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Sex Education? No Thanks!

Discussion in 'Mahusiano, mapenzi, urafiki' started by X-PASTER, Nov 18, 2009.

  1. X-PASTER

    X-PASTER Moderator

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    Sex Education? No Thanks!

    The Times

    As the Government sets out new rules for sex ed, one mother explains why she is removing her daughter from the classes

    Sex education. Until recently, I’ve been all in favour. As the mother of three girls, aged 10, 8 and 3, living in a London borough that hovers at the top of the teenage pregnancy tables, I’ve never questioned the need for it or thought to look too hard at what it involves.

    I grew up in a rural area in the Seventies without much in the way of amenities. We made our own entertainment, so I’ve never set great store by the “age of consent”. I accept that the days when you muddled through puberty on your own, discovering moments of magic and misery, are probably gone. I’ve always felt comfortable anticipating conversations with my daughters that I never had with my own mum. Body issues. STDs. Condoms (not what they are, but having the confidence to insist that he wears one).

    This year, though, my attitude has changed — and it is my eldest daughter who has changed it for me. In many ways, Ruby is a typical ten-year-old, now beginning Year 6, her final year of primary school. She is balanced, bright, sociable. Though children are generally thought to be growing up fast, for Ruby and her friends, puberty still seems a long way off.

    She has no mobile phone and does not use the social networking site Bebo. She doesn’t wear make-up and is at the stage where the challenge lies in getting her into the bathroom rather than out of it. She and her gang collect cuddly toys from Claire’s Accessories, and give them names, characters and complicated social lives. They are writing a story about zombies, alternating chapters and e-mailing them to one another. For Ruby, boys don’t yet figure — they have nothing to bring to her party.
    If Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, had laid out his plans for “personal, social and health education” last year instead of last week, I would have given a cursory, approving glance. Part of the national curriculum from the age of 5? Fair enough. Reducing the age at which parents can withdraw their children on moral grounds to 15? About time, too.

    But supporting sex education in theory is one thing. When Ruby embarked on it at the end of Year 5 (aged 9 rising 10), I quickly became aware of a yawning gap between what she was being told and what she was ready to hear.
    The national curriculum allows primary schools to decide the exact make-up of an SRE lesson (sex and relationship education) and the subject guidelines for children aged 7 to 11 sound soft and woolly (“How to form and maintain relationships with a range of different people”). Around this, schools choose content to reflect its ethos and community.

    Ruby, who attends a large secular school in Southwark, is no doubt experiencing a more hardcore interpretation. For her, the horror began with a childbirth video last summer term. I have no idea how graphic it was — neither does Ruby, because she buried her head in her hands as soon as she saw the woman’s face, which was, in Ruby’s words, “twisted in pain”. The woman’s cries scared her and Ruby came home in tears, doubting that she would ever have children. Several ashen-faced boys said that they were sure glad they weren’t girls.Then came the animated stick people having sex, complete with zoom-in diagrams.

    Although Ruby already knew what sex involved, she found this focus so gross, so disgusting and the prospect that she’d one day do it so worrying that she raised her hand and removed herself from all further SRE. The teachers let her sit with another class in her year group who were having a different lesson. This year, she wants me to write a note to make it official (currently, you can remove your child from SRE on “moral or religious” grounds until they are 19 — the new proposals will lower this to 15 in 2011).

    Elizabeth Hartley-Brewer, the child development expert and author of, among others, Talking to Tweenies and Raising and Praising Girls, says that Ruby’s revulsion is commonplace. “The problem with sex education is that it assumes every child is in the same place and can cope with it in the same presentational way,” she says. “In any class of 30 children who are 10 years old, you’ll have some who are not yet ready for it, a small minority beginning puberty and others living in families with disrupted circumstances where sex is quite evident and they need a bit of context for what they’re seeing. Sex education is probably necessary since so many parents are so bad at explaining anything, but doing it in school is an incredibly clumsy solution

    My worry is that, instead of equipping Ruby for adulthood, SRE has made her worry about it and introduced graphic information that had not yet figured on her radar. Though I don’t advocate banning sex education in primary school, I’d feel more comfortable if it was discussion led, rather than based on videos and detailed anatomical information.

    After each lesson, Ruby would come home in a heightened state of anxiety, and we would go through the content, with me adding layers of reassurance and clarification. My friend, who also has a daughter in the same class, found her equally anxious, but, worse, unwilling to talk about it. (In fact, she becomes remarkably agitated when her mother calls the subject by its full name, rather than the safe, dry SRE.) Another mother has found that most of the discussion has gone over her daughter’s head — in which case, what was the point?

    For this reason, I’ll be writing that note for Ruby so that she can spend her next batch of SRE, in the summer term, in the library, immersed in Harry Potter.

    “The most important response is to completely validate her feelings

    Hartley-Brewer says.
    “Don’t let her feel that her response is unnatural. Tell Ruby, that, yes, you know it seems revolting, that it’s an odd thing to imagine. But try to reassure her that one day she’ll feel OK about it when it happens at the right time with the right person

    I’ll certainly tell her. Though I’m not sure that she’ll believe me.



    The Times
     
  2. FirstLady1

    FirstLady1 JF-Expert Member

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    dah
     
  3. Pape

    Pape JF-Expert Member

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    mmmmh
     
  4. M

    Mundu JF-Expert Member

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    Tanzania somo hili linafundishwa shule ya msingi nadhani ni darasa la Tano kama sikosei, by then watoto wengi wanakuwa kati ya ten to twelve years of age. kwakuwa hatuna facility za kutosha... ni kama linafundishwa kinadharia zaidi. na watoto hurudi nyumbani kwa furaha.
     
  5. Teamo

    Teamo JF-Expert Member

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    agrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!summary bana
     
  6. X-PASTER

    X-PASTER Moderator

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    !!????
     
  7. X-PASTER

    X-PASTER Moderator

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    Hiyo furaha inatokana na nini haswa!?
     
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