Pre-service training (the training educators receive before they begin teaching in a classroom) varies from country to country – and the requirements for pre-service training may be very different from community to community. Even so, access to pre-training is essential.
The US National Teacher Preparation Standards for Sexuality Education provide guidance on how to prepare pre-service teachers to deliver CSE:
- Standard 1: Professional Disposition
Teacher candidates demonstrate comfort with, commitment to and self-efficacy in teaching sexuality education.
- Standard 2: Diversity and Equity
Teacher candidates show respect for individual, family and cultural characteristics and experiences that may influence student learning about sexuality.
- Standard 3: Content Knowledge
Teacher candidates have accurate and current knowledge of the biological, emotional, social and legal aspects of human sexuality.
- Standard 4: Legal and Professional Ethics
Teacher candidates make decisions based on applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations and policies, as well as professional ethics.
- Standard 5: Planning
Teacher candidates plan age- and developmentally appropriate sexuality education that is aligned with standards, policies and laws and reflects the diversity
of the community.
- Standard 6: Implementation
Teacher candidates use a variety of effective strategies to teach sexuality education.
- Standard 7: Assessment
Teacher candidates implement effective strategies to assess student knowledge, attitudes and skills in order to improve sexuality education instruction.
[Source: Future of Sex Education. n.d. National teacher preparation standards for sexuality education.]
Teacher educators need to be taught how to utilize participatory methodologies to help student/pre-service teachers internalize the necessary knowledge and skills. The ways in which teachers learn about the methodology behind the delivery of life skills-based CSE would be mirrored in their own teaching.
For any pre-service training, it is important that all content areas of the CSE curriculum are included. Common challenges in pre-service training that impact content delivery include:
- lack of strategies for delivering content curricula, especially taking into consideration local policies;
- lack of knowledge, confidence, capacity, materials, and teaching methodologies among teachers;
- lack of support, supervision, and mentorship for teachers;
- personal fears, values, and discomfort with certain content areas that lead teachers to avoid them all together.
[Source: UNESCO. 2015. Comprehensive sexuality education in teacher training in Eastern and Southern Africa.]