Health topics are intrinsically connected to students’ personal values, perspectives, identities, and beliefs. As such, teaching students about health issues provides unique opportunities and challenges for educators. It is important to protect and promote the self-respect and well-being of all students. To do so, educators must ensure that diversity is valued and that all individuals feel safe, included, and accepted in their classrooms.
Students of all body shapes and sizes, abilities, sexual orientations, gender identities, and ethno-cultural, racial, and religious backgrounds must feel accepted, comfortable, and free from harassment at all times. They should be given consistent opportunities to express their opinions and ideas without shame or embarrassment. By doing so, educators foster and maintain a respectful classroom environment in which all students can learn.
Theory into Practice - Consider sharing learning goals and course outlines with parents through a variety of mediums (e.g. ongoing formal and informal conversations, curriculum events, newsletters or website postings).
Additionally, educators should communicate and work together with parents about student learning as part of effective teaching and learning practice. Regular communication enables parents to work in partnership with the school by promoting discussion and student learning in a family context.
Additional information regarding the role of educators in H&PE may be found on pages 14–16 of the Ontario Curriculum, Grades 9 to 12, Health and Physical Education.