"We have to know what is happening!"Student experiences of a year 10 sexuality education programme
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Teaching and Learning
This thesis highlights the complex nature of students’ experiences in the sexuality education classroom. It seeks to provide insight from the perspectives of Year 10 students in two classes on their experiences of a particular sexuality education programme. The purpose of this study was to ‘give voice to’ and explore the experiences of asmall group of nine Year 10 students in their compulsory co-educational sexuality education programme. To this end, the main source of data was focus group interviews with student participants. Students were asked to participate in focus group interviews part way through the unit of work and invited to share their thoughts, feelings and perceptions of the programme. The data analysis generated themes that describe student’s experiences in relation to course content, pedagogy and classroom organisation. The analysis of students’ talk in focus group interviews also showed that gender relations and emotional safety were important features of the students’ experiences of their sexuality education programme. More particularly, it was found that students valued their exposure to this subject and felt that school was a good place to learn about sexuality education. They enjoyed social constructivist teaching approaches that were student-centred and interactive. The students expressed some dissatisfaction with the way in which their sexuality education programme was organised and being delivered. In addition, there was evidence of both male and female students being influenced by traditional, hegemonic constructs of masculinity and femininity, and also a heteronormative culture within the classroom. The findings present implications for sexuality education teaching in relation to programme development and classroom practice. They suggest that sexuality educators may need to consider the way in which their classrooms are organised, as well as the pedagogical approaches they use, as it appears these aspects have significant influence on the emotional safety of students, on relationships within the classroom and on the student experience of sexuality education as a whole.