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Measuring Confidence in Teaching: Lessons from One University Health Course

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Elizabeth Whitney, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, and doctoral student Mallory Brown teach a health course for elementary education majors in the College of Education. The purpose of this course is to prepare pre-service teachers to recognize and respond to a wide-range of health risk behaviors confronting children.

Because health education is not usually a stand-alone subject in elementary schools and must be integrated into other subjects, it is critical for elementary teachers to develop confidence in addressing health behaviors. The teacher education program is an important window of opportunity for this. The purpose of this research is to measure students’ perceptions of confidence before and after the course.

These data underscore the importance of developing confidence in pre-professional training through University-based teacher education courses and further attest to the need to train teachers to value health as an inseparable aspect of educating the whole child.