Improving Sexuality Education: The Development of Teacher-Preparation Standards

Elissa M. Barr, Eva S. Goldfarb, Susan Russell, Denise Seabert, Michele Wallen, Kelly L. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Teaching sexuality education to support young people's sexual development and overall sexual health is both needed and supported. Data continue to highlight the high rates of teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections, among young people in the United States as well as the overwhelming public support for sexuality education instruction. In support of the implementation of the National Sexuality Education Standards, the current effort focuses on better preparing teachers to deliver sexuality education. METHODS: An expert panel was convened by the Future of Sex Education Initiative to develop teacher-preparation standards for sexuality education. Their task was to develop standards and indicators that addressed the unique elements intrinsic to sexuality education instruction. RESULTS: Seven standards and associated indicators were developed that address professional disposition, diversity and equity, content knowledge, legal and professional ethics, planning, implementation, and assessment. CONCLUSIONS: The National Teacher-Preparation Standards for Sexuality Education represent an unprecedented unified effort to enable prospective health education teachers to become competent in teaching methodology, theory, practice of pedagogy, content, and skills, specific to sexuality education. Higher education will play a key role in ensuring the success of these standards.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-415
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of School Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Adolescent sexual health
  • National sexuality education standards
  • Sexuality education
  • Teacher education


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