“The hidden group”: The role of group dynamics in teaching health education

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This article applies a model of group stages to college level health education classes, identifies student and teacher concerns, and recommends appropriate topics and activities for each. Classes may be conceptualized as groups that develop through a progression of developmental stages. Group dynamics play a particularly important role in health education, the goal of which is to challenge students to change behaviors that may be self-limiting to those that promote wellness. This goal requires that students not only master subject matter, but also establish a comfort level with one another that enables them to discuss and practice behavioral changes safely. Considering the personal, yet interactive, nature of these tasks, it is critical that students in health classes not be required to consider certain topics before their class groups have reached the appropriate stage of development. By structuring course objectives, curricula, and teaching methods to match these stages of development, health educators can create environments conducive to optimal learning. © 2000 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Journal of Health Education

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