What I have realized in the process (sort of an epiphany that has been brewing) is that we do have a fantastic curriculum but I strongly believe the issue is how it is delivered. I think teaching Sexual Health in a classroom would look quite differently depending on several areas:
a) life experiences. It is all about what is important to them and what they see as valuable. Would be very similar to current issues.
b) current issues in the community. Such as perhaps in a community where racism and sexual violence is prevalent the lessons would look quite different if the community was being challenged by high rates of teen pregnancy.
c) their interest (what they want/need to get out of these lessons). Students will clearly have questions or want to have discussions in a certain area and I would encourage that in my classrooms and the classroom itself would be a safe (of course unless abuse is disclosed), accepting and non judgemental place.
Another way to include an Aboriginal perspective would be using traditional teaching methods such as talking circles, including elders, etc. Another aspect that I believe would be important would be discussions about traditional healing and how that can be used to improve holistic health or to heal over past challenges/pain.
Here are some examples of how perhaps I would link the two:
Grade 8: Outcome: USC 8.7 Assess the social, cultural, and environmental influences on and supports for sexual health knowledge, attitudes, behaviours, and decisions.
|SK Curriculum||Aboriginal Perspective|
|a. Compare the perceived and actual sexual attitudes/norms in the community.||What do we believe about Sexual Health in our community? Why do we believe this? How did we end up feeling this way?|
|b. Locate and evaluate, according to student-generated criteria, both sources of and information about sexual health.||Where do we find information? Do we have clinics/doctors/nurses in our area? Where can we find these resources? What about the internet? How do we find appropriate and accurate websites?|
|c. Examine influences that shape community norms about sexual health||Discussion about media (and portrayal of women, opportunity for discussion about violence against women and Canadian statistics)|
|d. Compare sexual attitudes/norms of adults to those of youth in the community.||Analyse stats and question why.|
|e. Determine the possible consequences of not knowing and questioning community attitudes/norms.|
|f. Examine how the social, cultural, and environmental influences may determine people’s knowledge and access to sexual health information.||Focus on cultural aspect. Examples of Aboriginal beliefs on Sexual Health.|
|g. Examine and develop an understanding of influences on responsible sexual health decisions (e.g., family, culture,social, religion).||Focus on cultural aspect. Examples of Aboriginal beliefs on Sexual Health.|
|h. Appraise the strategies of personal commitment (see grade7) that are required to commit to one’s standards and to respond to the social, cultural, and environmental influences.||Opportunity for performance task about personal commitment. Eg write a letter to one’s self about beliefs,values, what you want/don’t want in a relationship, feelings, etc.|
|i. Analyze ways to support others and their dignity in decisions related to sexual health.||(!!!) Large opportunity for inquiry based questions on supporting others and their DIGNITY. Discussion about peer pressure and decision making.|
|j. Analyze sexual health supports and services in the
|Discussion on resources available in rural communities and how this affects ones holistic health. Discussion on the impact of services (or lack thereof)|
|k. Determine how access to sexual health supports and services influence personal and community sexual health.||Discussion on resources available in rural communities and how this affects ones holistic health. Discussion on the impact of services (or lack thereof)|
Outcome: USC 9.8 Assess the ways self, family, and community facilitate healthy living for people with chronic illness. USC 9.9 Develop and demonstrate the personal insight, motivation, and skills necessary to enhance and promote sexual health and avoid health-compromising sexual attitudes and behaviours.
|SK Curriculum||Aboriginal Perspective|
|a. Examine personal attitudes about sexual health.||Personal activity 0r ability to have small or large discussions.|
|b. Acquire knowledge that is appropriate for students’ levels of development, and directly relevant to their own sexual health needs including: an informed understanding of sexuality, prevention of sexual health problems, including pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), enhancement of sexual health.||Focus on “homework at school” approach where students learn information at home and come to school prepared with questions or areas where they struggled. Ability to use social media to facilitate learning eg Twitter for questions. Assessment opportunity, performance task or quiz. Factual information IS important however does not need to take up the majority of the lesson time.|
|c. Analyze abstinence as the healthiest and safest sexual choice for young people.||Remind students STIs can still be shared skin to skin. Discussions, what is abstinence, abstinence meaning different things for different people.|
|d. Discuss sexual health choices that reduce the risk of health-compromising consequences.||Visiting healthcare provider, (possible discussion re contraception)|
|e. Assess how to raise, discuss, and negotiate sexual health issues with partners.||Decision making, how to say no. Many opportunities for performance tasks.|
|f. Evaluate the potential outcomes of sexual health attitudes and behaviours.||Major focus on Sexual Health affecting ALL areas of holistic health.|
|g. Determine how attitudes and behaviours may interfere with or enhance sexual health.||Major focus on Sexual Health affecting ALL areas of holistic health.|
|h. Clarify personal standards (see Grade 6) that influence sexual health decisions.||What are personal standards?|
|i. Examine the strategies of personal commitment (see Grade 7) that are required to commit to one’s standards/decisions related to healthy sexual behaviour.||How do we stick with our personal standards? What challenges may we face?|
|j. Articulate the influence of alcohol and other drugs on sexual attitudes and behaviours.||Current statistics on Aboriginal Health. Inquiry based questions on colonialism, racism, and what makes us healthy or unhealthy.|
|k. Determine the personal benefits of taking action to enhance sexual health and prevent/reduce sexual health problems.|
|l. Use self-knowledge and understandings to promote sexual health with family, friends, partners, and community.||Performance task opportunity focussed on community health and project based learning.|
|m. Determine the behaviours and local resources/supports that can help to attain positive sexual health outcomes.||Where do we find resources? Discussions of programs available, where to find support, and how not enough support can hinder sexual health.|
|n. Establish a common and informed understanding of differences that exist in relation to sexuality and determine what differences are respected and protected in Canadian Human Rights legislation.|
How would you include an Aboriginal perspective using these indicators?