teachers in advance.
There are many activities, games, discussions and short skits in this Guide which require active participation by the students so the atmosphere will be very lively. Teachers should pay attention for the following points in choosing a place for the lesson:
A classroom with movable desks and chairs is preferred.
If possible, choose a relatively isolated classroom.
When suitable, some lessons can be conducted out of doors.
This Guide is intended for teaching secondary school students. The age range of Chinese junior high school is 12-14 years old and that of senior high school is about 15-17 years old.
Unit One, ‘HIV/AIDS - Basic Information’ and Unit Three, ‘How to Prevent AIDS and How to Deal with HIV-positive People’ are unitary teaching plans for both junior and senior high school students. Teachers need to adjust the teaching content according to the level of the class.
Most of the subjects in Unit Two: ‘How close is AIDS to Us?’ and Unit Four: ‘Use HIV/AIDS Prevention for a Happy, Healthy and Successful Life’ are different for junior and senior high school students. The section intended for junior students emphasizes participation in activities and stimulating enthusiasm.
The section intended for senior students puts stress on fostering analytical ability and discussion of relationships between boys and girls in adolescence. Teachers can use different parts of the junior and senior curriculums to enrich their own lessons.
Thinking and Practice
The aims are to:
Guide students to integrate what they learn at school with real life.
Offer teachers a new way of thinking.
Enrich students’ extra-curricular activities.
Foster multi-faceted qualities in students by taking AIDS prevention curriculum as a starting point.
Every school can choose, adjust and adapt the teaching plans according to their specific situation.
The premise of using the teaching plans successfully is that teachers break out of their old way of thinking and improve their all-around abilities.
The training and coordination of peer leaders are key elements of carrying out the program.
Pay attention to your speaking tone and attitude when taking up this part. Be careful not to pressure students. This part emphasizes real life ability, therefore teachers need to stimulate students’ enthusiasm and interest and to encourage them to creatively integrate knowledge of books with life.
Teachers should particularly train students the abilities of how to deal with frustrations and how to break through one’s limitations. For example: how to conquer timidity and how to cope with embarrassing questions in communication.
Teachers can try to integrate this program with the school moral education policy and quality education.
Summarize after teaching.
Challenges and Rewards for Teachers Using this Guide
Transformation of the Teacher’s Role
The traditional class, which gives high priority to the teacher’s passing on knowledge, is a teacher-centered class. In this Guide, the key role of the teacher is to be a facilitator. This is student-centered teaching.
How to pass on knowledge of sexuality education and AIDS prevention
It is a long-time headache for teachers to explain sex in a scientific and lively way that students can accept, especially when referring to sexual transmission of AIDS. The trend of the AIDS epidemic is so grim that teachers can no longer avoid this topic. This Guide uses diagrams to help teachers explain these facts and lists references related to sexuality education. It also gives some views of experienced teachers. However, the initiation of the topic is always the most important thing when teaching.
Dealing with embarrassing situations (The following may arise):
Students do not want to discuss the topics and the atmosphere of the classroom is apathetic.
If the time for doing an activity or playing a game is too long or too short, it can lessen the effectiveness of the lesson.
The class may be out of order when doing some games.
If the students’ thinking is not stimulated they may make irrelevant replies to questions.
Some students may purposely ask embarrassing questions.
Teachers should have a good understanding of the above situations and prepare the lessons thoroughly in advance. Peer leaders can be very helpful if used appropriately.
The effectiveness of a lesson depends, to a great extent, upon the teacher’s personal charm and upon mutual trust between teacher and student.
Teachers need to acquire the ability to collect and absorb information efficiently, and be flexible when dealing with changing circumstances and communicating with different kinds of people.
The teacher may be the person to whom students will be eternally grateful.
Students in their adolescence seldom have the opportunity to consult adults who they trust about sex, drugs and AIDS. However these are problems that confuse them a lot and even threaten their healthy growth. Therefore, students will be particularly grateful to those who can help them to resolve these problems. On the long road of growing up, students will not forget what they learned in class and from discussions concerning such topics.
Self-Improvement for Teachers
Carrying out AIDS education and using new teaching techniques can help teachers break out of their old ways of thinking. Through interacting with students, teachers can greatly improve their own abilities in class control. This will enable them to improve the art of teaching and open a new road to quality education.