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Browsing by Author "Frolova, Marja-Kristina"

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  • Frolova, Marja-Kristina (2022)
    There has been a public debate about the desire of very young children to lose weight and their dissatisfaction with their own bodies. A negative body image has been found to be associated with low self-esteem, eating disorders, mental health problems, and being overweight. By promoting a positive body image children’s body satisfaction, self-esteem, and internalization of body ideals can be improved. Teachers have found that their means of dealing with the body images of children and body diversity are inadequate. The purpose of this study is to uncover ways in which teachers can promote students to have a positive body image. The study also aims to identify the challenges teachers face in promoting students to develop a positive body image. The study seeks to produce information for people working in the field of education, as there is lack of research on promoting a positive body image in a Finnish school context. The research data of this study was collected through semi-structured interviews of three classroom teachers and three special class teachers. The study and its analysis were conducted using a phenomenographic approach. The results of the study show that interviewees considered the greatest challenges to promoting a positive body image those at school, such as the example of the adults, what they say, their attitudes and, self-awareness. They saw the lack of education and of teaching materials on this topic as major challenges. Addition challenges to promoting a positive body image were recognized outside of school, such as social ideals of beauty, social media discourse, and the impact of other environments, such as at home and connected to hobbies. The student's own negative attitude towards their own or others' bodies was also recognized as a challenge. The most important means of promoting a positive body image were the interaction between the teacher and the students, the ways of working in everyday school life, multiliteracy, and promoting self-esteem and body-esteem. The interaction between the teacher and the students was found to be particularly important, and teachers felt that joint discussion was the most natural way to promote a positive body image. Also significant was teaching students skills such as multiliteracy and emotional skills. These results are in line with the ways of promoting a positive body image found in previous studies.