Six in 10 pre-teachers lacking SunSmarts

Posted 4 Jun 2019.

We are working in collaboration with Edith Cowan University to trial a new tailored SunSmart program for pre-service teachers, following new research suggesting they may be lacking the vital knowledge they need to help keep primary school students properly protected from UV.

Dr Joseph Scott, Lecturer, Edith Cowan University presented the findings of his survey of preservice primary teachers at our recent Behavioural Research in Cancer Control Conference in Perth.

The survey of over 260 preservice primary teachers at Edith Cowan University indicates that almost 60 percent do not feel they have sufficient knowledge and skills to properly teach sun safety. Only 55.6 per cent reported that they understand the UV index, with 29.9 percent reporting they never check it.

Dr Scott says it's encouraging that teachers in training understood the importance of sun safety and of being able to understand UV to explain it to their future students.

"Ninety eight per cent of participants reported they feel it is important that teachers understand UV to protect children while they are at school," Dr Scott said.

"So, it's unfortunate that they currently don't feel they have the knowledge and skills to properly teach children about sun protection. Our findings indicate there is an urgent need to strengthen teachers' knowledge and understandings of UV and proper sun protective measures"

Sally Blane, our SunSmart / Schools Programs Coordinator said they were using the results of the survey to inform a new intervention which would aim to get teachers up to speed on the evidence behind slip, slop, slap, seek and slide before they embarked on their teaching career.

"Based on the results of this survey we are developing a new program where we will trial incorporating sun safety knowledge into the pre-service teaching curriculum at Edith Cowan University," Sally said.

"This intervention involves education students participating in workshop on UV and sun protection, aiming to increase this knowledge. We know that teachers play a vital part in both role-modelling to children and teaching them how to be SunSmart."

Find out more about our SunSmart program.

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