5 Great Reasons to Date and Fall in Love… With the 2018 National Standards for Initial Health Education Teacher Education

As chair of the SHAPE America Health Education Teacher Preparation Standards Task Force, I feel like I have birthed, nurtured and raised the 2018 National Standards for Initial Health Education Teacher Education along with the six other “co-parents” on the task force.

Admittedly, similar to the proud parent who feels like their son or daughter deserves only the purest, fulfilling and reciprocated love, I feel like the new and improved 2018 Initial HETE Standards deserve that kind of loyal adoration as well. You’ve been warned — I am unabashedly biased about these HETE Standards. But make no mistake, they are kind of a big deal!

So, think Nicholas Sparks. Think “The Notebook.” That’s right. I want you to have that kind of love for the 2018 Initial HETE Standards. I don’t want you to casually date them. I want you to run to them with open arms, fully embrace them, and ultimately commit to them. And, like Jerry Maguire needed Dorothy Boyd (by the way, we’re not related) to “complete him,” I want you to use the 2018 Initial HETE Standards to complete your program.

So, let me offer up five great reasons to date and fall in love with our HETE Standards.

  1. The 2018 Initial HETE Standards “have a good beat and are easy to dance to.”
  2. I’m going to show my age on this one, but there used to be a music and dance television show where dance participants would quantitatively and qualitatively “rate-a-record.”  And inevitably each week, someone would say, “It had a good beat and seems easy to dance to.”

    While I’m not encouraging you to enter any local dance competitions with our HETE Standards (but, if you do, please send me pictures), I am categorically saying that I believe you will find that the 2018 Initial HETE Standards capture the spirit of what those groovy dancers were trying to say, which is that a perceivably overly complicated and intimidating process can be simplified by using a language that is meaningful to everyone.

    So, don’t think of this as introducing new key assessments into your program and preparing your health education teacher candidates with a new set of standards. Instead, think of this as learning “The Hustle” to a funky electronic disco beat. But, before putting on your flare jeans, gold chain, and white platform shoes and channeling your inner John Travolta, keep reading.

  3. They are not clingy.
  4. Trust me on this one. The 2018 Initial HETE Standards are not going to ask for your email password and they are not going to stalk you on social media. These HETE Standards are secure and confident, and will not require constant reassurance.

    Remember the co-parents I mentioned earlier? The seven of us comprised a wide representation of stakeholders in Health Education Teacher Preparation, which means the 2018 Initial HETE Standards were not written in a vacuum. And, when the time was right, just like good parents, we nudged our Standards out the door and sent them into the world to see if they could confidently and securely stand on their own two feet. We did that not once, but twice!

    During those times, you and your peers gave us feedback, and we listened; it takes a village, right? Be assured, the 2018 Initial HETE Standards represent a carefully charted course and a wide representation of public comment and expert review. And now, the HETE Standards have spread their wings and flown the coop.

    As a side note, pertaining to being “clingy,” our Standards might get insulted if you compliment other standards. If you make the choice to do that within earshot of the 2018 Initial HETE Standards, consider making amends with boxes of dark chocolate and bouquets of Peruvian lilies.

  5. The 2018 Initial HETE Standards get along well with everyone.
  6. Oprah. Tom Hanks. Ellen DeGeneres. Mr. Snuffleupagus. We have fashioned the 2018 Initial HETE Standards with the characteristics of famous people (and wooly mammoths) that get along well with everyone. In fact, when you take a hard look at the HETE Standards, you’ll notice the consistent use of words and phrases like “meaningful,” “diverse needs,” “relevant,” and “all learners regardless of race, ethnic origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, cognitive ability, and physical ability.”

    Our purposeful attention and shift in wording to the learner and learning environment is simply more consistent with school health education and outcomes that are congruent with education standards.

    Make no mistake these Standards are likeable, huggable and relatable. And, similar to my affection for Mr. Snuffleupagus, the 2018 Initial HETE Standards are something you will want to cozy up to, if you don’t mind a few paper cuts here and there. But, fear not — when those nights by the fire seem empty or forced, and it happens to the best of us, feel free to rekindle your understanding by reading the Guidelines for the 2018 Initial Health Education Teacher Education Standards book, which will be available for your reading pleasure later in October 2018. Think of it as a relationship manual!

  7. You’ll not have any regrets in the morning.
  8. Remember the movie “Fatal Attraction?” The lamp switch going off and on, off and on, with the Madame Butterfly music in the background? The knife? That rabbit? “I’ll not be ignored, Dan?” Recall, I want you to date and fall in love with our HETE Standards. I don’t want you to get creeped out by them. So rest assured, no rabbits will be injured and you will have no regrets using the 2018 Initial HETE Standards.

    The SHAPE America Health Education Teacher Preparation Standards Task Force, my co-parents, focused on writing program standards that reflect the nuances of the “school health education setting” and what health education teacher candidates should know and be able to do.

    In the end, as professionals, the task force wants what you want, which is quality assurance in our discipline and more competent and efficacious health education teachers. We also want to end hunger and establish world peace. (We’re still waiting on the call to write those standards.)

  9. They’ll feel like you’ve been together forever.
  10. “Hey, you look familiar — don’t I know you from somewhere?” Okay, so think less sleazy pick-up line and more how you will feel when you really sidle up and get to know the 2018 Initial HETE Standards. While I said earlier that these Standards are new and improved, there is still a resonant theme that is similar to past HETE Standards.

    Like the 2008 AAHE/NCATE Program Standards, the 2018 Initial HETE Standards maintain a commitment to the generic competencies or common roles and responsibilities of professionals practicing in health education. So, you might feel like you’re having a kind of karmic, past-life connection with our Standards. But, don’t be afraid — lean into it. The 2018 Initial HETE Standards will feel a little like home and a lot like a long overdue trip to the grocery store. Forgot your grocery list? No worries. Remember, we’ve written a book to help with that. Think of it as your grocery store map and list!


Kelly Boyd
Kelly Boyd

Kelly M. Boyd is an associate professor at East Stroudsburg University and chair of the SHAPE America Health Education Teacher Preparation Standards Task Force. She co-parented the 2018 National Standards for Initial Health Education Teacher Education with Irene Cucina, Mary C. Connolly, Joe Halowich, Sarah Benes, Shelley Hamill, and Brett Fuller. Kelly is also the co-author with Irene Cucina of Guidelines for the 2018 Initial Health Education Teacher Education Standards.

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