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Teaching health education: a thematic analysis of early career teachers’ experiences following pre-service health training

Teaching health education: a thematic analysis of early career teachers’ experiences following pre-service health training
Teaching health education: a thematic analysis of early career teachers’ experiences following pre-service health training
Purpose: To understand early career teachers’ perceptions of the impact of a pre-service health education programme on their health promotion practice in schools and the contextual factors that influence this.

Design/methodology/approach: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 14 primary and secondary trainee and qualified teachers who had trained at a university in England. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.

Findings:The teachers found the training to be a useful introduction, particularly when it was relevant to their practice. They valued gaining practical skills at university, on placement and in school once qualified. They reported that witnessing pupils’ lives in school had increased their awareness that health education is important. Their personal qualities, life experience, the school’s ethos, and competing pressures influenced their practice. Teachers considered that building relationships with colleagues, pupils and parents facilitated health promotion, and that health education needs to be relevant to pupils. Some teachers expressed that teaching about health could be a “minefield”. They also discussed whether schools or parents are responsible for educating pupils about health issues and the place of health promotion within education’s wider purpose.

Originality/value: Few studies have followed up trainee teachers once they are in teaching posts to explore the longer-term perceived impact of pre-service health education training. The findings suggest that teachers’ development takes place via an interaction between training and practice, suggesting that training could particularly aim to provide teachers with a contextualised understanding of health issues and practical experience.
health education, teacher training, pshe, initial teacher education, initial teacher training, health promotion
0965-4283
323-340
Pickett, Karen
1bac9d88-da29-4a3e-9fd2-e469f129f963
Rietdijk, Willeke
0edd8cf8-a325-43d0-9b08-2268c9e7b7f4
Byrne, Jennifer
135bc0f8-7c8a-42d9-bdae-5934b832c4bf
Shepherd, Jonathan
dfbca97a-9307-4eee-bdf7-e27bcb02bc67
Roderick, Paul
dbb3cd11-4c51-4844-982b-0eb30ad5085a
Grace, Marcus
bb019e62-4134-4f74-9e2c-d235a6f89b97
Pickett, Karen
1bac9d88-da29-4a3e-9fd2-e469f129f963
Rietdijk, Willeke
0edd8cf8-a325-43d0-9b08-2268c9e7b7f4
Byrne, Jennifer
135bc0f8-7c8a-42d9-bdae-5934b832c4bf
Shepherd, Jonathan
dfbca97a-9307-4eee-bdf7-e27bcb02bc67
Roderick, Paul
dbb3cd11-4c51-4844-982b-0eb30ad5085a
Grace, Marcus
bb019e62-4134-4f74-9e2c-d235a6f89b97

Pickett, Karen, Rietdijk, Willeke, Byrne, Jennifer, Shepherd, Jonathan, Roderick, Paul and Grace, Marcus (2017) Teaching health education: a thematic analysis of early career teachers’ experiences following pre-service health training. Health Education, 117 (3), 323-340. (doi:10.1108/HE-10-2016-0051).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Purpose: To understand early career teachers’ perceptions of the impact of a pre-service health education programme on their health promotion practice in schools and the contextual factors that influence this.

Design/methodology/approach: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 14 primary and secondary trainee and qualified teachers who had trained at a university in England. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.

Findings:The teachers found the training to be a useful introduction, particularly when it was relevant to their practice. They valued gaining practical skills at university, on placement and in school once qualified. They reported that witnessing pupils’ lives in school had increased their awareness that health education is important. Their personal qualities, life experience, the school’s ethos, and competing pressures influenced their practice. Teachers considered that building relationships with colleagues, pupils and parents facilitated health promotion, and that health education needs to be relevant to pupils. Some teachers expressed that teaching about health could be a “minefield”. They also discussed whether schools or parents are responsible for educating pupils about health issues and the place of health promotion within education’s wider purpose.

Originality/value: Few studies have followed up trainee teachers once they are in teaching posts to explore the longer-term perceived impact of pre-service health education training. The findings suggest that teachers’ development takes place via an interaction between training and practice, suggesting that training could particularly aim to provide teachers with a contextualised understanding of health issues and practical experience.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 2 February 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 3 April 2017
Published date: 3 April 2017
Keywords: health education, teacher training, pshe, initial teacher education, initial teacher training, health promotion
Organisations: Primary Care & Population Sciences, Mathematics, Science & Health Education

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 405436
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/405436
ISSN: 0965-4283
PURE UUID: 373a8e96-147c-4deb-80e4-082fa6fb8301
ORCID for Karen Pickett: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8631-6465
ORCID for Jennifer Byrne: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6969-5539
ORCID for Jonathan Shepherd: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1682-4330
ORCID for Paul Roderick: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9475-6850
ORCID for Marcus Grace: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1949-1765

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 03 Feb 2017 14:55
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 06:21

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Contributors

Author: Karen Pickett ORCID iD
Author: Willeke Rietdijk
Author: Jennifer Byrne ORCID iD
Author: Paul Roderick ORCID iD
Author: Marcus Grace ORCID iD

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