Teachers Perspectives on the Effective Implementation of Social, Personal and Health Education in the Irish Primary Classroom
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The principal objective of this research is to identify primary schools teacher’s attitudes and feelings towards the effective implementation of the Social, Personal and Health Education in Irish Primary Schools. Prior to the 1999 curriculum introduced by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, SPHE was not recognised as a stand-alone subject. While training is provided to some staff throughout the year, not all teachers are offered training which has been identified as a shortcoming within primary education. The aims of the investigation were to therefore, identify any barriers to effective implementation of the subject and determine if teachers feel that training along with time allocation for curricular delivery is sufficient. Data was collected using a mixed methodology of both qualitative and quantitative methods, namely a focus group and an anonymous online survey. The findings suggested that not all teachers are adequately trained for delivering specialist programmes contained within the curriculum. It was also found that teachers believed that time allocation was not sufficient and should be increased to at least 45 minutes for junior classes and one hour for the senior classes. Teachers concurred that there needs to be improved training for all teachers in every primary school and that a single manual for SPHE would greatly enhance the teaching of this subject. Other findings with regard to school policy and planning were identified to ensure there is accountability for implementing the SPHE curriculum at a set time each week as a whole school approach.
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