30 December 2015

Models for Health Learning/Empowerment

(Material is excerpted from the "UMVIM - 2015 Ideas Manual", compiled by Jane Dunn)

The following material suggests methods for health volunteers to use as they enter unfamiliar cultures where establishment of mutual collaboration and cooperation is essential.

Matching Teaching Style with Adult Learner Abilities:


Most of us, as students in the Western world are accustomed to lectures, computers and printed or on-line testing to determine mastery of knowledge and concepts.  In many, if not most, poor communities around the globe, reading and writing skills may be marginal.  So western traditional written methods of proving knowledge may not be a valid indicator of learning and ability among the less affluent.  For this reason, it is good to look at how adults with much valuable life experience learn best.

Discussion and Group Story-Telling: Gaining Trust and Establishing Rapport

It is important that the information exchange process is started in a participative and interactive way.  For example, begin with an informal greeting time, seated in a circle.  Each person, including facilitators could start with a brief, personal story.  Facilitators might need to start the process with sharing honest feelings regarding things such as having the students as new friends whose information about their communities and customs is welcomed.  The goal here is to break down any paradigms among the learners that all power rests with the facilitators.  This may take time.

Teaching Methods and Tools:


  • Role Playing - simple scenarios suggested by learners or examples from "Where There is No Dr." or "Helping Health Workers Learn" may be used.  Encourage the participants to make the role similar to real life for them.
  • Interpretation of Pictures - Facilitators can find photos downloaded from the internet of people, that represent the host location who are performing daily life activities.  The facilitator may pass around the pictures, asking each person to select one.  The assignment can be to:
    • Tell a made-up story about why the person in the picture might need to visit a Community Health Worker OR
    • Relating to emotional issues, ask why the person appears, happy, upset, frowning, etc.
    • After each story is told, ask, "Do you know someone in your community like that? Is it common or a problem?  In this way the facilitator can learn important information about health and cultural concerns in the host location.


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