08 SES 04 B, Integrating Health and Sexuality Education in the Curriculum
According to Ingham and Hirst (2010) there are, at least, two major justifications for the inclusion of Sex Education within school curricula. The first is related to the rights of young people to adequate information and support to enable them to make informed decisions regarding their health. The other justification is that SE is effective in improving sexual health.
According to the Portuguese Working Group on Sex Education (Progress Report, 2007), the option for the inclusion of sexuality in the health domain does not intend to reduce it to a mechanistic, biological and sanitarian view. Rather, it seeks to stress the phenomenological, holistic and cultural concept of comprehensive health, as proposed by the World Health Organization. Thus, Sex Education (SE) should seek not only to mitigate the risk behaviours such as unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, but also to promote the interpersonal relationships quality and intimacy experiences as well as their contextualization in cultural and socio-historical contexts.
However, as Anastácio (2007) regards, despite all the legal and ministerial guidelines, teachers continue to resist the approach of sex education in schools. According to Cohen et al. (2012) the teachers who demonstrate greater willingness to teach Sexuality and Health Education (SHE) are more likely to be teaching middle school, have less teaching experience, have received training to teach SE, feel more knowledgeable about sexual health, and view broad-based SHE as more important.
Buston et al. (2002) argue that when schools decide who should deliver sex education it is more important that they select teachers who feel comfortable with SE and have the requisite skills to deliver it.
In this sense, our research question is: what are the attitudes and conceptions towards school based sex education of first, second and third cycle of Portuguese basic education teachers?
Anastácio, Z. (2007). Educação Sexual no 1º CEB: Concepções, Obstáculos e Argumentos dos Professores para a sua (não) Consecução. Dissertação de Doutoramento. Universidade do Minho. Buston, K., Wight, D., Hart, G. (2002). Inside the sex education classroom: The importance of context in engaging pupils. Culture, health & Sexuality, Vol. 4, N.º 3, pp. 317-335. Cohen, J. N., Byers, E. S. e Sears, H. A. (2012). Factors affecting Canadian teachers' willingness to teach sexual health education, Sex Education: Sexuality, Society and Learning, Vol.12, Nº3, pp. 299-316. Gerouki, M. (2009). “Innovations” on hold: sex education in the Greek primary schools”. Health Education, Vol. 109, Nº 1, pp. 49-65. Ingham, R. e Hirst, J. (2010). Promoting sexual health, pp. 99-118, em Aggleton, P., Dennison, C. e Warwick, I. (eds.), Promoting health and well-being through schools, Routledge: Abingdon. Martínez, J., Carcedo, R., Fuertes, A., Vicario-Molina, I., Fernández-Fuertes, A. e Orgaz, B. (2012). Sex education in Spain: teachers' views of obstacles, Sex Education: Sexuality, Society and Learning, Vol.12, nº4, pp. 425-436. Ramiro, L., Matos, M. (2008). Percepções de professores portugueses sobre educação sexual. Revista de Saúde Pública. 42 (4), pp. 684-692. Westwood, J. e Mullan, B. (2007). Knowledge and attitudes of secondary school teachers regarding sexual health education in England, Sex Education: Sexuality, Society and Learning, Vol.7, n.º2, pp. 143-159.
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