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The story line which holds the IPHU short course together (plus learning objectives and pedagogical strategies)

Clarifying the Storyline
IPHU courses are structured around a broad storyline which provides a guide to sequencing IPHU topics within courses and a guide to teachers regarding the orientation of their presentations. The sequencing issue is clear in theory. As new material is introduced it should build on what has gone before rather than depend on what is yet to come. Of course it is not that simple because everything depends on everything else; these are not one way relationships. Nevertheless a clearer articulation of our basic storyline might help to achieve an easier sequence. Such a story or narrative can help to guide our teachers. On the one hand we are committed to 'localising' the faculty of courses (in the context of disseminating IPHU courses). On the other hand having a large number of resource people from many different backgrounds makes it much harder to maintain coherence with respect to content and quality standards with respect to the learning experience.
Being more explicit about our story line provides some guidance to local resource people participating for the first time in IPHU courses in their own regions. We are encouraging all of our teachers to think explicitly in terms of learning objectives and pedagogical strategies. The narrative developed below should serve as a resource to help our teachers to to contribute to the coherent development of IPHU generally as well as to the coherence, quality and relevance of the local course they are resourcing.
1. About PHM and the PCH.
Not all of our participants identify as PHM activists before they enrol which may explain why many people have found the group projects somewhat confusing because that they do not latch on (immediately) to the idea of working on a project that will become part of PHM, which is directed at achieving social change and to which they will be personally committed. We have found that an early introduction to PHM (generally and in various countries) has been helpful in conveying the activist orientation of the course. Likewise we have developed a useful exercise on the Charter both of which have been helpful in orienting participants to the idea that the course is about capacity building for PHM. This topic (PHM and the PCH) should be scheduled quite early and before we form groups.
Learning objectives
Participants will:

  • be more familiar with the history of PHM globally and locally;
  • understand the potential of PHM as a vehicle for progressing their own concerns; understand how PHM works;
  • understand the purpose and direction of IPHU as capacity building for PHM;
  • understand the orientation of PHM around compassion, solidarity, equity, rights and action;
  • understand their participation in IPHU as a commitment to activism.

Pedagogical strategies:

  • PPT presentation of PHM history; from Savar to Cuenca; Voices of the Earth;
  • Plenary reports of PHM work in local region
  • PCH exercise (quiet reading, group discussion of ‘issues missing or for question’, ‘relevance to my work’, plenary reports and discussion, quiz)

2. About local needs, issues, struggles and context
We need to put on the table the full range of health issues which are of concern to participants and with which participants are currently engaging. These issues provide guidance to teachers and a platform for continuity in ongoing discussions.
Learning objectives
Participants will:

  • be familiar with the range of issues, struggles and domains of work which other participants bring to the course;
  • see the issues of human suffering, inequity and denial of rights as the starting point for continuing discussions and the basis for a commitment to activism.

Pedagogical strategies:

  • recruitment policies to include mainly engaged activists (including people whose primary identification is with communities rather than professions); has implications for marketing and selection;
  • extended personal introductions including brief account of issues and engagements as well as expectations;
  • field visits;
  • case study presentations (reports from the field) plus analyses and plenary discussions;
  • invite participants to bring posters to be displayed and brochures and reports to be tabled for browsing;
  • accelerate the learning of each others’ names and backgrounds through more deliberate strategies.

3. Framing local needs and problems
OK, we have now established the context of our work, the purposes of IPHU and the activist orientation of the course. We now need to locate these local issues and concerns in relation to the conceptual frameworks which we will be using in the course:

  1. equity and disparities (in access, quality of service, health status, and exposure) across various axes of difference
  2. health systems and policies;
  3. environment and health; and
  4. social determinants.

Learning objectives
Participants will:

  • be more familiar with the conceptual frameworks, theoretical tools, critical histories, which are necessary to support analysis and strategy in these four areas;
  • develop the knowledge and skills needed to analyse the issues and struggles which they (and other participants) are engaged in terms of the range of useful theories, discourses and debates;
  • develop the knowledge and skills needed for strategic planning and activist engagement in these areas.

Pedagogical strategies:

  • lectures and plenary discussion regarding the histories, frameworks and jargons of these areas;
  • exercises applying theory to local issues; analytic exercises; planning and strategising exercises (project groups)
  • presentation and discussion of case studies of particular struggles in these areas.

4. Larger scale frameworks
OK, we have canvassed our issues and we are aligned with PHM and we have started to put in place a number of frameworks for analysis and strategy. Now we need to move to the larger scale frameworks of: (i) globalisation and political economy (ii) trade (iii) war and conflict (iv) power relations across various axes of difference (gender, race, class, etc) (v) meaning and spirit.
Learning objectives
Participants will:

  • develop their knowledge and understanding of the histories, frameworks, debates and jargons of these different fields;
  • develop their skills in contextualising and analysing their issues (and those of other participants) within these frameworks as appropriate;
  • develop their skills in planning and strategising in ways which address the immediate health issues but in ways that also contribute to addressing the causes of the causes in these terms.

Pedagogical strategies:

  • plenary lecture discussions through which the histories, debates and discourses of these various domains are presented, explored and
  • small group discussions structured around discussion questions (and other projects and activities) which enable participants to develop skills in analysing familiar issues and problems in terms of these macro issues; and in strategising in ways which address the micro and immediate in ways which also address the macro and longer term;
  • experiential exercises designed to develop reflexivity regarding the assumptions and motivations that we all bring to our analysis, strategising and community engagement

5. Practice
OK, we have now reviewed the needs and injustices which drive our concerns. We have located our study in this course in relation to the analyses and commitments of PHM. We have located the health issues we are concerned about in relation to health frameworks of equity in health, health systems, social determinants and environment and health. Then we have located these within the more macro analyses of globalisation, trade, power, war etc.
So now we return to questions of practice which we address in relation to the following topics:

  1. applying the rights approach
  2. working with communities
  3. popular education
  4. strategic (activist) planning
  5. other skills and tools of struggle
  6. application of ICT
  7. research
  8. meaning and spirit.

Learning objectives
Participants will:

  • develop the practical skills of political engagement across the above areas

Pedagogical strategies:

  • role play and similar exercises designed to invite participants to explore the application of these tools and strategies in contexts which are similar to those of their own activist work.

Request for comment and feedback These notes are of course draft only, work in progress. Comment greatly welcomed. dl last reviewed: 090426