As I near the end of my semester and my literacy course, I am forced to think about what I have learned and consider how I will apply it as I start my student teaching in January. Although I feel I have learned valuable strategies and have envisioned ways that I can implement them, I still struggle with the idea of textbooks in a health class which is one of my majors. I know there is a purpose and when used correctly, they can be a great asset. With that said however, at essentially the conclusion of this course and having spent so much time imaging the possibilities of literacy in my future health classes, I look at the textbook in my pre-student teaching experience and find it hard to get inspired from it. While I know each school is different, but from my experiences throughout my K-12 and postsecondary education, I have not come across a health textbook that I have felt really was useful.
In my health education classes here at Central Michigan University, there is an emphasis on straying away from the experience many of us had in our health classes that consisted of reading the textbook and doing the chapter review at the end or completing a worksheet. While I understand that there are ways that the reading can be spiced up to entertain and engage students more, the idea behind my coursework here has been to expand teaching outside of the book with hands on activities, projects, skits, the list goes on and on but essentially about as far left as you can get from reading a textbook. I think that is the biggest part that is conflicting to me. In this particular course, we learn and I can see how a math teacher could use it or a science teacher could benefit, but with health, I feel like since so much is related to real life everyday experiences, it could be better learned through simulations and scenarios and would have a greater chance of retention and application later on compared to being read. So as I reach this ending point, I find myself contemplating where is the happy medium.
Soon I will begin my student teaching and after that, hopefully be getting a job but in both settings I am left to assume there will already be textbooks for me and not the opportunity for me to select one. I will then be faced with this struggle of how to use this tool, that I know could have great potential, but is something I often feel that the information found in health texts that I have had experience with, could be taught in a more meaningful way. I don’t want to lose that literacy component in my classroom of having students dissect information while processing and organizing it as they go along, however I just am challenged when thinking of where the balance is.