Waikato Journal of Education

How to Cite

Thorp, S. L. (2023). How is health education being taught and experienced? A literature review. Teachers and Curriculum, 23(1). https://doi.org/10.15663/tandc.v23i1.425


The purpose of this review was to analyse qualitative studies on health education and highlight how it is taught within the classroom, including the implicit messages about health expressed and the particular pedagogies embraced. Connected to this, post-primary student experiences in health education are explored. Reviewed literature included qualitative and peer-reviewed research from 2009 to 2022. Despite some of this research stemming from international contexts, the resulting findings and discussions presented will directly relate to health education in Aotearoa New Zealand. The review revealed the persistence of two dominant and somewhat contradictory themes: dependence on fear- and risk-based discourses, and the utilisation of critical pedagogy. The review also highlighted a discrepancy between junior and senior health education. Implications for educators, future research and teacher education programmes are also discussed with a focus on the Aotearoa New Zealand context. This review will lend itself to broadening the pedagogical approaches taken by health educators and the effects these have on student experiences.


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