Neighborhood Organization for Pediatric Asthma Management in the Neighborhood Asthma Coalition: Teachable Moments

From the asthma summer camp, described below, the Neighborhood Asthma Coalition has produced “In Our Own Words,” comprised of campers’ statements regarding their feelings about asthma and the new perspectives gained through camp. “In Our Own Words” now serves as a general resource for the Neighborhood Asthma Coalition. It provides a good stimulus to discussion of feelings about asthma and problems in asthma management, importantly expressed in the words of children from our intended audience. It is useful, then, in a variety of counseling and instructional contexts within the program. As reflected in development of “In Our Own Words,” the ability to engage members of intended audiences in materials development is a major advantage of community organization approaches. The wisdom of expensive focus groups is built into the program.
Exploiting “Teachable Moments” in Program Activities: In developing curricula for the program, neighborhood residents and program staff reviewed “Open Airways,” the American Lung Association’s curriculum for school-based asthma management programs. While they appreciated its provision of a comprehensive basis of asthma education, they were concerned that it placed too great an emphasis on abstract concepts and not enough on concrete examples. Canadian neightbor pharmacy there As a consequence, we have used the concept of the “teachable moments” to adapt “Open Airways” to the Neighborhood Asthma Coalition. This approach is borrowed from classroom teaching strategies based on Robert Gagne’s, Conditions of Learning: It recognizes that the first stage of the learning process is specific responding in which the student has the ability to make correct, specific responses to stimuli. Examples include naming objects or learning simple responses, such as how to operate a vending machine. Much learning takes place at this least complex stage, but it is often neglected in favor of providing a broader scope of information to students. Applying this to the Neighborhood Asthma Coalition, the teachable moments approach pulls individual concepts from the “Open Airways” curriculum to stand alone during the course of asthma-related activities. It requires that adults who teach and supervise students have a repertoire of asthma information, based on “Open Airways,” and a good sense of how individual facts can be integrated into the context of an activity at hand. A handbook of “Teachable Moments” is being developed to provide that repertoire.

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