My thesis - Best Practices and Obstacles Teaching Sexual Health Education at the High School Level - is available for viewing on the University of Toronto's website.
Ontario’s implemented Sexual Health Education (SHE) curricula are the oldest sexual health curricula across Canada (Oliver et al., 2013; Ontario Ministry of Education, 1999; Ontario Ministry of Education, 2000). Implementing outdated SHE curricula is problematic since many topics related to sexual health are not addressed, such as the influence of social media on sexuality and discussing the spectrum of sexual orientations and gender identities (Murray, 2011). Also, Ontario’s SHE frames sexual health narrowly, emphasizing the biology and risks of sexual activity (Meaney et al., 2009) while failing to consider the healthy, positive, and “normative” aspects of sexual development (Salehi & Flicker, 2010). SHE has been a longstanding source of controversy among parents, students, and religious groups, yet teachers’ views remain virtually nonexistent (Ninomiya, 2010). Four experienced Ontario high school teachers were interviewed for this study using semi-structured interviews. Interviews focused on exploring best practice strategies for and obstacles to teaching SHE in Grades 9 through 12, as well as recommended changes for Ontario’s SHE curricula in Grades 9 through 12. Using a Critical Pedagogy framework, various themes emerged under best practice strategies (e.g. take a student-centred teaching approach by letting students decide which topics they would like to explore in SHE), obstacles (e.g. backlash due to sensitivity, cultural and religious beliefs), and direction for change (e.g. introduce sexual health topics in earlier grades).
If you would like to read the entire paper, please visit https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/handle/1807/68771
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