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Pre-service teachers' experience of and attitudes to teaching SPHE in Ireland

Abstract : Purpose - National policy in Ireland states that all teachers are teachers of Social Personal and Health Education (SPHE). However national evaluations identify that all teachers do not subscribe to this view. This research aimed to examine the experiences and attitudes of undergraduate students towards teaching SPHE. Design/methodology/approach - An on‐line questionnaire including closed and open questions was distributed to all undergraduate post primary teacher education students (N=1105) in the University of Limerick which is the largest provider of teacher education in Ireland. None of the respondents had exposure to third level education in SPHE or more generally in health education. Findings - A response rate of 44.7 per cent was achieved (N=494). Only 24.5 per cent indicated that they plan to teach SPHE on graduation. There were significant gender differences in relation to students' intention to teach SPHE on graduation. Incentives to teach were less altruistic for males (money and job security) than females (personal interest in the subject). Research limitations/implications - The convenience sampling approach was useful in illuminating the attitudes of the undergraduate students sampled, however replication across teacher education programmes nationally is warranted. Inclusion of teacher educators' perspectives would also be valuable. Practical implications - There is a clear need for health promotion to be placed on the pre‐service teacher education curriculum. In addition, it is necessary to take into account pre‐service teacher attitude towards SPHE and gender differences in the design of the post primary teacher education curriculum. Originality/value - This paper offers insight into how pre‐service teachers perceive their role in SPHE. It illuminates some challenges facing teacher educators in this field.
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Contributor : Julie Pironom <>
Submitted on : Saturday, September 13, 2014 - 6:54:47 PM
Last modification on : Friday, June 14, 2019 - 1:37:25 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-01063830, version 1



Patricia Mannix Mcnamara, Sharon Moynihan, Didier Jourdan, Raymond Lynch. Pre-service teachers' experience of and attitudes to teaching SPHE in Ireland. Journal of Health Education, American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, 2012, 112 (3), pp.199-216. ⟨hal-01063830⟩



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