Pre-service training for CSE teachers

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.]