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Chapter 19

Chapter 19

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Psychology 2075
William Fisher

C H 19: S EXUALITY E DUCATION • Sexuality education: the lifelong process of acquiring information about sexual behaviour and forming attitudes, beliefs, and values about identity, relationships, and intimacy P URPOSES OF S EXUALITY E DUCATION • Goal: promote healthy sexuality • Sex Education and Information Council of Canada (SIECCAN): national resource of up-to-date information, research, and publication on human sexuality, including sexual health o Active in promoting high-quality sex education in Canada o Coordinate the development of the Canadian Guidelines for Sexual Health Education  Framework for sexual health education for persons of all ages that balances the well- being and desires of the individuals with the rights of others and of society o 5 principles stated in the Guidelines  1. Everyone should have access to effective sexual health education  2. Sexual health education should be comprehensive and address a broad range of issues relevant to diverse populations  3. Sexual health education should use methods based on the information-motivation- behavioural skills model  4. Sexual health education teachers should be well trained and supported by their administration or organization  5. The impact of sexual health education should be evaluated so that programs can be updated o Sexuality education should help people both to achieve positive outcomes (self-esteem, respect for others, non-exploitive human relationships, joy of desired parenthood) and to avoid negative ones (unwanted pregnancy, STI, sexual coercion, and sexual dysfunction) • Effective sexual health education integrates 4 key components through a variety of activities. These allow individuals: o 1. To acquire knowledge that is relevant to their specific sexual health issues o 2. To develop the motivation and personal insights that they will need to act on that knowledge o 3. To acquire the skills necessary to enhance sexual health and avoid negative sexual health outcomes o 4. To help create an environment that is conducive to sexual health • To achieve these goals, youth need to have an opportunity to explore attitudes, feelings, and values that may influence their decisions and behaviour • Should emphasize the self-worth and dignity of the individual + encourage respect for diversity in values, background, and sexual orientation IN THE H OME , N THE S CHOOL ,OR S OMEWHERE ELSE ? • Opponents: sex education promotes sexual intercourse, teenage pregnancy, AIDS= should take place only in the home but not in schools • Many children are given little or no sexuality education at home  parent not talking about sex with their children is also a form of communication + send a variety of negative messages • Homework assignments appeared to reinforce the school-based program + greater parent-child communication about sex Emily Chan PSYCH 2075 | CH 19 Sex Education | Page 1 March 2011 W HAT TO TEACH AT D IFFERENT A GES • Process that must begin when children are small • Should learn simple concepts first, progressing to more difficult ones as they grow older • Although sex education should always come before experience, what is taught at any particular age depends, in part, on the child’s sexual behaviour, sexual knowledge, and sexual interest at that age C HILDREN ’S SEXUAL K NOWLEDGE • Many children engage in sexual play and exploration • Young children engage in sexual behaviour without having a clear understand of what it means • Educator should attempt to clarify misunderstanding in the child’ beliefs C HILDREN ’S SEXUAL INTERESTS • Children’s knowledge of and interest in sex are reflected in the questions they ask • Important that sex education for a particular age group address the questions of that age group, rather than questions children of that age thought about but answered long ago • High school student agree that sex education should begin in early elementary school, and should progress from the simple to the complex + should cover wide range of topics and be presented by grade 8, revisited in high school o Want sexual health education that talks more about sex and is respectful of their choices • Can also tell something about children’s sexual knowledge and interest by the dirty jokes they tell o Reflect several themes in their attitudes toward sexuality and in their interactions with their parents on the issue o 1. Seem to view their parents as always trying to keep sex a secret from them o 2. Reflect children’s fascination with sex, particularly with the penis, vagina, breasts, and intercourse o 3. Jokes seems to satirize adults’ use of euphemisms for sexual terms • Sex educators should remember that children are aware of adults’ attempts to “cover up” and of their embarrassment and their use of euphemisms A TTITUDES T OWARD S CHOOL -B ASED SEXUALITY E DUCATION • Vast majority of parents are in favour of sex education in the schools= strong support for detailed sexual education in schools, beginning in the primary grades • Media regularly publicizes controversies, cases in which parents are protesting sex education in schools • BUT o 1. They are rare o 2. The protestors are usually in a minority o 3. Controversy is often not over whether there should be a program, but over the use of a particular curriculum, book, or video THE C URRICULUM • Need for quality sexual health education + controversy over whether the curriculum should address homonegativity Emily Chan PSYCH 2075 | CH 19 Sex Education | Page 2 March 2011 • Most Canadian parents, teachers, and students want sexual orientation included in sex education programs  helps meet the needs of those students that are not heterosexual and increase acceptance of diversity among their classmates E ARLY S EX E DUCATION • First programs = transmission of knowledge= goal: reduce teen pregnancies • Later programs = + values clarification and decision-making skills • Then shifted to AIDS and other STIs = disease prevention • Skills for Health Relatonships program o Compononents aimed at delaying sexual activity, increasing condom use, creating compassion for persons living with HIV/AIDS, combating homonegativity, and improving communications and negotiating skills o Based on mode: acquire knowledge, develop responsible attitudes, increase motivation, develop skills o Uses students as peer group leaders and encourages parental involvement A BSTINENCE -O NLY P ROGRAMS • Abstinence-only (sex education) programs: Programs that promote sexual abstinence until marriage as the sole means of preventing pregnancy and exposure to STIs • Most well known: Sex Respect and Teen Aid • Evaluation of these programs showed that they did not delay the onset of sexual activity or reduce the percentage of students having sex, getting pregnant, or acquiring an STI = not effective at delaying intercourse or reducing the rates of teen pregnancy • May put youth at greater risk when they do start having sex, as they are less likely to use condoms C OMPREHENSIVE , T HEORETICALLY BASED P ROGRAMS • Stress inoculation theory- people are better able to resist social pressure when they recognize the pressure, are motivated to resist it, and have rehearsed resisting it • Social learning theory and the information-motivation-behavioural skill model emphasize the important of practicing new skills that can be easily translated into behaviour include rehearsal and role-playing activities • Imperative = identify sex education programs that appear to be effective in reducing sexual-risk-taking behaviour • Six characteristics that are associated with delaying the initiation of intercourse, reducing the frequency of intercourse, reducing the number of sexual partners, and increasing the use of condoms and other contraceptives: o Effective programs focus on reducing risk-taking behaviour o Effective programs are based on theories of social learning  Must increase knowledge, elicit or increase motivation to protect oneself, demonstrate that specific behaviours will protect the person, and teach the person how to use those behaviours effectively o Effective programs teach through experiential activities that personalize the messages  Avoid lectures and videos, use small-group discussions, simulation and games, role- playing, rehearsal + may rely on peer educators o Effective programs address media and other social influences that encourage sexual risk-taking behaviours o Effective programs reinforce clear and appropriate values  Values of postponing sex and avoiding unprotected sex and high-risk partners Emily Chan PSYCH 2075 | CH 19 Sex Education | Page 3 March 2011  Values and norms should be tailored to the target population o Effective programs enhance communication skills • Length of program and teacher training are also important o Long enough to complete all these components and activities and are delivered by teachers or peers who believed in the program and had received training in how to deliver it • Make sure that programs not only reduce negative outcomes (unwanted teen pregnancies, STIs, and HIV/AIDS) but also achieve positive outcomes (self-esteem, sexual comfort, fulfilling interpersonal relationships) C ONDOM D ISTRIBUTION • Widespread support for the distribution of condoms in school – 60% of Canadian adults were in favour of making condoms available in schools • Most visible opposition to condom distribution programs – Roman Catholic Church + other religious groups o Believe they will encourage sexual intercourse outside of marriage (research proves otherwise) • Sexually active students in schools that made condom available were twice as likely to use condoms • Research indicates that condom distribution programs are associated with reduction in teenage pregnancies and abortions Emily Chan PSYCH 2075
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