With past experience in teaching, a couple of degrees in writing, and an upbringing immersed in medical jargon, Mike is positioned well to hear out the most common questions teachers ask about the iCEV curriculum. His goal is to write content that quickly and effectively answers these questions so you can back to what matters - teaching your students.
Whether you’re a new Texas health science teacher or are just looking to add variety to your classroom, finding the best materials to teach Practicum in Health Science can be intimidating. You need to get your students off to a good start, because for most of them, this class will be their first chance to develop skills that they’ll be using for most of their careers.
But what kind of resources should you use to ensure your students can apply their skills in a truly meaningful way? Where should you look to find the right activities and lesson plans for your kids? What are the pros and cons of each resource?
As a health science curriculum developer, we often speak with Texas teachers who ask us these questions and more. In response, we’ve put together a list of some of the best resources out there to teach Practicum in Health Science and help your students get the hands-on training they need.
In this article, you’ll discover the 3 best resources to teach your Practicum in Health Science course:
Textbook: Today’s Health Professions
Digital Curriculum Systems
By the end of this article, you’ll better understand these different resources, see examples of them, and be able to decide which is the best fit for your classroom.
1. Textbook: Today’s Health Professions
There’s a reason textbooks have stuck around as long as they have: they’re one of the most reliable resources when it comes to building a curriculum.
Textbooks provide solid, well-researched information divided into digestible chapters and sections. Many even come with lesson plans and activities you can use to engage your class.
If you’re looking for a more traditional resource to serve as the keystone of your course, then a textbook might be just the right fit.
What Is the Best Textbook to Teach This Course?
When it comes to teaching Practicum in Health Science in Texas, it’s hard to beat Today’s Health Professions, a textbook from B.E. Publishing.
This book introduces students to healthcare careers, providing them with an overview of the skills and certifications they’ll need to thrive in their chosen path. It is composed of 31 chapters divided into five sections:
The State of the Healthcare Environment
The Divisions of Healthcare
Primary Care Professions
Allied Health Professions
The Professional Work Environment
One key feature within this textbook are the “Day in the Life” vignettes that explore the daily activities of healthcare workers. There are also case studies based on real-life scenarios, designed to get students to think critically about the challenges they may face as professionals.
By providing students with practical knowledge and experience right from the minds of industry professionals, Today’s Health Professions gives students the insight they need to succeed in your course.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Textbook to Teach This Course?
There are some major benefits to using a textbook like Today’s Health Professions to teach your course:
Textbooks are comprehensive - Health science textbooks go in-depth into the various concepts involved in healthcare, offering a detailed overview of the material you need to teach. Chances are, if there’s information your students have to know, they’ll find it in a textbook.
Textbooks are well-paced - Most textbooks divide their topics neatly by units and chapters. For new teachers, this helps you to structure your class, so you know how to pace topics to ensure student understanding.
Textbooks provide activities and lesson plans - Many health science textbooks offer bonus features like classroom activities, materials, or structures for lesson plans. When used right, these can help you make your course more varied and engaging.
Depending on your needs, these advantages could be key to giving your curriculum the strong core it needs.
What Are the Drawbacks of Using a Textbook to Teach This Course?
Textbooks aren’t for everybody and every course, and it’s important to note that if you decide to use a textbook for your course, you may experience some significant drawbacks. These are some of the biggest downsides of relying on a textbook:
Textbooks are expensive - An individual textbook can cost hundreds of dollars, making them a costly choice for teachers who want to supply them to their entire class. Doing so could cost a school or district thousands of dollars, which many might not choose to go through with.
Textbooks aren’t always engaging - If student engagement is an area you often have trouble with in your health science class, then a textbook might not be the best choice. Though they have good information, textbooks are often dry and may not excite students as much as other teaching strategies. You’ll probably need to supplement your textbook with outside resources to make your class more exciting for students.
Textbooks become outdated - This is a crucial point to consider before making a textbook your resource of choice. Textbooks can’t be updated over time, so as medical knowledge and techniques advance, it’s inevitable your textbook will get left behind. After a few years, you’ll likely have to replace it entirely.
Before you consider whether or not to choose a textbook to teach your course, measure these drawbacks against the benefits you read about earlier. It’s possible the cons may outweigh the pros, and vice versa!
Is a Textbook the Right Fit for You?
That depends on a few things, including what teaching style you plan on using in your class and what you want from your teaching materials.
If you’re a new teacher trying to get your bearings, then you would probably value the reliability and structure that a textbook like Today’s Health Professions would bring. This is also the case if you plan on using more traditional teaching techniques like lecturing students and assigning reading.
However, if you’ve got some experience teaching and want to branch out to create a more engaging class, then there are other options available. After all, textbooks can be a lot of trouble for teachers who don’t want to worry about outdated material or the expense of supplying new students with books.
2. Supplemental Materials
Not every new teacher is looking for the heavy structure that textbooks provide. Instead, many prefer to gather supplemental resources to craft their own curriculum from scratch.
Supplemental resources can be effective for providing variety. Rather than being constrained to one textbook or curriculum, teachers instead draw from several different sources, picking and choosing the lesson plans or activities they know would best fit in their classrooms.
What Are Some of the Best Supplemental Materials to Teach This Course?
There are many websites and communities from which you can take supplemental material to craft your curriculum, including:
Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) - Teachers Pay Teachers is a digital marketplace where hundreds of vendors develop and sell educational content to teachers, covering a vast array of topics. If you look through it, you’re bound to find engaging activities, games, and lesson plans to help you develop your curriculum.
Texas CTE Resource Center - This is a solid resource for Texas-based health science teachers to use because of its alignment with your TEKS course requirements. It provides lesson plans covering a limited number of topics within the eleven TEKS units, and will likely be easily adaptable to your classroom. There are both standard and extended versions of this material available.
While these options are great, it’s also important to remember that many more are out there. Altogether, you’ll probably find no shortage of supplemental health science material tucked away into small corners of the internet.
What Are the Benefits of Using Supplemental Health Science Material?
There are several positives to using supplemental material to build your core health science curriculum, but the two biggest ones are:
Supplemental material allows for more customizability and creativity - If you use this method, it means you’re gathering every piece of material on your own and fitting them together as you want. This gives you ultimate control over the structure, pacing, and content of your classroom, which more experienced teachers value greatly.
Supplemental material is usually engaging - With all of the activities, games, presentations, exercises, and videos you can find online, using supplemental material to help you teach your course is almost bound to make your class more engaging to students. While textbooks can be dull or drab, supplemental material is often fun and exciting.
With the level of variation, customizability, and engagement that supplemental materials can provide, it’s no surprise that experienced teachers often use them to create their own unique courses.
What Are the Drawbacks of Using Supplemental Health Science Material?
Using supplemental material to create your Practicum in Health Science curriculum isn’t for everybody. There are a few drawbacks to this way of doing things that may make it a detriment to some teachers:
Supplemental material isn’t always reliable - Because of the large variety of supplemental material out there, from government-supplied resources to lessons crafted by independent vendors, you can’t always be sure of the reliability of the lessons and exercises you choose to use. Some lessons may be more fact-based than others, and some activities may not be nearly as engaging as its vendor might suggest it is.
Supplemental material can make your class feel inconsistent - Since supplemental material is usually drawn from several different sources, when you use this method, you sometimes run the risk of your class feeling disjointed. Some lessons will be of higher quality than others, some activities more engaging, and overall, each day may feel disconnected from the day prior.
Using supplemental material to form a curriculum takes more work - One of the biggest drawbacks of this method is the amount of work it will take. If you’re new to teaching, you probably have enough to learn and worry about already, and taking hours out of your week to painstakingly create your own curriculum from many different materials could be overwhelming.
It’s essential to consider these drawbacks before deciding whether supplemental material is the right choice for your course. After all, many new teachers may love the customizability this method offers, while failing to consider how much work is involved in getting it right.
Is Supplemental Health Science Material the Right Fit for You?
Whether you should use supplemental material to create your curriculum depends on a few factors, including your experience level and the amount of time you need to prep.
If you already have teaching experience and want to build a custom, engaging curriculum over which you have complete control, then using supplemental material would probably be a good option for you.
However, if you’re new to teaching or lack time to build your own curriculum from the ground up, then using supplemental materials to structure your course likely wouldn’t be the best option.
3. Digital Curriculum Systems
Digital curriculum is yet another option available for teachers who want a comprehensive approach that takes far less work to implement.
A digital curriculum system is online teaching software designed to provide teachers with all the resources they need to teach their class, including lesson plans and activities.
These systems come in several shapes and sizes, ranging from “plug-and-play” courses where students primarily teach themselves, to more blended approaches that balance traditional instruction and educational technology.
What Is the Best Digital Curriculum Option to Teach This Course?
There are relatively few digital curriculum systems available that align closely with the TEKS standards for Practicum in Health Science.
If you decide a digital curriculum is the best choice for you, then this is an excellent option you can choose.
What Are the Benefits of Using Digital Curriculum to Teach This Course?
Using a digital curriculum as the core resource for your class comes with many positives, including:
Digital curriculum has reliable information - These systems are often sold as products or as subscription-based services, which means there are dedicated teams of professionals working to add to the curriculum and make sure the information is up to date.
Digital curriculum is often engaging - Many digital curriculum systems use some form of blended learning to ensure students retain more information. With the help of digital activities, exercises, and videos, digital curriculum places a focus on engagement that most textbooks simply can’t keep up with.
Digital curriculum can be flexible - Depending on the system you use, digital curriculum can strike a fine balance between flexibility and structure. It provides a framework for your health science class, but also allows you to deviate from that framework and differentiate your course as you see fit.
It’s important to remember that, while these benefits apply to many digital curriculum systems, they won’t apply to all. There are many kinds of digital curriculum out there, some with more reliability and flexibility than others, and finding the right one for you is key to your success.
What Are the Drawbacks of Using Digital Curriculum to Teach This Course?
Though digital curriculum has many benefits for your classroom, there are some notable problems you can face while using it. The three biggest problems with using digital curriculum are:
Digital curriculum requires technology - Simply put, most digital curriculum systems work best in classrooms with access to laptops or other devices for each student. If students can’t access the interactive lessons, exercises, or videos within the curriculum, many of its advantages fall flat.
Digital curriculum can involve too much screen time - Some teachers complain that digital curriculum can cause students to spend too long sitting in front of screens, taking away from lectures or other hands-on experiences, which could be detrimental to your course.
Digital curriculum can lead to students cheating - Because digital curriculum assessments and course material are often standardized, students may be able to find answers to assignments or quizzes online. This can lead to more cheating in the classroom.
While these are all valid drawbacks to digital curriculum, it’s important to keep in mind that depending on the system you use, one or more of these criticisms might be irrelevant. This is because of the large amount of variation between each digital curriculum system.
Is Digital Curriculum the Right Fit for You?
Though digital curriculum systems are usually comprehensive and engaging, they aren’t for everyone. Depending on your needs, digital curriculum may or may not be the right fit for your course.
If you’re new to teaching and need a robust curriculum with solid structure and up-to-date information, then a digital curriculum will probably fit you well. This is also the case if you need quality content that better engages your students in class.
However, if your students don’t have access to individual laptops, or if you prefer to stick purely to traditional instruction, then digital curriculum likely won’t be the right choice for you. Using digital curriculum to its fullest requires technology, after all, and that can be too expensive for some districts to justify.
Which Practicum in Health Science Curriculum is Right for You?
The best resource for your Practicum in Health Science course depends on a few factors, like your teaching experience, amount of free time, preferred teaching style, and more.
For new teachers who need structure in the classroom, a textbook is a reliable choice.
Textbooks give your course a strong framework to work from, providing material that’s often accurate and well-paced, though sometimes unengaging.
If you’re an experienced teacher who isn’t afraid of extra work, you can also try using supplemental materials to craft your curriculum from scratch.
This will work particularly well if you want total creative control over your course so that you can customize it to the needs of your students.
Finally, if you’re inexperienced or simply need a resource that strikes a good balance between reliability, engagement, and structure, then digital curriculum might be the answer for you.
Digital curriculum does an excellent job of shoring up some of the issues that plague standard textbooks and supplemental material, striving for student engagement and comprehensiveness.