The system of education is one of the most rigid structures in any country’s order but, at the same time, it is the one requiring exceptional flexibility and adaptability. Although schools’ curriculum is commonly accepted for a lengthy period, it is evident that it needs alterations from time to time. Currently, the acute issue lacking in the curriculum is first aid training for students. This problem is closely related to the low level of awareness and insufficient attention to this issue among teachers. Hence, a new instructional program is offered, which entails the inclusion of first aid to the school curriculum as a mandatory class. The paper discloses the context of the issue, provides the key definitions and the analysis of theoretical perspectives and offers an extensive critique of scholarly literature focused on the selected topic.
The Context of the Curriculum Topic
The curriculum topic has high relevance in modern society where the number of potential hazards is constantly increasing, and schools’ possibilities to fight against them are not effective. The so-called Tyler’s rationale involving the basic principles of instruction and curriculum was grounded in four major aspects when first introduced over half a century ago (Kliebard, 1970). These four questions concerned educational purposes and experiences and the ways of attaining them. However, although Tyler’s rationale persists in the modern educational system, scholars admit that the curriculum requires changes due to the numerous alterations in social and other spheres (Burns, 2018). Joyce, Weil, and Calhoun (2015) emphasize the need for enhancing instructional approaches at schools. Taking historical and social changes into consideration, it becomes evident that some aspects of schools’ curriculum require serious modifications.
One of the highly relevant adjustments is the inclusion of first aid training in the curriculum. It is important to educate Saudi Arabian learners on first-aid approaches because frequently, one’s own life or the lives of one’s peers can be saved if immediate measures are taken. Unfortunately, the current situation regarding this question is unsatisfactory. Not only students but also many teachers do not know the basic principles of giving first aid. However, research indicates that training programs have the potential to increase the level of knowledge of all participants in the teaching process. Therefore, the suggested curriculum topic is first aid training of students.
However, before implementing change, it is necessary to make sure that all of the teachers have received appropriate education and can manage the situation in their classroom successfully. Scholars remark that the level of teachers’ and students’ knowledge of first aid depends on the specification of classroom members or experience (Hammett, 2016; Pani et al., 2014). Introducing the course of first aid as a mandatory class to the curriculum will have a positive effect on Saudi Arabian schools, teachers, and students. All participants of the study process will feel confident and keep calm in case of an emergency if they are prepared using specialized training.
The key vocabulary of the project incorporates such concepts as first aid, an emergency, trauma, an injury, attitude, and practice score. Considering the aim of the suggested program, these terms are defined as follows:
- First aid: a system of measures necessary to provide immediate help to a person who has been injured or who has suddenly become ill. First aid at school may be provided by a teacher or a peer, but only in case, they have received professional education. Currently, Saudi Arabia schools lack such training, which results in poor outcomes.
- An emergency: an unexpected critical situation that involves danger and requires immediate reaction. The most typical kinds of emergencies that can affect schools include fire, hurricane, earthquake, and lockdown. Teachers should be aware of the ways of evacuating students or keeping them safe until the rescue team arrives.
- A trauma: an unpleasant experience of physical or psychological nature the effects of which can last for a long time.
- An injury: a wound in someone’s body that occurs as a result of an accident or an assault.
- Attitude: the way teachers react to the need for first aid education and the feelings they experience regarding students’ injuries and traumas.
- Practice score: the rate of teachers’ awareness of first aid and their ability to educate students on it.
Relationships Between Key Concepts and Phenomena
The interconnection between key issues is driven by student needs. At present, many accidents happening in school settings are not prevented and cannot be managed efficiently due to the lack of awareness about the possible problems. The suggested instructional problem incorporates the increase in teachers’ and students’ practice scores in first and emergency management. This rise is expected to improve the level of understanding of a variety of trauma and injury types prevailing at school.
The major problem that served as a basis for suggesting the topic is that society is changing too rapidly, and its modifications are not always positive. The emergence of new types of illnesses, the rate of injuries among schoolchildren, the spread of violence, and the possibility to purchase harmful substances are at an increased rate nowadays. Children can no longer feel safe merely because they are under the guidance and protection of their teachers who are older and more experienced. It is the time for every school student to take responsibility for offering first help to their classmates as soon as they notice some problem.
Apart from the educational component, the curriculum also incorporates philosophical, sociological, and psychological elements. As theorists note, these aspects require more involvement from the state and local organizations (Burns, 2018). Researchers report that only 37.2% of Saudi Arabia schools have included first aid in their curriculum (Mobarak, Afifi, & Qulali, 2015). This rate is too low if considering the number of injuries schoolchildren are subjected to daily. Therefore, there is a direct relationship between key phenomena and concepts. It is the responsibility of teachers to gain the inclusion of first aid training as a mandatory class of the curriculum.
The Critique of the Literature and the Analysis of Theoretical Perspectives
Scholarly literature published within the past five years pays sufficient attention to the issue of first aid in educational establishments. However, most of the studies reviewed focus on specific concepts related to first aid rather than the implementation of this aspect as a mandatory class. Furthermore, too little attention is paid to Saudi Arabia schools as an object of investigation. However, it is relevant to present an overview of the located articles the authors of which analyze first aid in the context of a classroom.
First Aid Training for Teachers and Its Evaluation
A large number of scholars investigate the questions of school safety and emergency management and the role of first aid knowledge in reaching success in these aspects. Alolah, Stewart, Panuwatwanich, and Mohamed (2014) analyze the impact of balanced scorecard perspectives on school safety. In their study, which is based on Saudi Arabia schools, the authors dwell on the measures of evaluating schools’ safety performance. The purpose of such assessments is to minimize accidents at schools. Alolah et al. (2014) note that there is a close connection between safety training and safety management. Hence, it is viable to conclude that teaching students on first aid would have positive outcomes.
A special trend in research is scrutinizing schools’ readiness for emergency incidents. Bashir and Bakarman (2014) and Taranath, Senaikarasi, and Manchanda (2017) discuss the level of preparedness of school teachers to offer first aid. The first study focuses on Saudi Arabia’s educational facilities, whereas the second one investigates Indian schools. Bashir and Bakarman (2014) report that over half of Saudi Arabian primary school teachers can offer first aid effectively. The findings of research related to both public and private schools. Additionally, the authors note that those teachers who have received additional training demonstrate a better practice score. Taranath et al. (2017) remark that the knowledge and attitude levels of Indian teachers regarding first aid have increased after an educational program. Thus, it is possible to assume that educational programs for teachers have a great potential to raise the awareness of first aid’s promotion at schools.
Other scholars also analyze first aid at schools from the perspective of teachers’ involvement. For instance, Behairy and Al-Batanony (2016) discuss the effectiveness of a first-aid intervention program. Hammett (2016) investigates to what extent first aid requirements are fulfilled at schools. Joseph et al. (2015) evaluate the awareness of first aid among school teachers. All of these studies reveal important findings uncovering the benefits and limitations of current attitudes toward first aid education. Behairy and Al-Batanony (2016) note that completing a basic life support course promotes the correct behavior in case of an emergency. Joseph et al. (2015) also argue that receiving first aid education increases teachers’ knowledge in this sphere to a great extent. Hammett (2016) emphasizes the significance of teachers’ participation in first aid training courses for the welfare of children. Therefore, all scholars agree that it is necessary to teach school employees on first aid so that they could save their students’ lives and alleviate the aftermath of some emergency cases.
First Aid as Related to Students
It is necessary to note that the majority of findings are related to teachers’ function in providing first aid, whereas students’ abilities become the focus of scholars’ attention much less frequently. However, this problem is quite acute since teaching children how to protect themselves in case of an emergency or how to help their peers to cope with some major health hazards is of high importance. Despite the seriousness of the issue, only several publications devoted to the students’ perspective on first aid have been located. Mobarak et al. (2015) have analyzed the level of first aid knowledge among Saudi Arabian students. Scholars have concluded that the mean score of first aid knowledge among the participants aged between 17 and 21 is 64.8% ± 11% (Mobarak et al., 2015). Also, the authors have pointed out a tendency associated with the previous training: those young people who have received additional education on first aid reported much better scores than those without prior training. Scholars emphasize the need for introducing first aid education in the curriculum because of its potential to enhance the control of health emergencies.
Several more studies focus on the importance of adding first aid to the school curriculum. Findings of a comprehensive literature review by Reveruzzi, Buckley, and Sheehan (2016) indicate that school-based training can significantly increase students’ basic life support knowledge and minimize the risk of injuries. De Buck et al. (2015) also argue that first aid should be one of the most prominent educational goals at schools. However, researchers, whose study is based on Belgian schools, note that frequently, teachers do not know when such training should be initiated. Hence, scholars recommend the division of students by age and educating each of the age groups appropriately. These articles indicate that the likelihood of adding first aid to the curriculum becomes higher and higher, which correlates with the topic of the present research project.
Health Care Emergency Cases Prevailing at Schools
Along with investigating the current trends in teachers’ and students’ first aid knowledge, scholars analyze the most typical issues that may put children’s health under threat when they are at school. The most frequently discussed topic in this respect is dental injuries. Many scholars focus research on teachers’ knowledge of dental trauma (Alsadhan, Alsayari, & Abuabat, 2018; Awad et al., 2017; Pani et al., 2014; Singh, Ingle, Kaur, & Yadav, 2015; Singh, 2017; Taranath et al., 2017). The reason why teachers’ knowledge of this health issue is analyzed in numerous studies is that dental injury is quite typical among children. However, the timely identification of the problem may avert undesired outcomes, such as costly and lengthy treatment of the extraction of a tooth.
The majority of research articles’ findings report a poor level of teachers’ knowledge of dental trauma. This trend pertains both to Saudi Arabia and some other countries. Awad et al. (2017) have found that the United Arab Emirates educators’ awareness and attitude levels of dental injuries is critically low. Singh et al. (2015), Singh (2017), and Taranath et al. (2017) report similar low results for Indian teachers. Meanwhile, Alsadhan et al. (2018) emphasize the lack of dental trauma knowledge among Saudi Arabian teachers. Findings presented by Pani et al. (2014) indicate that teachers who have experience of working with children having attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder demonstrate a higher level of knowledge and attention. Finally, several studies argue that the introduction of educational programs is likely to improve the situation significantly (Awad et al., 2017; Taranath et al., 2017). Although all of the mentioned articles focus on teachers’ rather than students’ first aid knowledge, it is crucial to consider their findings when preparing curriculum changes.
Other health issues that are the focus of scholars’ analyses include breathing problems, menstrual health, and epilepsy. Haque, Rahman, Itsuko, Mutahara, and Sakisaka (2014) have investigated the knowledge of menstrual health among adolescents before and after an educational program. The authors note that teaching girls about various aspects of menstrual practices significantly improves their attitude to menstrual health. Alqahtani’s (2015) research on Saudi Arabia teachers’ epilepsy knowledge has given unsatisfactory results. The scholar has found that as many as 64.1% of teachers who witnessed epilepsy fits were not able to help students. These findings prove that adding first aid to the curriculum will be beneficial not only for learners but also for teachers.
Teachers’ awareness of breathing problems is also reported as rather poor. Al Aloola et al. (2016), Al Aloola, Nissen, Alewairdhi, Al Faryan, and Saini (2017) note that teachers’ knowledge of asthma problems is insufficient and argue that cooperation between educators and parents is necessary for this respect. Vale, Smith, Said, Mullins, and Loh (2015) discuss the benefits of introducing an educational program on preventing anaphylaxis at schools. Wilks and Pendergast (2017) emphasize the need for resuscitation courses for teachers and students. All of these articles demonstrate that currently, the level of first aid knowledge is not relevant, and teachers cannot guarantee their students’ safety in the majority of emergencies.
The Rationale for New Relationships and New Perspectives on the Curriculum Topic
The inclusion of first aid training has become an issue requiring an immediate resolution due to the potential danger of neglecting it. The new relationships and perspectives on the curriculum topics have to be considered from the point of gaps existing in the current educational system. While the ultimate purpose of the proposed change is educating students on first aid and basic life support, it is crucial to arrange an extensive training program for teachers first. The rationale behind instructing teachers is related to the fact that the level of awareness and attitude of these specialists is not sufficient to arrange a safe environment for every schoolchild.
The positive effect of training both for teachers and students is acknowledged by scholars. Research findings demonstrate that a better practice score is gained by those teachers and students who have undergone training (Bashir & Bakarman, 2014; Mobarak et al., 2015; Reveruzzi et al., 2016; Taranath et al., 2017). Hence, scholarly research provides a solid basis for a new dimension of relationships among the key concepts.
New perspectives on the curriculum topic involve several important components. Most importantly, the inclusion of first aid in the curriculum should be preceded by a comprehensive program aimed at instructing teachers. These specialists have to be fully aware of all details about both first aid and teaching students about it. Secondly, it is necessary to arrange the integration between first aid, physical training, and biology lessons. By organizing such a synthesis of subjects, teachers will be able to enrich their students’ knowledge in each of them separately and in their collaboration collectively. As a result, each of these important spheres of education will complement one another and lead to an extensive understanding of the key principles of injuries and first aid. Finally, the curriculum will involve a set of competitions at local and district levels where schools’ teams will demonstrate their best knowledge and skills in first aid.
Educating students on the principles of giving first aid is an urgent necessity in the modern school system. It is crucial to add such a class to the curriculum because its implications will be highly beneficial for children. Currently, the level of teachers’ and learners’ awareness of first aid is moderate to low. The implementation of the new instructional program has the potential to enhance the ability of students to quickly react to emergencies and offer immediate medical help to their peers.
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