08 SES 12 A, Researching Health Promoting Schools: Potentials and Challenges of Mixed Methods
Parallel Paper Session
It is indisputable that sexual health is an issue for young people. In the last thirty years, there has been a reduction in the age of sexual initiation coupled with an increased percentage of adolescents engaging in sexual intercourse (Seiverding, Adler, Witt, & Ellen, 2005). Schaalma et al. (2004, p. 256) also note that: "worldwide, approximately half of 16-year olds are sexually active and partner turnover, which facilitates the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), is at its highest amongst young people.”
School-based sex education (SBSE) is arguably the most effective way of targeting adolescent populations (Schaalma, Abraham, Gillmore, & Kok, 2004). There is a need to ensure that SBSE is implemented, particularly as sex education is a contentious issue within social policy (Measor, Tiffin, & Miller, 2000; Thomson, 1994), with much disagreement on the content and objectives. Research into health education programmes, such as SBSE, can “monitor programme implementation to determine whether they are being implemented as planned, corrected when required, and improved when needed” (Cohen, Jones, Kickbusch, Madonald, O’Byrne, & Vince Whitman, 1996).
There are numerous factors that affect programme implementation. One vital element is the role of the programme implementer. Some examples of implementer effects on programme implementation are highlighted in Greenberg et al.’s (2004) conceptual model of school-based implementation. These vary from implementer training to implementer characteristics and behaviour. The model also recognises that school-based programme implementation is affected by a variety of other factors, such as features of the community or district.
Recent research in Ireland has highlighted issues with the implementation of Social Personal and Health Education (SPHE) in general (Geary & Mannix McNamara, 2003; Nic Gabhainn, O’Higgins, & Barry, 2007; Roe, 2010) and problems associated with the implementation of Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) specifically (Mayock, Kitching, & Morgan, 2007). It was reported that 88% of young people received SPHE classes; while in contrast, 74% of students did not receive RSE classes (Roe, 2010). One of the findings of the report RSE in the Context of SPHE was the need for improved teacher training with regards RSE (Mayock et al., 2007).
Training has been highlighted as problematic with regards RSE (Mayock et al., 2007) however no research has been conducted on the training itself. This research aims to explore the implementation of RSE in-service teacher training (stage one) and its effect on RSE programme delivery in the classroom (stage two). This paper will present findings from stage one; on the implementation of RSE in-service training to teachers. The research questions addressed during stage one were:
a) How do trainers plan, deliver and evaluate in-service teacher training in RSE?
b) How do teachers experience and value the in-service training in RSE that is offered?
Ethical approval was obtained from the National University of Ireland, Galway’s research ethics committee. Approval for the study was also granted from the national co-ordinator and steering committee of the post-primary SPHE and RSE support service.
Cohen, S., Jones, J. T., Kickbusch, I., Macdonald, H., O'Byrne, D. J., & Vince Whitman, C. (1996). Research to Improve Implementation and Effectiveness of School Health Programmes. Geneva: World Health Organisation. Greenberg, M. T., Domitrovich, C. E., Graczyk, P. A., & Zins, J. E. (2004). The study of implementation in school-based prevention research: Theory, research and practice. Rockville, MD: Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services. Mayock, P., Kitching, K., & Morgan, M. (2007). Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) in the Context of Social Personal and Health Education (SPHE): An Assessment of the Challenges to Full Implementation of the Programme in Post-primary Schools. Dublin: Crisis pregnancy Agency; Department of Education and Science. Roe, S. (2010). Life skills matter – not just points: A survey of implementation of Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) and Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) in second-level schools. Dublin: Government Publications. Schaalma, H., Abraham, C., Gillmore, M., & Kok, G. (2004). Sex education as health promotion: what does it take? Archives of sexual behavior, 33(3), 259-269. Seiverding, J. A., Adler, N., Witt, S., & Ellen, J. (2005). The influence of parental monitoring on adolescent sexual initiation. Archives of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 159, 724–729.
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