New Video Lessons Help Make Health and Relationship Classes More Useful and Fun

‘These video lessons will help us make homeroom sessions on healthy lifestyles both interesting and useful,’ said the schoolteachers who attended the webinars organized by the Kyrgyz State University named after I. Arabayev, with support from UNESCO IITE, in November 2021.

At the start of the academic year, the Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic posted on the national educational portal Sanarip Sabak 48 video lessons in Kyrgyz and Russian designed to help teachers conduct homeroom classes on healthy lifestyles which are required for grades 6 to 11 of Kyrgyz secondary schools. Created with support from UNESCO IITE, the video lessons cover a variety of topics such as growing up, relationships, friendship, love, starting a family, and achieving life goals. Some of the lessons are designed to help students build effective communication and decision-making skills, develop self-confidence and avoid violence, bullying and cyberbullying. Other lessons educate students about preventing addiction to alcohol, tobacco and drugs and protecting themselves from sexually transmitted infections and HIV.

The Guide ‘Using Video Lessons for Homeroom Classes on Healthy Lifestyle in Grades 6-11’ designed to help teachers was the central feature of the webinars.

‘We made every effort to produce a helpful and convenient tool for teachers to guide them in talking to their students about things which are essential for good health and well-being. Teachers can find everything they need in the video lessons as well as the Guide and avoid spending excessive time looking for materials on the topic.

The Guide advises teachers to go step by step, showing students each part of the video lesson followed by a discussion to help the young people reflect on what they have seen and share their views, ideas and experiences. We provide series of questions teachers can ask to encourage discussion and we also suggest possible answers so the teacher may expand on the students’ responses or clarify any difficult points. The video lessons can be viewed on the Sanarip Sabak YouTube channel and downloaded from UNESCO IITE’s website.’ 

Nadezhda Shorkina, psychologist, UNESCO consultant, co-author of the Guide

Valentina Gorkina, UNESCO consultant and national expert on healthy lifestyles, provided an overview of the Kyrgyz legislation, directives and guidance from the Ministry of Education and Science on promoting child and adolescent health at educational institutions and providing health education and homeroom hours on healthy lifestyles.

‘Schoolteachers in Kyrgyzstan today have the tools they need for providing systematic, high-quality health education. The Ministry of Education and Science has issued its directives and guidance on the matter, and a guide with lesson plans for grades 6-11 is now available, as well as animated videos on healthy lifestyles and HIV, video lessons on 24 key topics, and advice on using the video lessons in class. In addition to this, teachers wishing to learn more on the subject can use the e-course “Adolescent health in a life course perspective” awarded a Diploma from the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences’.

Valentina Gorkina, UNESCO consultant and national expert on healthy lifestyles

Rano Kutanova, UNESCO IITE project coordinator and Head of the Scientific and Administrative Department of the KSU named after I. Arabayev, explained that the video lessons and guides were created as part of a project to train teachers in conducting homeroom hours on healthy lifestyles.

‘The project was launched in 2017 with support from UNESCO IITE and the Ministry of Education and Science of Kyrgyzstan. The country’s leading teacher training university, the KSU named after I. Arabayev, was tasked with producing the educational materials and training schoolteachers in the methodology of delivering classroom hours on healthy lifestyles. During four years, some 600 teachers and psychologists from 207 schools in Bishkek, Osh, Jalal-Abad, Batken, Naryn, Karakol, Talas and other cities and villages of Kyrgyzstan attended the seminars offered as part of the project. We followed up by meeting with the teachers after a while to learn about their experience of conducting the classes, and we also surveyed the students to find out how their knowledge of the topic improved after the homeroom sessions. Now that new technology allows meeting online, we have conducted 15 webinars within just 10 days, attended by more than 1000 teachers from all parts of Kyrgyzstan’.

Rano Kutanova, project coordinator at UNESCO IITE and KSU n.a. I. Arabayev

In addition to giving highly positive feedback on the video lessons and the guides, the webinar participants shared their experiences of conducting healthy lifestyle classes online during the lockdown and suggested new ways of using the video lessons:

  • ‘During the lockdown, we conducted homeroom hours in ZOOM to discuss various topics. I did not know about the video lessons at the time, but now we will use them’
  • ‘Our schools are equipped with computers, projectors and screens. We will show the video lessons during homeroom hours’
  • ‘Not all schools have the equipment to view videos in class. But it is possible to send students a link to a video lesson and then discuss it together’
  • ‘Students find classes which use video lessons more interesting and easier to follow’
  • ‘The video lessons will certainly make our classes more useful and interesting for students’
  • ‘We bring parallel classes of students together in the assembly hall for homeroom hours on healthy lifestyles. Video lessons fit this format well and will be very helpful’
  • ‘We might also invite parents to view the video lessons, perhaps show them during teacher-parent conferences. It can be useful for parents as well’
  • ‘An excellent guide. I really like it that we can go step by step to show and then discuss each part of the video’
  • ‘The hardest topic for me is puberty. I hope the video lesson will make it easier for me’
  • ‘We delivered lessons on HIV and reproductive health using the videos. These are the most useful lessons for the children’
  • ‘I used to find homeroom hours on HIV and AIDS, STIs and violence difficult to conduct. Now the video lessons are available. The students find them really interesting. They are also convenient for me – I can simply take and use the prepared material’

‘Thank you for the great videos and guide. These materials will help us a lot. Since the onset of COVID, we have learned once again to appreciate good health. We will continue to provide homeroom classes on healthy lifestyles and to show students these video lessons’.

Tamara Mamyrova, Head of Laboratory for School Management and Pedagogy, Issykul Regional Institute of Education

Addressing the webinar participants, Tigran Yepoyan, UNESCO Regional Adviser on Health Education, suggesting meeting online once again in three to four months so that the teachers may share their hands-on experience of delivering homeroom hours on healthy lifestyles using the video lessons.

Read more here on how the video lessons on healthy lifestyles for Kyrgyz schools were created; view all guides for teachers on conducting homeroom hours on healthy lifestyles and download the video lessons here.