A salutogenic strengths-based approach in practice - an illustration from a school in Sweden

Despite an extensive debate, and an openness of teachers to a strength-based approach to HPE, it is not always clear what a salutogenic strengths-based approach might look like in practice, at least not in the day-to-day work in schools. The purpose of this article is to present a salutogenic strengths-based school initiative in Sweden, and to identify health discourses in the school’s practice. An insider perspective is used to explore health in the school through Brookfield’s four lenses for exploring one’s own teaching practice. Two health discourses are identified: (1) an individual health discourse rooted in the fostering of personal development, and (2) a value based health discourse build up around social relations and the fostering of democratic values. The individual health discourse can be understood as based in a pathogenic norm, and in the investigated school practice the individual health discourse dominated the school health initiative despite the salutogenic intentions.