University of Tasmania

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Professional development in health education for primary school teachers: a systematised review of the literature

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 09:30 authored by Claire OttenClaire Otten, Rose NashRose Nash, Kira PattersonKira Patterson
Professional development can be used as a tool to increase teacher confidence and competence. Consequently, it may improve the quality of education available to students. Previous research suggests that many teachers lack the confidence to teach health despite it being an area that they are expected to teach. This paper locates and considers the health specific professional development opportunities that exists for primary school teachers internationally. The authors brainstormed a list of search terms and followed the PRISMA guidelines to search EBSCO databases. The findings were screened and sorted. The review found that educators who value and understand health are more likely to teach health related topics. Professional development related to health that was most effective was characterised as being (1) multidimensional, (2) integrated, (3) adaptable, (4) modelled, (5) collaborative, (6) supported by school leadership, and (6) valued. Despite the importance of health, the review found a lack of professional development for teachers. This may in turn create a barrier to students accessing health education. Thus, professional development programmes for teachers that aim to improve their confidence and competence to teach health in the classroom are urgently required.


Publication title

Professional Development in Education






Faculty of Education



Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

© 2022 International Professional Development Association (IPDA).

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Primary education; Professional development and adult education; Health status (incl. wellbeing)