Learning Objectives

To create a welcoming, inclusive atmosphere and begin to develop a sense of group cohesion (Exercises 1, 3 & 4).

For participants to gain a clear idea of the demands and opportunities provided by the course (Exercises 2 & 3).

To begin to establish the style of learning, starting from people’s own knowledge and using this to identify general themes which may stimulate contradictions and debates (Exercises 2, 5, 6).

To explore the distinction between medical and social perspectives in relation to health (Exercises 2, 5 & 6).

Learning Methods

Tutor input, individual work and group discussion, small group work, large group feedback.


This unit introduces the training and gives everyone an opportunity to get to know their fellow students.

There is space for ice-breaker(s) if needed, setting ground rules and exploring hopes and concerns. The key idea of the social model of health is introduced by drawing on participants’ own knowledge and experience. This unit can also be used as an introductory/taster session to let people find out a bit more about what is involved in the course to help them decide whether or not to participate in the full course.

This is the first time everyone has come together. Is everything in place? What will people be like? Will I do well? Everyone is likely to be a little apprehensive, including you.

The main exercise maps out the participants understanding of health drawing from their experiences.

Discussion around this is the link to the social and medical models of health.


Learning Objectives

To introduce different ways of thinking about health, culturally and historically (Exercises 2 & 3).

To consider the different status given to lay beliefs about health (Exercises 2 & 4).

To begin to explore ideas about the Group Project (Exercise 5).

Learning Methods

Individual work, small group work, large group feedback and discussion, reading and analysis, small group work based on individuals experiences. Group Project preparation.


This unit picks up on the theme of a social model of health and develops it by looking at a variety of ways of thinking about health, again using the participants’ own experiences as a starting point.

The materials are designed to encourage critical thinking and acceptance: there is not just one way of thinking about health. Firstly, from personal experience they look at the many causes and treatments that are known for a common cold. By introducing information and discussions on how accepted ideas are influenced or changed over time, there can be discussion around why these ideas may not be universally accepted. It is important to steer away from ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and focus more on difference.


Learning Objectives

To introduce key aspects of the determinants of health: poverty, inequality and social class (Exercises 2, 3, 4 & 5).

To utilise different types of resources and information (Exercise 3).

To explore the notion of relative poverty and its link to social justice.(Exercises 4 & 5).

Learning Methods

Participative exercise in reading and analysis, brainstorming, small group work and large group discussion, tutor input, Group Project preparation.


This unit begins to look at the impact of poverty on health and explores this through statistical analysis, reading and participative exercises. This unit takes participants into more serious areas of discussion and debate and can often be ‘make’ or ‘break’ for participants. Tutors will need to do some preparation for Exercise 3 to ensure that their group has access to the materials outlined and/or access to good library facilities (including the Internet where possible). If you are not able to do this, you will need to make sure you have hard copies of all reading material or source alternative materials.

Participants are asked to look at the health profiles in their own locality and make some comparisons with other areas. The health profiles are available to download from the “Scottish Public Health Observatory” website www.scotpho.org.uk

Statistics can seem unwieldy and demotivating at first glance and participants may need support and direction to get into the material. However, this is clearly a key unit prompting discussion, emotion and passion. Participants start to get a real sense of what the course is about.


Learning Objectives

To broaden understanding of different groups’ experience of inequality
(Exercises 2 & 3).

To introduce the idea of common cause and difference (Exercises 2 & 3).

To increase people’s confidence in finding information from different sources and reading critically (Exercise 3).

To introduce the concept of equity in health (Exercise 4).

To enable participants to develop a basic understanding of social exclusion, social inclusion and social justice (Exercises 2, 3, 4 & 5).

Learning Methods

Practical scenario, small group work, case study analysis, participative exercise, small group task, Group Project preparation.


This unit moves on from poverty and inequality to looking at issues of exclusion and the idea of equity in health. It builds on this through the exploration of social inclusion processes. It may well produce some lively debate and tutors should be prepared for quite a range of views to be put forward. This is identified as a challenging unit for both tutors and participants. The ‘Common Problems’ aspect of the title leads to conclusions linking inequality with exclusion and social justice. The reading and exercises prompt thoughts and discussions on different experiences of inequality and exclusion and the feelings that may arise. Feelings and controversial views relating to this can also become apparent among participants.

Several tutors have been faced with racist or discriminatory remarks which have been challenging for everyone. There are often hints during previous units that this might come up. Tutors emphasised the need to be prepared and to think of ways to challenge discrimination constructively. Support has come from reading materials, participants, ground rules, co-tutors, taking a professional approach, keeping your role in mind and being prepared!


Learning Objectives

To explore different aspects of power (Exercises 2, 3 & 4).

To introduce some theoretical concepts of power (Exercise 4).

To help participants to identify obstacles to participation and the different levels of participation that exist (Exercise 5).

Learning Methods

Participative exercise, tutor input, individual work, pairs work, large group discussion, small group work, group task, Group Project preparation.


This unit lies at the heart of the course. Again, using participants’ own experiences, it explores power relationships in a variety of ways. It then moves on to look at levels of participation within communities and how these can be developed and improved. The concept of power is central to community development and health and exploring this is a real eye opener for many participants. This can enhance understanding of experiences in the past but, since not having power can be a negative experience, it can be challenging. Keeping an eye on group dynamics and individual responses is important in this unit. Preparing some prompt questions to help conclude discussions on a more positive note has proved helpful. In looking ‘underneath’ the group can progress from internalised feelings to recognition that there are other factors contributing to this lack of power and that it is not always ‘all my fault’.


Learning Objectives

To place community development and health in an historical context (Exercise 2).

To begin to differentiate community development from other approaches to health (Exercise 5).

To identify the key elements and aims of community development practice
(Exercise 3).

To identify the health benefits of working with a community development approach (Exercise 4).

Learning Methods

Participative exercise, tutor input, small group work, case study analysis, Group Project preparation.


This unit introduces the key themes and dimensions of community development and health. It uses case study examples to illustrate these and to help participants relate theory to practice. You may want to draw on more recent or local events in Exercise 3 to bring things up to date and make it more relevant for participants During Part 2 there are opportunities to explore the community development process further and any parts of this unit that were not quite clear can be reiterated. However, if the group is concluding after Part 1, it may take a bit of time and extra support for participants to make the links.


Learning Objectives

To provide an alternative means of learning.

To provide a medium for self-expression.

To provide an opportunity for participants to carry out research and present their findings.

To provide a group learning opportunity which supports the course content. To help members to develop confidence in expressing their ideas publicly. To experience the value of group support and solidarity.

Learning Methods



This unit gives the participants their first real opportunity to work together on a project and to demonstrate what they have learned thus far on the course. They will have been involved in planning and preparing for the session over the previous 5 units. The Project normally takes the form of small group presentations to an audience of invited guests on an issue of importance to group members. It is a great opportunity to be creative, work with participants’ skills, find their strengths and build confidence from the achievement. From the very first unit participants are encouraged to feedback on small group discussions. This is the chance to experience presenting information publically and a small confidence-builder towards the eventual delivery of their findings in other settings.

Although there is time for planning in each unit, it is easy to let this slip. Each slip will potentially compromise the Group Project and contingency plans are helpful such as, extra sessions or doing this as a separate piece of work.

The learning log and opportunity for reflection on the group project is important. Many participants report never believing that they could have done such a thing and there is a sense of great achievement. This unit is the one that is most positively evaluated by participants and has produced some very powerful and articulate pieces of work.


Learning Objectives

To help participants to appreciate their progress.

To help participants to appraise their own development and learning.

To offer positive experience of feedback and reflection.

To provide CHEX and tutors with feedback.

Learning Methods



This unit provides an opportunity for participants to reflect on what they have covered so far, what they have learned and what they have contributed. The mid- point assignment (or Part 1 assignment) is introduced in this unit. Decisions can be made about whether students are going to continue on to do the second part of the course. This unit is the end of the first part of the course where participants have dealt with some key ideas about health and society. Students moving on to Part 2 will be expected to look at how some of these ideas can be turned into action through using community development approaches.

With the Group Project over and all the units in Part 1 covered, this is the point to practice community development approaches and have a detailed reflection of what has been covered so far. Tutors and participants especially have been surprised by the amount that has been covered and there are often feelings of relief and achievement associated with the Group Project. There is an opportunity to be creative with this session and celebrate the achievements so far.