Sexuality Education Matters: Preparing pre-service teachers to teach

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  • Sexuality



  • Preparing pre-service teachers to teach sexuality education

    Debbie Ollis Lyn Harrison

    Claire Maharaj

    Deakin University Faculty of Arts and Education

    School of Education Burwood, Victoria

    April 2013

    Deakin University CRICOS Provider Code: 00113B




  • Copyright Deakin University 2013

    Published by Deakin University Faculty of Arts and Education, School of Education 221 Burwood Highway Burwood VIC 3125 Australia Telephone: +61 3 9244 6579 Email: Web:

    ISBN 978-1-74156-176-0

    This publication is subject to copyright under the laws of Australia and, through international treaties, other countries. Deakin University owns the copyright, and third parties own the copyright in some incorporated materials. You may save an electronic copy or print a copy of this publication solely for your own information, research, teaching or study, but only if you do not modify the copy and include the copyright notice Deakin University 2013. You may also make multiple copies of the handouts and worksheets for teaching purposes.

    Third party materialsWhile every effort has been made to acknowledge and secure permissions from third party copyright owners, the publishers would like to apologise for any omission and will be pleased to incorporate further acknowledgments in any future edition of this resource.

    Any extracts from VELS or AusVELS materials included herein are reproduced or adapted with permission. Original materials are copyright of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA). For up-to-date VCAA material go to:

    Commonwealth of AustraliaCopyright Regulations 1969

    WARNING: Parts of this resource have been reproduced and communicated to you by or on behalf of Deakin University pursuant to Part VB of the Copyright Act 1968 (the Act). Some material in this communication may be subject to copyright under the Act. Any further reproduction or communication of this material by you may be the subject of copyright protection under the Act. Do not remove this notice.

    AuthorsDebbie Ollis, Lyn Harrison and Claire Maharaj

    PhotographyDonna Edwards, Deakin University. All photos used with permission.

    Electronic resourcesThe electronic resources listed in this publication were available at the accessed date shown (where applicable). Online resources do move and change, so if youre having trouble with a particular address, try a web search engine.

    Suggested citationOllis, D, Harrison, L & Maharaj, C 2013, Sexuality Education Matters: Preparing pre-service teachers to teach sexuality education, Deakin University, Burwood, Vic.

    Further informationFor more information about this publication contact: Dr Debbie Ollis, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Hwy, Burwood VIC 3125 Australia

  • Area of Study 1Setting the Context

    Area of Study 2Gender, Power & Sexuality

    Area of Study 3Diversity

    Area of Study 4Discourses in Sexuality Education

    Area of Study 5Frameworks, Policies & Approaches

    Area of Study 6Plumbing & Sexual Health

    Area of Study 7Sexuality & Relationships

    Area of Study 8Dealing with Sexuality as a Whole-School Issue

    Area of Study 9Assessment

    Areas of Study

  • ContentsAreas of Study iiiContents ivAcknowledgments viIntroduction & Context 1Area of Study 1Setting the Context 9Introduction 101 Aims & expectations 132 Setting up safe learning spaces 163 Building an understanding of sexuality education 23Extra activities 27Additional information 32Resources 35Area of Study 2Gender, Power & Sexuality 37Introduction 381 Starting to unpack gender 422 A gender model 493 Gender & sexuality into practice 50Extra activities 59Resources 64Area of Study 3Diversity 65Introduction 661 Affirming diversity:

    The big picture 702 A focus on sexual diversity 793 Understanding & including diversity in sexuality education 1003a Cultural & linguistic diversity 1023b Religious diversity 1063c Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander diversity 1123d Diverse abilities 1183e Geographical diversity 1274 Reflection 131Extra activities 133Resources 135Area of Study 4Discourses in Sexuality Education 143Introduction 1441 Starting from lived experience 1472 What do we mean by discourse? 1493 Comparisons of sexuality education approaches 164Resources 165


  • ContentsArea of Study 5Frameworks, Policies & Approaches 167Introduction 1681 From international to local:

    A look at what is needed for effective sexuality education 1712 A framework: From harm minimisation to a strengths-based approach 188Resources 199Area of Study 6Plumbing & Sexual Health 201Introduction 2021 Secondary students & sexual health 2062 Sexuality education in primary schools 2083 Safer sex education 223Extra activities 238Resources 253Area of Study 7Sexuality & Relationships 255Introduction 2561 Respectful relationships 2602 Understanding & practice in gender-based violence education 2803 Pornography, sexualisation, young people & relationships 307Resources 352Area of Study 8Dealing with Sexuality as a Whole-School Issue 355Introduction 3561 The whole-schoool community 3592 Implementation in the classroom 388Extra activities 392Resources 396Area of Study 9Assessment 397Introduction 3981 Example assessment methods 4012 Additional assessment suggestions 412Resources 414Final activityBringing it all together 417Bringing it all together 418ReferencesWorks cited in this resource 422


  • We have developed this resource with funding from the Sexual Health and Viral Hepatitis Unit of the Victorian Department of Health. It draws and expands on previous resources and programs developed by Debbie Ollis and is largely based on the sexuality education unit Teaching Sexuality Education in the Middle Years, developed and taught by Debbie Ollis and Lyn Harrison at Deakin University.

    We would like to thank the following groups and individuals for their advice and guidance:

    Sexuality Education Matters Steering CommitteeAnne Mitchell, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS)Kylie Stephens, Melbourne UniversityAmanda Mooney, Ballarat UniversityKatherine Reed, Victorian Department of Human Services (DHS)Steven OConnor, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD)Nerida Matthews, Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA)Health and Physical Education Teacher Educators Alliance Victoria (HEPTA-V)

    Pre-service Teachers Consultation

    Jacqui Peters, Deakin UniversityJenny Walsh, La Trobe UniversityMaree Crabbe, Brophy Foundation Mary-Lou Rasmussen, Monash UniversityCathleen Farrelly, La Trobe UniversityZali Yager, La Trobe UniversityNerida Matthews, VCAALiz Weir, Australian Catholic UniversityMichael Crowhurst, RMIT UniversityLinda Kirkman, La Trobe UniversityEmma Price, Centre Against Sexual Assault

    (CASA) House

    Pam Blackman, La Trobe UniversityChris Brown, Ballarat UniversityMandy Stevens, Family Planning VictoriaSteven OConnor, DEECDAmanda Mooney, Ballarat UniversityKristen Le Gassick, DEECDKristen Douglas, DEECDAnna Dansie, DEECDClare Grogan, DEECD

    We would also like to thank the pre-service and in-service teachers who have been instrumental in trialling these materials and providing rich insights as part of our research more broadly, and to inform Sexuality Education Matters.

    In particular we would like to thank the following pre-service teachers:

    Jo Bayes, David Bucknell and Jarrod Noll for sharing their assessment tasks as part of the resource

    Jo Bayes, Stephanie Boemo, Simon Brown, David Bucknell, Tess Smith, Jarrod Noll, Ken Millar, Sally Parkinson, Greg Rogash and Lisa Wiffen for agreeing to be filmed for the DVD and sharing their experience of pre-service sexuality education.

    We would also like to thank and acknowledge:

    Anthony Richardson and Laurel McKenzie for their contributions to the literature reviews included in the resource

    Maree Crabbe and David Corlett for assistance with the development of the pornography sub-area of study

    - Kristy Lang, Kathleen Cooper and Jan Dunlop from the Southern Teaching Unit for their input

    Anne Savige for her administrative support throughout the project.


    Sexuality Education Mattersvi

  • Little is known about the provision of sexuality education in pre-service teacher education programs. In 2009 the Victorian Health Department commissioned research to map and document the extent and content of current programs in Victorian universities and make some assessment of how teachers are trained (Carman, Mitchell & Walsh 2009). This report found that little teacher education exists for pre-service secondary teachers and even less for primary teachers. In most cases, sexuality education will be allocated only a few hours in secondary health and physical education courses, and is increasingly being integrated with more general content related to student health and wellbeing.

    Primary school teachers are rarely prepared with the knowledge, skills and understandings to confidently and competently address sexuality education (Leahy, Horne & Harrison 2004; Harrison & Ollis 2011). Yet, sexuality does not suddenly emerge at secondary schools. Primary school students live in a social contex