Academic journal article Journal of School Health

Teenage Health Teaching Modules: Impact of Teacher Training on Implementation and Student Outcomes

Academic journal article Journal of School Health

Teenage Health Teaching Modules: Impact of Teacher Training on Implementation and Student Outcomes

Article excerpt

A widespread assumption in education suggests educational curricula can be more effectively implemented and subsequent student outcomes improved if teachers are first properly trained in using the curriculum. Thus, teachers often attend preservice and inservice training programs before teaching a new curriculum.

The Teenage Health Teaching Modules (THTM) curriculum, however, was designed to require no teacher training. (1) One rationale was cost. Also, secondary school teachers responsible for health instruction typically are "specialists" who do not require special training. The same cannot be said of primary schools, where the classroom teachers typically provide health instruction.

In the THTM evaluation, an experimental sub-study examined a number of related issues: Does training teachers in THTM enhance a teacher's preparedness to teach the curriculum? Do trained teachers implement THTM more successfully than untrained teachers? If so, what aspects of implementation are affected by training? Finally, do students of THTM-trained teachers improve their knowledge, attitudes, practices, and self-reported priority health behaviors more than students of untrained teachers? This article investigates effects of teacher training on curriculum implementation and student outcomes.

STUDY DESIGN

The study was limited to 85 experimental schools--those schools that adopted THTM specifically for the THTM evaluation. From an original group of 111 experimental schools, approximately 75[degrees] of designated THTM teachers were assigned randomly to receive training in summer 1987, prior to curriculum implementation. Previous experience indicated that approximately one-third would not attend, or would be "no-shows." Thus, it was expected that approximately 50[degrees] of THTM teachers would be trained prior to implementation and 50[degrees] would not. Those not trained would be split evenly between no-shows and those not invited to training. No baseline measures on teachers could be obtained because no teachers displayed the behavior under study (implementing THTM) before being introduced to the curriculum. The design was a posttest-only control group design, (3) which may be represented schematically as:

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

In the diagram, R represents random assignment of experimental teachers to training/no training conditions. X represents training. [O.sub.T] denotes measurement of curriculum implementation and student pretests/posttests among trained teachers; [O.sub.c] signifies measurement of curriculum implementation and student outcomes among control or unassigned teachers; and [O.sub.N] denotes measurement of teacher implementation and student outcomes among "no shows." Teachers in the last group are shown below the dotted line because they originally were assigned to be trained. For this reason, the design may also be described as a "broken experiment." (3) Since it was expected the experimental assignment would be broken, this factor was built into the design.

Accurate prediction of no-show rates resulted in equal numbers of trained and untrained teachers. However, much higher attrition occurred among no-shows during the implementation period, with nearly 50[degrees] failing to use THTM at all or abandoning the curriculum before the end of the semester, suggesting a low level of motivation or a high level of implementation obstacles. The final post-attrition sample consisted of 46 junior high/middle school teachers and 39 senior high school teachers. Of the 46 junior high/middle school teachers, 24 were trained, 15 were assigned randomly not to receive pre-implementation training, and seven were no-shows. Of 39 senior high school teachers, 21 were trained, 10 were assigned randomly to receive pre-implementation training, and eight were no-shows.

It was hypothesized that trained teachers would 1) report greater preparedness than untrained teachers in using the THTM curriculum and 2) produce greater improvements in health-related knowledge, attitudes, practices, and behaviors (KAPBs) of their students. …

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