Perceived adequacy with regard to undergraduate sexuality education for health and physical educators in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: A proposed program of sexuality education

Jennifer Geubtner-May, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

Over 93% of all public high schools in the United States offer courses on human sexuality or HIV/AIDS (Kirby, 1997; Sears, 1992; Darroch & Silverman, 1989). Overwhelmingly, the teachers responsible for Sexuality Education in the United States public school system are Physical Education and Health teachers (Haffner, 1998; Kolodji & Ruocco, 1998; Carter et al., 1998). National studies indicate that only 61% of undergraduate Health Educators are required to take a Sexuality Education course, and only 6% of undergraduate Physical Educators are required to do so (Haffner, 1998). Many of these individuals have stated that they do not feel prepared to teach many topics associated with sexuality (Darroch & Silverman, 1989). The purpose of this study was to describe the perceived adequacy of undergraduate courses in Human Sexuality for Health/Physical Educators in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with regard to preparing them to teach Human Sexuality in the classroom. Methods included a four-part questionnaire that involved predominantly quantitative data. Open-ended questions within the questionnaire allowed for elaboration of responses. A sample of 129 Health/Physical Educators was elicited from 696 questionnaires sent to every public middle and high school in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Analyses of the quantitative data and open-ended questions suggest three key findings: (1) Among 10:11 sexuality content areas assessed, with the exception of sexual reproduction, most of the respondents did not feel adequately prepared; (2) lack of opportunity to practice teaching sexuality hindered respondents' comfort with Sexuality Education and their willingness to use various teaching methods in sexuality lessons; (3) 74% of respondents suggested changes within their undergraduate sexuality course. Analysis of the open-ended questions suggest 4 major suggestions for future sexuality courses: (1) give prospective Health/Physical Educators the opportunity to teach sexuality within the sexuality course; (2) require and have more sexuality courses available for prospective Health/Physical Educators; (3) use more teaching methods, as modeled by the instructor and practiced by students, in these sexuality courses; (4) include more in-depth sexuality information. A Proposed Program of Sexuality Education for Prospective Health/Physical Educators was developed as a result of the findings.

Subject Area

Teacher education|Health education|Physical education

Recommended Citation

Geubtner-May, Jennifer, "Perceived adequacy with regard to undergraduate sexuality education for health and physical educators in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: A proposed program of sexuality education" (2002). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3041080.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI3041080

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