Various Techniques followed in nutrition education
Nutrition education is an integral part of all nutrition intervention programmes. Education is a powerful and effective medicine in the treatment and prevention of illness. There are different methods of conducting a nutrition education program, they are as follows:
This is the most important information centered method. This method is similar to that of a class room where the people are assembled and the educator delivers the lecture. This method can be combined with other methods like lecture and demonstration, lecture and discussion, lecture and audio visual aid method. It is a very simple method and does not involve the active involvement of learners. It is not an appropriate method to promote changes in attitudes and does not convince people much. Unless the instructor is sensitive, this method does not elicit the feedback.
Group discussion and decision method is used for larger group of people. Group discussion leading to decision may be one of the best methods to modify social behavior. The feeling of belonging and the support to others make it easier for a person to change his attitudes and to adhere to his resolutions. There is also a feeling of responsibility to the group.
Among the most relevant of highly efficient group are good leadership, long association, common values and motives, willingness to accept group goals, a good atmosphere, member’s belief in themselves and genuine interest and willingness to help each other. Unfortunately, even while the need for these characteristics of groups is realized, they are not easy to achieve.
There are two principle types of demonstration namely, method demonstration and result demonstration. In method demonstration, a procedure is carried out step by step, slowly and accurately, before an audience, the demonstrator ascertaining that the audience has understood how to perform it. They should be easy to see, hear and understand, interesting and short enough to keep the attention of the audience.
In result demonstration, the results of activity, carried out by the educator or another, possibly a member of the community are demonstrated and discussed. This method is now widely accepted, even though they are costly and time consuming than the above method.
Dramatization of a story or situation can be a useful method of education. Drama can be pf different forms. It may be a skit or short play. In some parts of India and Korea, puppets are popular. However, one particularly effective form of drama is role play. It consists of acting various roles in real situation in order to create a clear understanding of its implications and the relationships involved in it. The members of the group themselves play the parts in scene; It is a useful starting point for discussion leading to subsequent improvements. Role plays and puppets are particularly good for work with children. Role plays are very useful in interactions with a group of mothers.
There is nothing to compare with the impact of a good story and a good story teller. In fact this is one of the ancient traditions of our country. To encourage participation and to bring out the views and perceptions of the group we can use open ended stories. The communicator can begin a story and let the group complete it. After the session is over, discussion ids important to emphasize the major points that needs to be learned.
This is particularly a useful technique in encouraging people to come out with solutions to meet their own problems. The person conducting group session may present a problem and ask for ideas about solving it. As people respond, their ideas may be listed. The group may then decide to take up the ideas which seen most practical and act on them.
Community self survey:
A self survey technique involves people in studying problems which exist among them and working out solutions of these problems. It has been found that when people participate in such a study they become much more aware of the problems and also much more prepared to play an active part in overcoming them. Self surveys usually result in people wanting to take action. The role of nutrition educator remains that of a guide who familiarizes the group with the procedure and encourages the participants to take responsibility for the program. Local leaders should be involved in planning and carrying out a self survey.
The nutrition workshops should discuss the nutrition problems of the regions and the steps to be taken for solving the problems and for improving the nutrition of the community. These are a form of group meeting which is based on the belief that people can solve their own problems provided hey have access to the necessary technical know-how. It is a method for training the staff than for educating the public.
Interviews with individuals:
When interviews with individuals are specially organized for educational purposes, they require much time to reach comparatively few people. Social scientists, survey workers of various kinds, health visitors, home economics and agricultural extension workers and many other professional workers use the interview in the home as one of the main tools. This is an essential method of collecting base-line information for a nutrition program.
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