Women's Health: A Special Addition to Staying Healthy: An English Learner's Guide to Health Care and Healthy Living (Teacher's Guide and Student Resource Book)
ESL instructors should have some general health knowledge, be comfortable discussing women's health across cultural groups served, and be knowledgeable of local resources (domestic abuse shelters, local health care options) and the current healthcare insurance landscape.
Women's Health: A Special Addition to Staying Healthy - An English Learner's Guide to Health Care and Healthy Living is a special addition to Staying Healthy: An English Learner’s Guide to Health Care and Healthy Living. The resource provides a broad overview of various women’s health topics such as women’s health reproduction, pregnancy, and early childcare, and emphasizes certain cancers and diseases that many women face. This women’s health unit also explains dangers like domestic and sexual abuse. The Teachers Guide includes learning objectives and correlation with Florida Adult ESOL Course Standards and CASAS competencies. The resource is accompanied by student materials that are also available online: http://www.floridaliteracy.org/books/WomensHealthSE.pdf.
Women's Health is an addition to the earlier resource: Staying Healthy: An English Learner’s Guide to Health Care and Healthy Living. It uses the same principles as that first Guide, which has been used in programs all over the country to rave reviews. The original guide was pilot tested and found to be effective at improving students' knowledge of health issues and intention to interact more fully with the health care system and their healthcare providers (see: http://www.floridaliteracy.org/SHProjectSummary.pdf).
The Florida Literacy Coalition now has the following books in the Staying Healthy series:
- Staying Healthy for Beginners
- Staying Healthy: An English Learner’s Guide to Health Care and Healthy Living
- Coping with Stress
- Women’s Health
They can all be located on the Florida Literacy Coalition website: http://floridaliteracy.org/health_literacy_curriculum.html.
Women’s Health: A Special Addition to Staying Healthy: An English Learner’s Guide to Health Care and Healthy Living is a ready-to-use resource for the classroom or a tutoring session. The guide is designed for ESOL students and can be used with or without guidance. It is written at a 3rd to 5th grade level and supported by pictures and a glossary in a well-designed plain language format. The Teacher's Guide allows a teacher or tutor to use the resource as a basis for a variety of teaching activities. It can be adapted for use with low-beginning to advanced level students. The Teacher's Guide lists the correlations with Florida's adult ESOL course standards and the CASAS competencies. This resource may be a very useful tool for adult educators in creating lessons plans around health and health literacy, particularly concerning women's health.
It is important for educators to keep in mind that they should use this resource as a guide and be sure that the content is appropriate for their learners - both the skill level and most especially the health content. Some of the health information may refer more particularly to heterosexuals or to those mothers able to breastfeed, for example. The Teacher’s Guide also only provides rudimentary health information and assumes that ESL instructors will (1) have some general health knowledge, (2) be comfortable discussing women’s health, and (3) be knowledgeable of local resources (domestic abuse shelters, local healthcare options) that students could contact, if need be. In several places the Teacher’s Guide warns the reader about cultural differences and the necessity for sensitivity in discussing women’s health issues; however, it does not provide information that is specific to any cultural groups, meaning that teachers will need to supplement the information by learning about the students they have in class and researching what resources exist in their community. The former task can be challenging when multiple cultural groups are served, simultaneously and sequentially. In addition, this document was created in 2010 and the health insurance landscape has changed drastically for women and their children since then. Many materials and programs are available to help people navigate the new insurance landscape and it is recommended that educators bring these resources – and even local navigators and organizations – into these lessons. If the document were available in an "editable" format, it may even be of more use.
With all that said, this is a great foundational resource for incorporating health topics, specifically women's health, into the adult education classroom. These basic lessons will be a great jumping off point to build skills, vocabulary, and to start important conversations about advocating for individual and family health. Specific highlights of this resource include: a glossary, pictures and graphics, suggestions for teaching vocabulary, suggestions for addressing health content, activities to teach real-world skills like filling out a medical history form, and sample quizzes to check for learning.