27 SES 06 A JS, Gender and Classroom Practice
Joint Paper Session NW 33 and NW 27
In Europe, the curriculum for sex education has been criticized by WHO for not including youth, or addressing social and psychological aspects of sexuality (Suciu et al 2015). Contrary this, the study reported here highlights an example of teaching that exemplifies how ethics can be actualized in a student inclusive sex education. Our aim is to analyze classroom situations and to highlight ethics through posing a research question about: In what different ways ethical issues does appear in an upper secondary school classroom activity concerning sexuality and relationships?
Present research started from a conversation in an upper secondary science classroom, where the students were assigned to identify and discuss things they regarded as taken for granted, or distinguish as a societal norm concerning human sexuality. Thus, our interest is focused on what ethical values theses student-centered classroom discussions, actually evoked. The project followed two upper secondary classes for five weeks during their education on sexuality in biology, one in a natural science program and the other in a social science program. Both groups have given us permission to data collection in accordance with demands of the Swedish Research Council (2017).
While the aim of the teaching was to develop a more student-centered sex education, different types of teaching took place during the research period. The focus of the research consisted of transcribed smaller group discussions where each individual student presented a norm-critical examination (s)he had chosen to work on further. Moreover, the students’ task was to discuss what kind of consequences these norms could give rise to, and how some of them could be resolved with the help of deeper knowledge about norm criticism and biology.
The methodological aim of the study was further to visualize how different ethical values and norms appear when exploring data at different distances, here called as depth of field (DOF). In order to elaborate those different DOF, we took help from the concept transaction developed by the philosopher John Dewey (Dewey and Bentley 1949). His explanation for using this concept is that, as soon as we humans are born, our lives unfold in a flow of action. Thus, instead of assuming the individual as a given item of knowledge the focus can be shifted to upcoming actions and encounters in progress (Garrison 2009).
In order to show how ethics can be visualized in teaching, we use three depth of field (DOF) depending on which encounter is in need of being highlighted. With help of the concept transaction, our analytical focus can be shifted from one particular action and encounter to another one taking place in the same activity, but regarded from another perspective (Rogoff 1995). For example, from what is taking place in certain student's reflection (DOF1), to what occurs when a group of individuals take part in a mutual and immediate conversation (DOF2), or to the transaction between what takes place in this narrower context, to a larger event that takes place in society in relation to a historical and societal context (DOF3). The latter analysis may also be derived from what the philosopher Foucault developed and came to call genealogy (Foucault 2002). To analyze the empirical data, the transcribed actions, we used questions of what ethical issues can be discerned; 1. In the individual student's norm critical presentation, (DOF 1) 2. In the students' discussions, (DOF 2) 3. When related to an historical and social context? (DOF 3) So far in this study we have seen how the students' norm-critical analysis, the teacher implemented, led to an initiated discussion between them. Although the analysis of the data is still in progress, we can offer a glimpse in the ongoing process as well as draw some preliminary conclusions. We expect to be able to present more results at the conference.
In the following example Alicia has investigated the statement "Men have a greater sexual desire than women" what she regards as a norm. She is presenting her investigation when Anna joins in. Alicia: Then, it's individual how people are, so, it's sort of difficult. You shouldn't generalize, but it's hard to do something about it just because it has become kind a norm ..., that if a girl walks home by herself and come to see a boy she becomes a bit scared, even though he is the world's kindest. It is unconsciously generalized, that men are dangerous. It's hard to do something about it just because … Anna: Because it's like the norm. That guys are always so damn horny. It's also that you draw all over the same ... The ethics that were identified with DOF 1 lead to new ethical issues and areas 'zoomed' in when using DOF 2. Alicia evoked discussions about a norm that involves girls' vulnerability. Out from DOF 1 actions evoke ethical questions such as; Should one generalize, or is everything individual?; Ought girls be afraid of guys?; Are all men dangerous? Alicia's presentation opened up the discussions to a series of new questions of ethical nature. The example of ethical issue evoked zooming out to DOF 2 is when Anna joins in the discussion and evoke a new ethical question; Are the men always horny? When in turn 'zoomed out' to society and its historical context (DOF 3), it opens up for ethical issues concerning analyses of structures in society that made this kind of normative constructions of 'mens' greater sexlust' even possible to grow. So far it is possible to state that the designed teaching sequences, gave the students the opportunity to discuss and highlight the issue from many different angles.
Dewey, J., and A. F. Bentley. (1996). "Knowing and the Known." In John Dewey: The Later Works, Vol. 5, 1st ed.. edited by I. L. Hickman. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. Foucault, M. (2002). Vetandets arkeologi [Archaeology of Knowledge] (C. G. Bjurström & S.-E. Torhell, Trans. [Ny utg.] / ed.). Lund: Arkiv. Garrison, J. (2009) "Dewey's Constructivism: From the Reflex Arc Concept to Social Constructivism." In; John Dewey between Pragmatism & Constructivism, edited by I. L. Hickman, S. Neubert & K. Reich New York: Fordham University Press. Rogoff B (1995) Observing sociocultural activity of three planes: participatory appropriation, guided participation, and apprensticeship. In Ed Wertsch J.,Del Rio P., Alvarez A., Sociocultural studies of mind. Cambridge University Press Suciu, A., & Miltiadou, Ivy,. & Kot, M,. & Mladenov, P. (2015) Youth matters! Why invest in young people's and adolescents' Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. In; Entre Nous The European Magazine for Sexual and Reproductive Health Nr 83. Sexual and Reproductive Health WHO Swedish Research Council (2017) God forskningssed [Well-considered research manner. Own trans.] CM-Gruppen AB.
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