08 SES 06, Learning about Sexuality, Identity and Health in Schools Literacy
Parallel Paper Session
The aim of this paper is to discuss the findings from a research focusing on the learning outcomes and perceptions of pupils (age 10 to 12) related to a national sexuality education campaign in Denmark titled Uge Sex (Week Sex/6).
Uge Sex is a national sexuality education campaign in Denmark that aims at supporting the development of the action competence of children and young people in regards of sexuality, wellbeing, rights and health through free educational materials to schools. The campaign takes place every year in February and is run by the Danish Family Planning Association (DFPA) with financial support from The National Board of Health and the private foundation of TrygFonden. The campaign started in 2008 and had in 2012 a total of app. 180.000 participating pupils from 4th -10th Grade in the Danish Folkeskole (Basic School) as well as from the Upper Secondary and Vocationally Oriented Education.
The Uge Sex campaign and the materials provided to the schools are characterized by an approach to sexuality education inspired by the tradition of the Danish critical health education (Jensen, 1997; Simovska, 2007; Carlsson et al, 2009) as well as the norm critical pedagogy developed within the theory of Swedish queer pedagogy (Brade et al, 2008; Bromseth et al, 2010; Kirk et al, 2010). In other words, the Uge Sex approach is characterized by holistic and positive health and sexuality concepts, a focus on dialogue, participation and action orientation and on a rights based approach to sexuality education emphasising the rights to education of all pupils regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or disability.
The democratic perspectives of the approach with a strong focus on rights, insight into norms and values and the empowerment of pupils through participation (Simovska 2008), differs strongly from other sexuality education initiatives in Denmark that most often are characterized by a relatively narrow and risk-focused perspective on health.
The campaign is based on a hypothesis about a positive link between sexuality education characterized by the Uge Sex approach and an increase of the general wellbeing of the pupils, resulting in less bullying in classrooms and a increase in the pupils recognition of positive aspects of diversity in class rooms and society in general in regards of gender, sexuality and body. The objective of this study is to test this hypothesis.
Brade, L., Engström, C., Sörensdotter, R. & Wiktorsson, P. (2008). In the eye of the norm [in Swedish: I normens öga ], Stockholm: Friends Bromseth, J. & Darj, F. (eds.) (2010). Normcritical pedagogy. [in Swedish: Normkritisk pedagogik], Uppsala: Centrum för genusvetenskap, Uppsala Universitet Jensen, B.B. & Schnack, K. (eds.) (1994). Action and Action Competence as Key Concepts in Critical Pedagogy. Didaktiske Studier, København: Danmarks Lærerhøjskole Carlsson, M., Simovska, V. and Jensen, B.B. (eds.) (2009). Health Education and Health Promotion – Theory, Research and Practice [in Danish: Sundhedsundervisning og Sundhedsfremme – teori, forskning og praksis], Aarhus, Aarhus University Press. Jensen, B.B. (1997). “A case of two paradigms within health education”, Health Education Research, Vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 419-428 Kirk, A.H., Scott, K., Siemen, K. & Wind, A. (eds.) (2010). Open and closed doors. An anthology on gender in pedagogy [in Danish: Åbne og lukkede døre. En antologi om køn i pædagogik], København: Frydenlund Simovska, V. (2007). “The changing meanings of participation in school based health education and health promotion”. Health Education Research, Vol. 22, n. 6, pp 864-878. Simovska, V. (2008). Learning in and as participation: A case study from health promoting schools. In: Reid, A., Nikel, J., Bruun Jensen, B., & Simovska, V. (eds.), Participation and learning: Perspectives on education and the environment, health and sustainability (pp. 61-81). Springer.
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