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Conceptualizations of professional competencies in school health promotion

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Purpose: The purpose of the paper is to contribute to the conceptualization and discussion of professional competencies needed for supporting the development of the whole-school approach in school health promotion (SHP).
Design: The paper is based a conceptual synthesis of literature, guided by a theoretical perspective on health promotion agency and professional competencies to identify core competency domains and elements. This is followed by a discussion of focus, gaps, and links in conceptualizations of competency domains and elements.
Findings: The synthesis identifies five core competency domains: 1) policy-development, 2) organizational development, 3) professional development, 4) development of students’ learning, and 5) development of health promotion activities. Three critical gaps in the conceptualizations of competency domains and elements are identified and discussed: 1) the downplay of the development of learning domain and the narrow focus on cognitive elements within it, 2) the narrow focus on cognitive elements and technical-organizational elements in the development of HP activities domain, and 3) the downplay of affective competency elements across domains.
Practical implications: The five competency domains may provide an overall guiding tool for professionals tasked with practice and competency development in SHP, and a point of departure for the development of conceptualizations of professional competencies in concrete practice contexts.
Originality/value: The paper delineates an overall professional competency model for SHP, discusses the specific demands on professional competencies within this field in relation to this model, and addresses three critical gaps in the conceptualizations of competency.
Keywords: Professionals, competence, school health promotion
Paper type: Research paper
Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Education
Pages (from-to)489 - 509
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2016

    Research areas

  • Sundhedspædagogik, Grundskole, Lærerprofession

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