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SEED is a charity based in Hull, East Yorkshire, UK. They aim to “support both sufferers and carers in the hope that they do not feel alone with their problems“. Having first-hand experience with eating disorders, their mission is to make a difference to those people whose lives are “blighted by this devastating illness“.
Part of their strategy has been to aid teachers to be able to educate students on the causes and effects of eating disorders for both the sufferer and their caregiver. Learning about eating disorders is now a compulsory part of the PSHE curriculum in UK schools. However, many teachers don’t have an expert understanding of the disorders or are, understandably frightened of not teaching about them correctly. Prior to speaking to SEED, I fell into both categories.
SEED has put together a brilliant educational toolkit for teachers. The toolkit features lesson plans, videos and printable resources. There are three main, fully planned, lessons and a fourth, creative lesson that reinforces students understanding. There is also a very clearly written user guide to help teachers feel comfortable delivering the lessons. There is a BIG discount for all of you at the bottom of this article!
I shall talk more about each lesson later but first, here is some information on the kind of eating disorders that affect and increasing amount of school age children across the country. It is almost certain that if you haven’t had a student with an eating disorder in your classroom before, you will do at some point in your teaching career.
Introduction to Eating D
Eating disorders are mental illnesses, they are not attention seeking behaviour or just someone trying to change their body. They can take over your life and make you very physically ill and sadly have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. They can affect anyone, male or female but mostly affect young women aged 13-17 (NHS).
The most common forms of
Types of Eating Disorder
Compulsively eating or exercising too little (or both) in order to keep your weight as low as possible. These actions can make them very ill because they start to starve. They often have a distorted view of their bodies, thinking they are overweight even when they are dangerously underweight. It is most common in young women and typically starts in the mid-teens.
Eating a lot of food in a short space of time followed by self-induced vomiting or using laxatives to empty your digestive system to stop you from gaining weight. You may also do too much exercise to try to achieve the same goal. Most commonly Bulimia affects young women in their mid to late teens.
Regularly losing control of how much you are eating, eating large portions of food all at once until you feel uncomfortably full. This results in feelings of guilt and/or shame. It affects men and women, often starting in late teens to early 20s
The most common of the four eating disorders.
SEED Educational Toolkit Review
There are detailed lesson plans for each lesson along with an accompanying video and answer sheets for the quizzes and questions to help teachers give the correct information. The lessons are video lead and have breaks for collaborative and questioning activities. The videos are presented by Marg Oaten MBE, she is the co-founder and secretary of the SEED charity. Marg is also the mother of another presenter, Gemma Oaten. Gemma suffered from an eating disorder for 13 years and through the support of her family, overcame the illness and went on to star in British TV soap, Emmerdale.
Lesson 1 Part 1: Introduction and Who May Have An Eating Disorder.
The first lesson is broken down into two parts. Part one deals with who may have an eating disorder and why we need to feed our bodies, benefits we get from eating and what biological functions are reliant on a healthy diet.
Lesson 1 Part 2: Mother’s Testimonial.
Part two looks at how eating disorders affect the family as a whole as well as looking at Marg’s own story of how her daughter’s eating disorder affected her and what her fears were. There is also a video called Breaking Free, a poem to listen to and a discussion based group work activity on control.
Lesson 2 Part 1: Recapping and reinforcing understanding.
Part one looks at the emotional and physical aspects of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, the triggers and then it focuses on EDNOS (Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified). The video explains in detail both the physical and emotional effects in a very clear way, it is accessible for students of all abilities.
Lesson 2 Part 2: Media Influence and Unacceptable Demands.
With the media presenting the “perfect” body image to students constantly, this section is hugely important for your classes to work through. It is presented by Gemma Oaten, as a tv personality and a prior sufferer of an eating disorder, she is very qualified to talk about this. It features a video from Gok Wan’s website bodygossip.org and a discussion the media and social media influence and on unacceptable demands put on people in dance, modelling, music, retail and more.
Lesson 3: Where to get help for eating disorders.
Now that your students have a better understanding of eating disorders, their effects and what can trigger them, Lesson three helps students know where to get help if they are worried about themselves or someone they know. It also talks about The importance of keeping safe and another video from Gok Wan’s website. This lesson also discusses how you can support a friend with an eating disorder.
Like you, I have taught many PSHE lessons and have used many resources from different organisations. Some of these resources are bloody awful. The toolkit that SEED has produced is excellent, it works perfectly in PSHE lessons and also fits well with healthy eating topics within the Science curriculum. I am convinced that this toolkit will provide your students with the information and advice that they need when it comes to understanding eating disorders.
For teachers, it is easy to teach
The licence to use the toolkit costs £295 per year, which, compared with other resources available, is very reasonable. However, for the next three months, you can get the toolkit for £245 (April, May and June 2019). If you are interested or have any further questions go to the SEED website and have a look, you can email or call them straight from the site. Marg is a lovely lady, an inspiration and this toolkit is a reflection of her.