Teachers' role in sex education

1st August 2008 at 01:00

In the recent article on sex education (TESS, July 18), doctors appeared to be saying more resources, more specialised teachers, more training and better curriculum planning are required. There can be no argument with that.

The idea that we teach children too much about relationships and sex is absurd. While they are bombarded with sexualised images of youth in teenage magazines and soap operas, we engage in tokenism. Those countries that teach sex education rigorously and honestly have far lower teenage pregnancy rates than we have.

How can health professionals do sex education with pupils? How often can these people come into school?

I remember the "one-lecture-a-session" approach, where a "qualified" guy nobody knew - and may or may not have respected - came in and showed photographs. It didn't do me a lot of good - and probably some harm. I know that I would have listened more to a teacher who knew me and who had the sort of relationship with me that was based on empathy and honesty.

Teachers need more training, and sex education needs more time. It needs to be a "proper" subject. Pupils lack self-esteem in sexual matters - and who is better to build that self-esteem than the teacher with whom they interact every day?

Ray Magnol TESS online staffroom.

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