Each of the headings below are questions you should ask yourself about a chosen topic. Below each heading is an example of one student answering each of the questions.

Why I care?Edit

I’m thinking of writing an investigative article on peer health educator training at ESCHS. Why do I care about this topic? Each year for the past three years, I happened to have one advisee who showed talent in educating peers about health issues: a girl three years ago, who is now an 11th grader; a boy last year who is now a 10th grader; and a current 9th grade girl. Each of these kids have inspired me. I’m in awe of the authority with which my current advisee speaks about these issues in Advisory, and of how closely her classmates listen when she sets them straight on the facts. I can imagine her going to college and majoring in social work or health education, and then going to graduate school for her Masters in Public Health (MPH). I’m hoping to locate a summer program or internship that would be worth her time this summer. My student last year had a job as a peer health educator at Loisaida, Inc., and I got to witness his growth. My student three years ago got her start as a peer health educator with Urban Dove, Inc. I’m interested in this topic because I’m interested in creating conditions for kids to grow.

What do I know already?Edit

What I know about this topic is that peer health education training enables a young person to try on a new role – the role of teacher – and that, just by taking on that new role in relation to others, a young person automatically takes on the new responsibilities associated with that role. I know that as you learn about healthy relationships, healthy bodies, and boundaries, you find yourself acquiring compassion and empathy for others. I know that you learn public speaking, and sometimes even political organizing.

What brings this to mind now?Edit

One recent event that brought this topic to mind for me was my advisory’s latest session with NYU’s Peer Health Exchange. This event is newsworthy, given its uniqueness (the 9th grade is ESCHS’ only grade that gets the NYU Peer Health Exchange), its timeliness (last week, NYU’s Peer Health Exchange started up again for the second semester; and next month, the application season for summer programs and internships will be upon us), its community interest (our school is located in one of the epicenters of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in this country: NYC), and the unanswered questions it raises (DO kids learn better when taught by people closer in age? Do the sessions with the NYU Peer Health Exchange create conditions for 9th graders to find themselves speaking knowledgeably with one another about health?).

What's my slant?Edit

My slant – my angle, my burning question – on this topic is, “How can ESCHS help kids to develop their skill as peer health educators?”

How do I find out more?Edit

How can I find out more about this topic? I could interview students about what it means to them to be able to challenge and support peers re: something as important as life or death. I could interview ESCHS Condom Keepers about whether they think peer health education is useful. I could research summer programs and internships, and announce that students interested in applying could come see me. I could ask advisees to journal about whether they can imagine training to become a peer health educator. I could write a webjournal on East Side Bloggers 2009 and collect responses. I could interview ESCHS College Counselor about careers in health education and counseling.

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