Teaching Health and Wellbeing to Young Adults

So, where do you start when talking about health with your young adult classes and how you can jazz up some of your classes with fun projects?

Understanding the importance of health for teenagers as they’re going through significant physical, mental and emotional development means we can incorporate health topics into your ELT classes.  This not only enhances language learning but also gives them some essential life skills.  Let’s have a look at why health matters for these young adults and some practical projects to jazz up your lessons.

Why health matters.

In terms of physical well-being, adolescents experience rapid physical changes in this period of their lives, making it vital to teach them about bodily functions, nutrition and fitness.  Obviously, talking about topics such as sports, exercise routines and healthy eating habits in the ELT classroom empowers them to make discussions about their well-being.

Awareness of mental health during those teenage years often come about through academic pressures, social challenges and hormonal fluctuations leading to stress and anxiety.  Our classrooms can provide a supportive environment where young adults can openly discuss mental health issues and develop some mental resilience.  We can explore activities that focus on mindfulness and stress management and techniques that provide valuable coping strategies.

Healthy social relationships are essential for their development, influencing self-esteem, communication skills and conflict resolution abilities – often activities we practice through roleplay (a popular one being parent – teen negotiations).  Projects promoting teamwork and interpersonal communication in addition to language can help young adults navigate peer interactions and foster empathy.

The next two areas of health awareness should be approached sensitively but should they be avoided?  Young adults can be embarrassed talking about sexual and reproductive health and substance abuse so a mature, safe, open dialogue should be established from the start to help dispel myths.

Navigating sexuality and relationships is a significant aspect of adolescent development and comprehensive sex education helps them to make informed decisions about contraception, consent and reproductive health.  In terms of substance abuse, we can discuss the adverse effects of drugs, alcohol and tobacco and the refusal skills and coping mechanisms to overcome peer influence and societal pressures.  ELT projects focusing on media literacy and decision making can help young adults to resist peer pressure effectively.


Here are 6 projects you can run with your students:

Health Blogging encourages students to create personal blogs or online journals where they can reflect on health-related topics and share experiences.  Weekly writing could be based on nutrition, exercise and mental wellbeing, promoting critical thinking and literacy skills

Public Service Announcements (or infographic campaigns) where your students collaborate to produce announcements addressing various issues relevant to young adults.  Scriptwriting, storyboarding and video production engage students while raising awareness in the school

Organising a Health Fair where students research and present information stalls on nutrition, exercise and stress management.  Collaborating with local health organisations increases student’s engagement and community involvement

Facilitating Debates on controversial health issues encourage students to explore multiple perspectives and articulate evidence-based arguments.  Make sure you emphasise respectful dialogue and critical analysis to promote intellectual growth.

Organise a Fitness Challenge where students set personal fitness goals and track their progress over a specified period of time.  Students can do activities such as walking, running, cycling, yoga or dance, keeping a journal with their experiences and achievements.  This will foster a sense of camaraderie, motivation and healthy competition among students while promoting the importance of regular physical exercise.

You may run Wellness Workshops where students teach each other about aspects of health, wellbeing and physical exercise.  Your students can design interactive sessions on topics lies stress management techniques, mindfulness practices, healthy cooking demonstrations or relaxation exercises.  These workshops would provide a supportive environment for peer learning and skill sharing.