Health Promotion Journal of Australia
School of Education / School of Medical and Health Sciences
Edith Cowan University - Grant Number: G1004374
Teachers play a vital role in developing children's sun protection routines however upskilling preservice teachers (PSTs) while at university has not yet been trialled as a targeted skin cancer prevention strategy. Hence, this study investigated PSTs perceptions and experiences of sun safety following a brief pilot intervention and placement in primary schools in Western Australia.
This study used a triangulation mixed methods design. Participants (n = 161) completed a post intervention survey which was analysed quantitatively. A random sub-sample was invited to participate in focus groups (three groups, n = 21) and one-on-one interviews (n = 4). This data was transcribed and uploaded in NVIVO software for thematic analysis.
Participants felt the intervention increased their awareness of the dangers of overexposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) with many feeling more knowledgeable, skilled and confident to teach sun safety in school settings. Most reported clear sun safety messages in their placement schools. However, only 34.4 % reported they had been briefed on the school's sun safety procedures. There was consensus among PSTs that sun protection in primary schools needs to be improved to maximise the protection of children from harmful UVR overexposure. Participants supported a need for consistent sun protection messaging across primary schools with greater emphasis on education rather than compliance management to sun protection.
Enhancing existing teacher education programs to include more rigorous curriculum content and pedagogical approaches to sun protection education is a novel skin cancer prevention strategy and could feasibly support PSTs self-efficacy to effectively deliver sun safety curriculum in Australian schools.
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