Authentic learning in a health and wellness class through the writings of Thoreau
Thoreau's ideas expressed in Walden and an essay, Walking, are applied to a health promotion and wellness course to create an authentic learning experience. This qualitative study involved nineteen students from three classes. The students read one of Henry David Thoreau’s written works, identified a personally meaningful passage from the work, and wrote a short paper related to the connections between the writing and health promotion and wellness. These were analyzed and organized according to themes and sub-themes identified for each of the readings. The students’ reactions to Thoreau’s writing illustrate how such work can be used to promote authentic learning in a health education classroom by helping students reflect on: the connections between the environment and their health, connections between physical health and mental and spiritual well-being, and some of the ways in which modern society may undermine our quality of life.