Building the Capacity of Classroom Teachers as Extenders of Nutrition Education through Extension: Evaluating a Professional Development Model
Utilizing teachers as extenders may maximize the reach of Extension nutrition education programs; however, there is a need to identify effective professional development (PD) strategies to ensure quality implementation. Lesson study is a PD model that demonstrated improvements in school teachers’ self-efficacy and knowledge in various disciplines. In this study, fourth-grade teachers at two schools delivered nutrition education in their classrooms. Lesson study was examined to improve self-efficacy, content knowledge, and use of inquiry-based teaching strategies. While teachers at one school followed the lesson study model, teachers at the other school did not. Teachers reported time, resources, and funding were barriers to using lesson study and implementing the curriculum. Teachers who reported teaching nutrition previously declined in self-efficacy and knowledge. It is possible that they underestimated what would be required to teach this curriculum, resulting in a higher pre-test rating of self-efficacy compared to ratings after teaching the curriculum. This shift may have affected their motivation and willingness to participate fully in the lesson study process. Increasing teacher access to content experts during PD may improve teacher selfefficacy. Providing additional support and materials may increase the likelihood that teachers participate as extenders of Extension nutrition education programs.
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