Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Teaching Sexuality Isn't That Scary!

This year was the first year I have taught sexuality education. I was super nervous, but also really excited for this unit. I created the unit overview for 10Health, utilising lots of Family Planning resources throughout my lessons, and suggestions from educators on Twitter. I will share my unit outline once it makes sense to others, as I'm busy with my dissertation currently.

I went in with no idea what to expect. No clue how the students would respond and engage with the learning, and no clue how I would feel. As sexuality education is an area I am interested in, and passionate about, I knew I would be comfortable, but I think I was more relaxed than I anticipated to be! I was blown away how respectful my classes were overall. There was some giggling and discomfort throughout, but holistically, the students were pretty mature and interested. 

At the end of the sexuality unit I asked all students to complete this Google Form, asking a variety of questions about the topics the students learnt about across the 10 periods. This summative assessment showed the clear strengths and gaps in student knowledge, as below;

  • Some students still had some confusion between conception and contraception, but had understanding of their options and provided examples of contraception. Greater emphasis on the difference is required next year.
  • Lots of understanding across the board about safe relationships and consent, which was the major aim of the unit. 70/78 students were able to identify the legal age of consent, and 72/78 students were able to explain why intoxicated sex is non consensual. Some words used to describe unsafe relationships included manipulation, abusive, controlling, dishonest, possessive and aggressive.
  • 68/78 students were able to describe changes to the body for males AND females during puberty, some students uncertain about the changes for the opposite sex. I was pleased by this, as many students were uncertain of changes at the beginning of the unit.
  • Students were introduced to the sexuality and gender spectrums, to start discussions and awareness of the variety of sexualities and genders in society. Students needed another period or two around the spectrums, as there was a lot of confusion in the Google Form answers. This is likely due to a lack of time spent on this area, as we were pressed for time. About half of the students started to explain the differences between the two and were able to identify what LGBTQI stands for, and 38/78 were able to explain what heterosexual means.
  • The result I was most proud of when reading students' answers, was that only 2/78 students were unable to identify where/who they can go to for help, or any questions they may have about relationships, sex, sexuality and gender. Student knowledge of places they can go for help, was imperative for the learning throughout the unit.
Overall, I am really pleased how the unit went considering it was the first time in the school and the first time I had taught it. I really enjoyed connecting with the Nurse, agencies, other educators and stepping out of my comfort zone. The above points, and the student feedback alongside give me lots to work with moving into 2018

The greatest success story, was the Y10 dean saying this year the Health Centre had the greatest influx of students asking for help, support or general questions related to relationships, sex and sexuality than any year previously. This is a highlight, and great feedback for me, as this shows some of the learning within Health is encouraging students to reflect on their lives and Hāuora.