Training seminars for schoolteachers on healthy lifestyles
With support from UNESCO IITE and the Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic, training seminars for schoolteachers on healthy lifestyles (HLS) were held between April and October 2022 in nine cities of Kyrgyzstan: Bishkek, Naryn, Karakol, Tokmok, Kara-Balta, Jalal-Abad, Kara-Suu, and Osh. Directors and experts of educational methodology centers at district and city departments of education provided valuable assistance with organizing the seminars. In Bishkek, the seminars were held with support from the Mayor’s Office Education Department.
The seminars were led by national experts Valentina Gorkina and Rano Kutanova who trained 771 teachers, vice principals and psychologists from 343 urban and rural schools in the methodology of using interactive videos to conduct homeroom sessions on HLS.
The videos are designed as short lessons covering topics such as relationships, friendship, love, starting a family, growing up, avoiding sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancy, and preventing violence, bullying and cyberbullying. During a homeroom hour, students are shown a video lesson and then asked to discuss what they have just seen, to answer questions, and to perform assignments helping them not only to learn the material but also to develop communication, decision-making and conflict resolution skills.
Where the HLS video lessons can be watched and downloaded
In addition to the videos, schoolteachers received a Guide developed under the guidance of UNESCO consultant Nadezhda Shorkina. The Guide provides step-by-step advice on conducting HLS sessions by showing students a video and then facilitating a discussion. The seminar participants were also updated on the national regulatory framework underlying the delivery of the obligatory homeroom classes on HLS, including the Order of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic No. 1599/1 of 17.08.2022 ‘On strengthening the delivery of education to promote healthy lifestyles among students of general schools in the Kyrgyz Republic’.
Master classes on conducting health promotion sessions with students
After each seminar, several schools hosted master classes as an opportunity for teachers to share their experience with conducting HSL homeroom sessions and to brainstorm solutions to emerging issues.
As an example, a master class in Jalal-Abad featured ‘bride kidnapping and forced marriage’, a roleplay prepared and performed by 9th-grade students of Gymnasium No. 1 under the guidance of their homeroom teacher Altynai Kazybekova who is also a teacher of the Russian language and literature. The students then discussed why this practice is harmful and violates women’s rights.
In addition to this, students produced a series of educational videos to illustrate why early and forced marriages, as well as violence at school, in the workplace and at home are unacceptable. These videos can be viewed here.
In Osh, secondary school No. 52 hosted a master class for teachers. Homeroom teacher Ilgiz Shamyrzaev, winner of the ‘Best Teacher 2021’ national award, led a homeroom session entitled ‘What is a family?’ for students of class 9A.
Feedback from students and teachers
A continued focus of the Kyrgyz Ministry of Education and Science on helping young people adopt healthy lifestyles, combined with the training seminars and master classes for teachers, have led to an increase in HLS classes held in Kyrgyz schools. At the time of this writing, video lessons on HSL posted on Sanarip Sabak’s YouTube channel have been viewed more than 30,000 times. Here some of the students and teachers share their early impressions from the lessons:
‘Those video lessons helped me learn some really useful things, such as what I can do to stay healthy’.
Almyn, 9th grade student, Gymnasium No. 2 named after Chkalov, Naryn
‘As a homeroom teacher, I felt comfortable preparing for this homeroom hour and delivering it using both the video lesson and the Guide. They helped me a lot in discussing sensitive topics with the class. The children could feel that the teacher was not afraid to talk about such things’ .
Victoria Shumilova, English teacher, Gymnasium school No. 12, Bishkek
‘A video lesson is not about students just sitting there and listening, not at all. The homeroom teacher knows their group well and can ask the right questions to encourage a discussion of what the students have just seen. Having a schedule of homeroom sessions on HLS is really convenient for teachers, because they know when to deliver these classes and what topics to address’.
Anastasia Belova, expert in teaching and learning methods
with the Education Department in Chui-Tokmok
‘What I liked in particular was the way we interacted after watching the video: we talked, discussed what we’ve seen and shared opinions, and such interaction helped us learn how important it is to take good care of your health’.
Rahat, 9th grade student, Gymnasium No. 2 named after Chkalov, Naryn
‘We use the Guide and all videos a lot when preparing for homeroom hours. It is tremendously helpful for us, homeroom teachers, both in terms of preparation and in terms of interaction with students during the sessions’.
Daria Petrova, homeroom teacher, Gymnasium No. 12, Bishkek
‘The children were very enthusiastic and interested in discussing the video, and there was a trusting and open atmosphere in the class during the session. The children asked questions and wanted to know more. The lesson was also a good learning experience for us, teachers’.
Rakhat Usmonov, Director, Gymnasium No. 2 named after Chkalov, Naryn
Here you can watch short videos of teachers and students sharing feedback about the video lessons and homeroom hours on healthy lifestyles. Excerpts from master classes/homeroom hours on healthy lifestyles are available for viewing here.
You can view all guides for teachers on conducting homeroom hours on healthy lifestyles and the relevant regulatory documents of the Kyrgyz Ministry of Education and Science and download the video lessons here.