Asthma is among the chronic diseases that affect the airways in the lungs. Asthma results in inflammation of the airways or the bronchial tubes, therefore, impairing the normal breathing mechanism. Physical activities present a significant pattern for the onset of symptoms in asthmatic patients. Healthy individuals can also develop asthmatic symptoms during exercises which is commonly referred to as exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB). Therefore, there is a dire need to develop a plan by physicians and all stakeholders in health education to keep asthmatic symptoms under control. The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program is a national body in the United States that addressed Asthma problem and commonly involved in Asthma education.
NAEP works along stakeholders such as medical associations, patient education community-based programs, schools, and voluntary health organizations to ensure that relevant information on prevention and management of asthma reaches out to the public. According to the NAEP program, asthma education empowers asthmatic patients to self-manage themselves and as well as improving the quality of life. Srof, Taboas, & Velsor-Friedrich, (2012) suggest that asthma education programs for teenagers with asthma. According to the study, such education programs demonstrate a lot of benefits such as self-management, improved family support mechanism, self-efficacy and general improvement in the quality of life (Srof, Taboas, & Velsor-Friedrich, 2012). In addition, practice implications with asthmatic patients have demonstrated the need to have education programs in school settings which are in line with the national asthma guidelines (Srof, Taboas, & Velsor-Friedrich, 2012). In a separate study, (Cleveland, 2009) developed an evidence-based asthma education brochure for parents with pediatric patients suffering from asthma do examine its effectiveness in the management of the disease. The patients were examined post education and the outcomes compared with the previous months before the education program was implemented. Cleveland, (2009) describes the significant improvement in the asthmatic patients after the asthma education program. The following research paper is a project that examines the goals and objectives of a proper asthma education program within the school setting. Also, the paper explores the various appropriate learning methods that are useful for students in improving self-care, especially among the asthmatic children. The paper also establishes a teaching program and how the program can be evaluated to accommodate all the requirements needed for asthma education.
The asthma education program is based on a school setting. Therefore, the primary audience for the project includes both asthmatic and non-asthmatic students who are the main beneficiaries. Asthma education in the school setting will be conducted using various channels including live demonstrations outside the classroom, incorporation of the teaching program within the school curriculum and other outdoor activities related to asthma education. Some of the activities involved in the asthma education program in a school setting include safer ways to conduct physical exercises especially during physical education classes for asthmatic students and how to minimize the impact. Other learning activities include proper ways of using inhalers, how to care for an asthmatic patient and conducting First Aid for asthmatic patients. Other learning activities to be conducted in schools include workshops for Asthma and Respiratory health, spirometry training and other forms of online learning on post-asthmatic care. The teaching program will also involve parents and the teachers’ training to ensure proper family care for asthmatic children.
Attributes of the Learners
The asthma education program targets students under the K-12 program. Therefore, the students targeted in the program include 1st to 12th graders. The teaching program also involves both asthmatic and non-asthmatic students. Therefore, the program targets at both preventive measures for non-asthmatic students and proper management care for the asthmatic students and their relatives. Asthma education program targeting the younger age groups is likely to be more impactful with long-term outcomes compared to an asthma education program targeting the parents. Moreover, the asthma is more prevalent in children compared to the adults.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there is a high correlation between asthma and the socioeconomic status. The exposure factors to asthma in terms of ethnic groups is highly dependent on their socioeconomic status such as air quality, access to healthcare and all forms of exposure to smoke. According to the National Health Interview Survey, Blacks are commonly affected by asthma followed by Whites and finally the Hispanic community. However, the differences in asthma prevalence among the ethnic demographics are not very significant. Therefore, the setting of the education program should be in such a way that it is accessible to students from all the ethnic communities. However, the lower socio-economic communities should be given a given a higher priority.
Being a complex disease without a single mechanism, it is difficult to describe the gender differences in asthma prevalence. However, studies have shown that the hormonal changes, as well as genetic susceptibility, plays a role in asthma prevalence leading to higher prevalence rates in females compared to males. Severe asthma symptoms are predominant in women. Therefore, the teaching program should be more intensified among female students.
Studies have shown a reduction in asthma prevalence with an increase in the degree of education. Therefore, asthma education program should be more centered at lower levels of education to increase asthma awareness at a tender age within the lower levels of education. Students in the top grades should also act as ambassadors for asthma education to the lower graders.
The Learners’ Prior Experience with Asthma
Since most students have no prior experience with asthma, it is important to ensure that the learning program fits all the learning groups: the affected students and the non-asthmatic students. Therefore, the learning program should address the basics of asthma diseases before addressing the preventive and management techniques.
It is important to inculcate the right learning attitude among students for a successful asthma education program. Therefore, prior preparation for students on the importance of the learning program is a requirement before the commencement of the educational plan. Proper training ensures that students appreciate and embraces the asthma educational program. Consequently, they are also in a position to teach the same to their family members.
Asthma prevalence varies among populations according to gender, socioeconomic status, and age. Therefore, the level of prior experience on asthma among the students is likely to vary. In order to acquire a balanced learning environment and ensure positive learning outcomes, it is important to engage both asthmatic and non-asthmatic students from varying cultural backgrounds into the learning program.
Health professionals intending to conduct the learning programs in schools should have adequate knowledge and experience on asthma prevention and management. In addition, students should also be equipped with background information on asthma prevention and control so that the learning program can serve as a bridge between the theoretical knowledge and application in a community or family setting.
Establishing the Learning Styles for the Students
Learning styles vary from student to student (Hawk & Shah, 2007). Various styles of learning have also been described as well as their effectiveness. Hawk & Shah, (2007) review various learning styles including the Gregorc Style Delineator, Kolb Learning Style Indicator, the VARK Questionnaire, and the Felder-Silverman Index of Learning Styles. Different modes of dimensions were used to determine the measures of differences between the learning styles. The Kolb experiential learning style was selected as the most efficient method of teaching the students since it is based on active experimentation, concrete experience, abstract conceptualization and reflective observation (Hawk & Shah, 2007). This style of learning enables the students to encounter a new experience while providing reflective observations to address the discrepancies between experience and understanding. Through abstract conceptualization, students can acquire new skills and knowledge which can easily be applied within the school context or the community in terms of active experimentation.
Impact of the Learning Style on Teaching
Since asthma education is meant to be a practical learning for active experimentation in the family and community setting, Kolb's Experiential Learning Style is significant in the teaching process. Facilitators who apply the learning style in teaching can provide hands-on expertise in asthma prevention and management strategies to the learners quickly.
Educational Philosophy That Supports the Project
The Philosophy of Educational Makerspaces
According to (Kurti, Kurti, & Fleming, 2014), the educational Makerspaces and the maker education can revolutionize the traditional approach to learning and teaching. According to the philosophy of hands-on learning, the makerspace philosophy is based on constructionism and practical innovation (Kurti, Kurti, & Fleming, 2014). Therefore, incorporating the educational philosophy in the asthma learning process in a school set-up is significant for developing practical skills for self-care asthma management. In addition, (Foote, 2013) suggests that it is critical to transform the learning processes into makerspaces to ensure student creativity. The philosophy explores unique learning ideas for students which promote innovation and between learning outcomes. Therefore, the asthma education project in schools is a critical aspect of makerspace learning since it aims at providing hands-on innovation to students to come up with more efficient ways of managing asthma.
Educational Model that Supports the Project
Cooperative Teaching and Learning Models
Zilles, Lange, & Holte, (2011) explores the cooperative model between the teachers and the students. Cooperative model of learning and teaching concentrates on creating helpful examples and illustrations necessary for learning. The model is critical for concept internalization among the learners (Zilles, Lange, & Holte, 2011). It also speeds up the learning process (Zilles, Lange, & Holte, 2011). According to the study, the cooperative model reduces the complexity of the subject by alleviating the coding tricks. The model is also nonmonotonic and associated with better learning outcomes (Zilles, Lange, & Holte, 2011). In a separate study, (Huang & Su, 2010) explores the various beneficial outcomes of the cooperative learning model. The cooperative model is significant in facilitating the philosophy of makerspaces and hands-on innovation which is relevant in asthma education program.
Since human beings are lifelong learners, they learn new things and assimilate the same to what they already know. Learning processes are categorized into domains of concept knowledge.
In the asthma teaching program, it is important for the students to develop the intellectual skills needed in asthma management. Therefore, the first objective of the teaching process is to ensure that students are equipped with specific facts and concepts on the management of asthma. With the cognitive domain, students are taught to recall the facts about asthma and later taught how to evaluate them.
Affective domain serves to inculcate the right attitude for learning among students. With the affective domain, it is critical to incorporate the right values, enthusiasm, motivation and attitudes to learners for them to embrace the objectives of the asthma education program.
Psychomotor learning domain incorporates physical movements, use of motor skills and coordination. It is critical to assess the psychomotor domain among students through assessment of precision, procedures, and execution of techniques especially in the management of asthma attacks and the use of inhalers.
Interactive Group Session
It is important to ensure the learning process is fun and attractive to students. Incorporating both classroom lecture and outdoor group activities facilitate participation and hands-on innovation among students. Group discussions are necessary to reduce classroom monotony. Interactive sessions also facilitate one on one association between tutors and student groups. The tutors are in a position to address individual needs that can be identified through interactive group sessions. Meta-skills such as leadership, conflict resolution and communication are also developed through interactive group sessions. The sessions also offer opportunities to tackle complex issues and work distribution.
Question and Answer Sessions
At the end of every topic learned, it is significant to hold question and answer sessions to assess the level of understanding. Question and answer sessions also enable the tutor to single out the areas that the students demonstrate weaknesses and offer clarification. The sessions are also critical for responding to expressed misconception on the causes and impact of asthma attacks. The session also inculcates problem-solving abilities, demonstrating subject understanding, communication skills and the ability to review materials.
Case Study/ Practical Sessions
Case studies in asthma education facilitate a high level of cognitive skills such as learning application, synthesis, evaluation, critical thinking and analysis. Through case studies, students can develop collaborative skills in learning and relate theoretical studies to real life practical aspects. Asthma case studies are imperative for students to formulate arguments and counterarguments related to asthmatic attacks, prevention, and management.