An assessment of Indiana health teachers' needs and capacity related to health education

Shonna L Snyder, Purdue University


The purpose of this study was to determine Indiana health teachers' needs and capacity related to teaching comprehensive school health education and to explore how these needs and capacities varied according to the characteristics of the teachers and the schools in which they taught. The research involved qualitative and quantitative methodologies. A 90-item questionnaire was sent to all health education teachers in Indiana (N = 1,242), yielding a response rate of 25.2% (N = 313). Data analysis included descriptive statistics, independent sample t-tests, one-way analysis of variance with Bonferroni post-hoc analysis, Kendall's tau-c analyses, and chi-square analyses. Teachers in Indiana have capacity for teaching health education in some areas but limited capacity in other areas. There was limited support for the hypotheses that the teachers needs and capacity for teaching health education would vary according to their demographic characteristics (gender, professional preparation in health education, years of experience teaching health education) and the characteristics of the schools in which they taught (size of school, location of school corporation). Female teachers were more likely than male teachers to use specific active learning strategies and performance-based assessments. Teachers who taught in metro and suburban schools indicated they had health education curriculum coordinators whereas teachers in town and rural schools indicated they had support for curricula and support for health education by parents and community members. Teachers who taught in mid-size schools reported using culturally appropriate activities. Teachers who taught in small schools reported having small class sizes and time off to attend professional development activities but not having access to specific instructional resources. Teachers in large schools reported large class sizes and access to Power Point. Teachers from mid-sized schools reported not receiving time off for professional development. The teachers' greatest needs in teaching health education were adequate instructional time for health education and updated information. The teachers' greatest resources for teaching health education were the Internet and textbooks and related curricular support. It appears that increasing professional development opportunities in health education and increasing support for health education will aid Indiana teachers' in their delivery of health instruction.




Tappe, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Health education|Teacher education

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