Training teachers to deliver body image lessons ‘could reduce risk of eating disorders

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Rose19602

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#2
I think it's a great idea and well worth doing....but there's no room in the school timetable!

Most lessons which concentrate on wellbeing and personal & social issues (PSHE I think it's called these days) are already full of many other issues which the government deem relevant and vital to include in the timetable. Body image is certainly up there as an important issue affecting teenagers, and I think it's already in the curriculum under healthy lifestyles / exercise / healthy eating ..... although obviously not in this exact format. The recommendation is for quite a lengthy course and that might need some thought in terms of how it would fit into the existing format without pushing out other important issues like contraception, puberty, drugs & addictive substances and bullying....which are also subjects that need attention.

I do think it's a good thing to include in the PSHE curriculum....if it can be squeezed in and dealt with properly.....but giving it the time that the Royal College of Psychs suggest might be tricky.

Possibly it could be offered in full as part of the school mentoring resources to vulnerable teens? Or maybe a download for parents to discuss with their children?
 
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diddypinks

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#3
in my school they openly weighed all the girls in PE
then I thought im really fat cause I weighed more than everyone else no relising im a head and shoulders taller than most of them it made me feel bad about myselfat the time.
 
Wiseowl

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#4
Many of the teachers at my secondary school (not saying all teachers there are some who care about children) were narcissistic bullies who loved to encourage a culture of cruelty. They liked to mock anything different physically or with individual personalities. The P.E. teacher once called a girl who was overweight (in comparison to the rest of us) a fat bitch.

I just wonder if some teachers are the best people to talk about body image.
 
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Rose19602

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#5
I hate to admit that I have encountered the same in schools Wiseowl and that was one of my fears in endorsing this as a programme to roll out in schools.
Over worked, uncaring people whose chief preoccupation in PSHE is getting pupils to attend and concentrate and openly discussing issues that are personal in front of peers is a recipe for a course which is ineffective.
No offence to those caring teachers who would do their very best....there are some out there!....but I do share your concerns Wiseowl. School isn't always the best place and teachers, I think, often feel dumped on as social educators when this role is perhaps one that could come from other avenues.

I'm sorry that you had that experience Diddypinks......that's a good example of how delicate issues can be mishandled in the wrong hands with embarrassing consequences for pupils.

x
 
Jaminacaranda

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#6
Any teacher who says something like that to a pupil deserves to be sacked and in the schools I have worked in probably would be or at least be made to apologise and given an official warning.

The biggest problem I can envisage for teachers (apart from time management issues) would be opposition from parents. Many parents cannot tolerate any implied criticism of their children or their parenting and would tend to assume this was the case if teachers discussed body image and eating disorders in class.
 
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Rose19602

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I agree with that point too Jaminacaranda. The PSHE curriculum and anything that touches on issues traditionally dealt with through parenting has the potential to touch a nerve. Anything that touches on prevention of mental health problems is likely to elicit a strong response unless the public are behind it. I imagine many parents will think .... "this doesn't affect my child, so why are you targeting him/her?"

That's why I thought it might be better aimed at the school mentoring programme, which deals with specific issues and children whose social issues are perhaps causing a problem in or out of school and seeks to signpost them or support them.

If this goes ahead, "en masse" I imagine letters requesting parental consent will be part of it. I was surprised to receive a letter requesting parental consent for the "sex education" part of the PSHE curriculum. I would have thought that this subject would be welcomed by all parents given the rates of teen pregnancy and the increase in STIs.....but surprisingly parents still object about the content and delivery of this subject by schools. If sex is still not OK to be discussed with teens what hope does mental health have?

If the words "eating disorder" are raised I think Jaminacaranda is right.....there will be an outcry. If it is couched using terms like "body image" (avoiding MH labels) it may be sufficiently bland to not cause offence.
 
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TheSailorGirly

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#8
I think you are right MissKitty, but have a mentoring programme where specific children are targetted allows for a massive chance of children slipping through the system, afterall, most ed's are secret disorders so how would we signpost them and be certain we had helped as many children as possible.

I also agree that the school timetable is cramed enough... I have worked in a school... but I think there is certainly the prospect of enlighting it with body image.
 
BlueGlass

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#9
I agree with TheSailorGirly, I don't know much about this school mentoring programme as my school didn't have it, but i think it needs to be rolled out to everyone, i don't think there is any evidence that ED's are more prevalent in these mentored kids and everyone would benefit from a improved body image.
 
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Rose19602

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#10
Yup, I agree with her too....it's just a case of whether it will be dealt with properly and in the way it was designed to roll out.

I wasn't suggesting that EDs are more prevalent in mentored kids. I probably wasn't clear enough!
School mentors deal with pretty much every teen problem under the sun. I was suggesting that they should be trained to deliver the courses should issues come up that suggest problems may be on the horizon.

The ideal would be to roll it out as part of PSHE....but I think it's 8 weeks long if I remember rightly.
 
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TheSailorGirly

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#11
The training for school mentors would be a pretty good idea. I also think there does need to be a perspective in PSHE, or at least form group, where teachers discuss body image. My body image has been negative for a very long time, I think if I had had the chance to learn to love myself through programmes when I was younger I would not be facing what I am today.

I only hope something can help :)