A case of two paradigms within health education

B. B. Jensen*

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde
98 Citationer (Scopus)


The article outlines two different paradigms which influence school health education. The first of these is the moralistic paradigm which is dominant in many current health education programmes in schools. It mill be argued that the moralistic and totalitarian paradigm may actually be an obstacle for developing a democratic school in a democratic society. The second paradigm focuses on democratic health education and is advocated in this paper as a valuable alternative to the moralistic paradigm. An overview of the major characteristics of the two paradigms is followed by an analysis of several concepts which characterize democratic health education, including 'action competence', 'action' and 'holism'. These concepts illustrate that health and environment have to be closely linked in teaching if students are to acquire a coherent understanding of the dynamics behind health issues and health problems. Finally, the 'IVAC' approach is suggested as a way of developing action competence in relation to health and environmental issues. Experiences and examples from the Danish Network of Health Promoting Schools are used to illustrate the thesis presented in this paper.

TidsskriftHealth Education Research
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)419-428
Antal sider10
StatusUdgivet - dec. 1997
Udgivet eksterntJa


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