Teenage

How do we start ‘that’ conversation?

TEENeditoria

Tuesday, September 18, 2012    

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THERE has been a recent public firestorm concerning the usage of the curriculum The Health and Family Life Curriculum: Grades 7-9 within local schools.

The curriculum guide includes questions to be posed by teachers to their students on matters of heterosexual intercourse and homosexuality. The public outcry over the curriculum and disapproval over its implementation have led to the book being immediately withdrawn by the inistry of Education.

TEENage believes that the issues raised in the guide is a discussion that cannot be viewed in black and white, and prompts a deeper evaluation.

The world today is highly globalised and allows children, due to increased access to and understanding of technology, to know the happenings of different societies around the world. This guide, though graphic in nature, allowed for a discussion about adolescence and sexuality in a controlled classroom environment as opposed to children experimenting on their own.

What makes this discussion even more important is that many members of our society have characterised sexual discussions to be deviant or immoral.

This has led to many parents becoming uncomfortable with having 'that' conversation with their children.

TEENage believes that a teacher-led discussion arising from the guide has the ability to fill this unfortunate void.

TEENage, however, understands why there has been outrage at the content highlighted in this guide.

We agree that some of the questions are too graphic for the Grades 7-9 classroom.

In addition, due to most children being seemingly impressionable at such an age, there is the possibility for them to attempt the actions of these questions asked due to their naïve curiosity. Many parents know this, and as such, rightly demanded that the guide be pulled from the classrooms.

If a balance could be struck where the sexual explicitness could be toned down and become more age appropriate, such a curriculum would be vastly helpful to the children of our society.

The sexual discussion is an important one that has to be had with our children. But it has to be done appropriately and moderately in a phased manner to prevent damaging overexposure.

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