Good sex education should allow the adolescent to talk freely about sex and its relationship to interpersonal relations, dynamics within a relationship, love, family and his/her future. Sex education should be open enough so that the atmosphere in the classroom is comfortable and the adolescent does not feel inhibited when asking questions.
Unfortunately, most parents’ actions are less a result of planning in advance, and more often reactions to children’s provocations. This necessitates the importance of exposing adolescents to as much information as possible. An educator’s goal should provide them with information regarding different types of sex protection and to impart knowledge based on holistic attitudes.
Suggestions for how Sex Education could be presented in High School
On International AIDS day, High School students can visit people with AIDS in hospitals or in their homes so that these people feel they have somebody to comfort and nurture them, even if it is only for a day. The students can help AIDS patients’ children (if they have children) with schoolwork and/or games just to reassure the sick ones with AIDS in a constructive way.
One powerful method of exposing students to subjects such as unwanted pregnancy and abortion is through films. Show a film about a teenage girl who is pregnant and decides to have an abortion discreetly without the knowledge of her parents. After the film, divide the class into two groups: one group being the teenage girl and the other group as the parents. Pose the question: “Would you tell your parents that you are pregnant?” and, if so, “How would you tell them?” In essence, conduct a role play where the challenge is to express themselves openly as if they were in that situation. Roles plays, if well constructed, can be very effective teaching devices.
Finally, ask the question, “Do you have an open relationship with your parents where you can talk about problems regarding sex, the dynamics of a relationship with a boy or girl or about sex prevention?” If some of the students’ answers are negative, pose the question: “What can you do so that your relationship with your parents can be freer and more open?” Finally, raise the key question: “Does it bother you that you do not have an open relationship with your parents?”
Another method of teaching sex education is having the students fill out questionnaires about AIDS. In spite of the fact that many students may have heard about the AIDS disease, not many know its causes and what it is exactly. Questions such as: “Can you reduce chances of infection by taking birth control pills? Can you get AIDS by donating blood? And “Can you get AIDS from oral sex?” are some of the relevant questions to ask. Afterwards, hand out the same questionnaire and have them interview their friends, neighbors, relatives, family members and compare the results among the members of the class. The purpose of this questionnaire is to present several topics such as: “What can we say about the fact that people do not know the answers? Is it the fault of the school, family or society? Do you think it is good or bad that your parents do not expose or share their feelings/knowledge about AIDS, prevention of sexual diseases and contraceptives? Would you like your parents to talk to you about these things?” This activity focuses on the parent-adolescent relationships regarding talking about sex and what can be done in allaying the adolescents’ doubts, fear and anxieties.
Perhaps this chunk of “something else” can be nurturingly provided by the school system or in parent-teacher meetings where these issues should be discussed openly. After such meetings, new or seasoned High School teachers of sex education will not be so inhibited in talking about it with their students, similar to parents talking with their children.