Professional Development Activities and Support Among Secondary Health Teachers

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This study describes public school secondary health education teachers’ support for professional development in the United States and the types of professional development activities in which they participated. Results were compared with public school secondary teachers of all other subjects. In addition, perceptions of professional preparation among newly hired health teachers and the types of professional support they received are described. Data were collected through the 2011-2012 Schools and Staffing Survey and included a nationally representative sample of public school teachers in the United States. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze data. Results showed that for nearly all types of professional support assessed, secondary health education teachers reported less support as compared with secondary teachers of all other subjects. Of the teaching skills questioned, newly hired health education teachers indicated they were least prepared in handling a range of classroom management or discipline situations and using data from student assessment to inform instruction. Moreover, newly hired health teachers were less like to participate in programs for beginning teachers as compared with their newly hired teaching peers. Using results from this study, recommendations concerning professional development support and activities among secondary health teachers and newly hired secondary health teachers are provided.

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