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Teachers' views of teaching sex education: pedagogy and models of delivery

Teachers' views of teaching sex education: pedagogy and models of delivery,Pam Alldred,Miriam E David,Pat Smith

Teachers' views of teaching sex education: pedagogy and models of delivery   (Citations: 8)
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This paper is based on a study of 17 secondary schools in an inner city area of England deemed to have very high levels of teenage pregnancies. The New Labour Government argued that academic achievements and effective labour market participation are inhibited by early or 'premature' parenthood (Social Exclusion Unit 1999). It therefore set in place policies to address these issues effectively in schools, through a revised school achievement agenda and a revised Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) programme. In this paper, we concentrate on the role and views of the personal, social and/or health education coordinators charged with the delivery of SRE in secondary schools. We consider the way a broad-based inclusive curriculum and pastoral programme fits into the subject-based and assessed curriculum of secondary schools for 11-16 year olds where there is no tradition of open discussion about sexual matters. The legitimacy of teaching about sex and sexuality in schools has been hotly debated. The questions about how to deal with teenage pregnancy and sexuality remain politically charged and politically sensitive issues. The role of the teacher of sex education is thus very contentious. We present here a range of views about the professional or other pressures on schools, especially teachers, discussing the difficulties within each of the different models of delivery. Teachers report considerable anxieties about SRE as a subject and its low status in the school curriculum, committed though many of them are to teaching it. This links with what is now seen as an overarching culture of anxiety about sex in contemporary society. Many teachers think that attending to young people's personal and social development - and especially their sexual identities - could help their educational careers and academic achievement. Thus, from the teachers' accounts, we argue that there are important links between the revised sex education curriculum and the new emphasis on an achievement agenda in secondary schools.
Published in 2003.
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