In this chapter we address the action-focused approach to teaching about health and its interplay with the use of information and communication technology (ICT) within the framework of the health promoting schools approach. The overall framework for the discussion is shaped by the distinction between moralistic and democratic approaches (Jensen, 1997). One of the main distinctive features of the democratic approach concerns the delineation of the overall aim of health education and the health promoting school. Within the democratic approach, the aim focuses on educational rather than health outcomes and it is concerned with the development of pupils? ?action competence? or ability to act to bring about positive changes with regard to health matters whereas the moralistic approach is concerned with promoting information and encouraging behaviour change. We begin by discussing the concept of action competence and presenting a four-dimensional model of the knowledge ?landscape? which represents a key constituent of action competence. The theoretical discussion is then illuminated with a case study drawing on the work of one group of schools within the web-based international project ?Young Minds? (see www.young-minds.net). Data is generated through analysis of the website produced by pupils over the course of the project and through interviews with the pupils. The case study sheds light on the specific ways the above mentioned concepts were employed in the schools? work with a particular health topic, namely food and nutrition. Additionally, the experience from the case study points to the new demands that action-oriented teaching and its interplay with the use of ITC and international collaboration place on teachers. Finally, a few challenges and implications for health promoting schools practice and related research are suggested.
Health Promoting School: International Advances in Theory, Evaluation and Practice, 2005