Supporting educators to teach antimicrobial resistance


Tackling the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance will depend on the interests and competence of future generations, and schools play an important role. But it is a complex issue that many teachers find difficult to teach.

In this interview, Senior lecturers in Education at Uppsala University Eva Lundqvist and Malena Lidar explain why and how the curriuculum can be organized to better meet the needs of teachers and students. Eva and Malena are organizing a workshop on the theme at Uppsala Health Summit workshop: Teaching AMR, Schools as Change Agents.

World Bank Photo Collection
Students at a rural high school. Photo by World Bank 
Photo Collection

As researchers in education, what made you interested in this topic?

We are interested in questions about the selection of educational content; what is chosen, why should this specific content be selected and how it can be transformed to suit the students at hand. 

In the case of preventing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) the overarching purpose of including this in curricula is easy to motivate since AMR is a critical question for our time: We need young people to have knowledge, to be able to take action and make sound priorities in their lives. We find it to be a challenge how we may shape teaching that will create the emotional connections needed encourage engagement! We work in close collaboration with practicing teachers to find models for teaching that can support this learning.

What have you found in your research?

It is a challenge for teachers to teach multi-sectorial issues. AMR is included in the biology curriculum and biology teachers have the experience and training to teach the medical and scientific aspects of the emergence of AMR. But the solution to a complex problem such as this demand actions and explanations from several subject areas –as social, economic, ethical – and here teachers can feel hesitant or uncertain of the content.

We are working to develop teaching material that may support teaching that considers multiple perspectives, since it is similarly challenging for students to grasp complex situations where no single branch of science can give answers. In the context where we have done our research, AMR does not appear as an acute problem for students in their everyday life. Therefore we aim at developing teaching that is authentic and emotionally relevant, in order for students to get engaged. 

What do you hope to the discussions at Uppsala Health Summit will lead to?

Uppsala Health Summit will provide a great opportunity to elaborate on issues of how schools can contribute in the challenge of preserving antibiotics as an effective medicine for the future with representatives from different contexts with different perspectives. We hope that the discussions will enable us to broaden and deepen our perspectives and to get ideas and suggestions about how models and principles for teaching could be developed.

More information about this workshop:

…and on how to register to participate in this workshop: