Friday, 29 January 2010

Two things surprise me

Two things surprise me regularly when I'm teaching SRE.
Firstly, how much some young people know about sex.
Secondly, how little some young people know about sex.

Strangely this seems true across all demographics of age, culture, up bringing and economic background. Some young people just seem to have a much greater awareness of sex at a younger age and some seem to be the complete opposite. This presenst some problems when teaching SRE. I know that if I aim too basic in my session I will be irrelevant to some of the class and more worryingly they may then decide to not ask me that question that they really want to know. On the over side if I aim high I may be concussing to people in the lesson or I may give them ideas that they wouldn't have thought of before.

I believe the best approach is to aim somewhere in the middle, never assuming anything. Ensuring all my language is clear and concise examplianing new terms as I use them. At the same time I aim to never let my language appear to encourage any activities at a young age. The big example of this has been Oral Sex.

In many lessons I have defined oral Sex saying "oral sex is when someone uses their mouth to provide pleasure to someone's genitals" sometimes adding "by licking, sucking or kissing for example."

I have discussed with a number of workers and a few teachers about this particular definition. Does the definition act as a short how to, encouraging young people to engage in an activity they may not have previously thought of. In a basic way it does, it gives the very basic technique but does it encourage young people to have a go? I'm not sure but currently I believe all it does is break down the gossip and misunderstandings that go around the school playground. Sometimes I ask the group to give some examples of the slang terms they use. This can again help young people to cut through misunderstandings.

At my recent lecture at The University of Chester, one of the students made the point that we should be working with the sick not the healthy and used this idea to support the aim of teaching SRE aimed at young people who are thinking and talking about the bigger issues. They need help and support. The young people who hadn't heard the terms or hadn't spent a lot of time thinking about it wouldn't be damaged by hearing some more details. Details that are clear and correct, not gossip or Chinese whispers.

Information isn't damaging (unless it is misinformation)