October 25, 2021, 5:31 am

Sex education: Breaking the gap between teachers-students

(08:57:11 AM 07/04/2014)
( - Straightforward, honest sharing between teachers and students. That, say experts, is the most effective means of helping students confidently approach sex and reproductive health in the right way.


The Department of Education and Training (DET) of the central province of Phu Yen has reviewed the model called "Sharing," which was implemented by the Center for Studies of Gender, Environment and Family in Development and the Ministry of Education and Training in this province in 2013. Phu Yen is the only province in the country where this sex education model was carried out, albeit on a trial basis.
Teachers are afraid, students are shy of sex education

A sex education class under the new model at the Nguyen Hue High School in Tuy Hoa City, Phu Yen Province (Photo courtesy of the Nguyen Hue High School).

According to the Phu Yen DET, sex education has been part of the curriculum of its general schools over the past seven years. Yet the effectiveness of this program has been modest due to the huge gap between teachers and students, the agency commented.
In Tuy Hoa City, Phu Yen, the Hung Vuong Secondary School has tried its best to convey the essentials of sex education to its students. During a recent lesson on the physiology of sexuality, the teacher began by drawing the male genitals on the blackboard. Not to anyone’s surprise, several students could not stifle their giggles, and soon the whole class erupted in laughter. The teacher blushed, stopped drawing and smiled sheepishly.
"When the teacher drew that thing, my classmates started joking that it looked just like that boy’s and this boy’s, which made these boys shy. Seeing their shyness, the entire class burst out laughing," says student Thinh Nguyen.
Cao Thi Diem Quynh, a girl in the same class, admits that at their age, they do need to know about these facts of life. But she and her female classmates could not help feeling embarrassed when it was presented in class. "We can learn about it on the Internet. But if it is taught in class, our teachers are so afraid and we are too shy to speak or ask questions. So only the teachers talk during the class," Quynh says.
Mr. Nguyen Xuan Son, Vice Headmaster of Hung Vuong, says the current sex education model is inappropriate. "Not only are students shy but so are the teachers, especially the young teachers. So both the teachers and students communicate about sex vaguely," he says.
Mr. Ngo Ngoc Thu, Deputy Director of the Phu Yen DET, believes the problem stems from the fact that the sex education program was compiled from foreign documents and research. What’s needed is a revised program that fits the habits and culture of the Vietnamese. "The way we've done it is wrong," Thu adds.
Frankly sharing
According to Thu, given the current problems sex education in general schools, the Ministry of Education and Training has collaborated with the Center for Studies of Gender, Environment and Family in Development to conduct a trial of the “Sharing” model in Phu Yen’s high schools.
"We still have the same goal of helping students understand reproductive health. But with this new model, both the form of teaching and the content of the curriculum are changed. The sex education class becomes a meeting of students or, if you will, a “playground” for students, rather than a lesson. The teaching materials are designed as stories, not a textbook," Thu says.
During a break, a group of 10th grade students of Nguyen Hue High School approached their teacher, Ms. Luong Thanh Hue, to ask her about the survival time of sperm in the uterus. That's never happened before.
"The focus of this method is to break the barrier between teachers and students. The method creates an initiative in students to be inquisitive. Sometimes the role is changed: students ask and teachers answer," Hue says.
To encourage students’ confidence and a proactive approach to knowledge, this program targets teens’ psychology – their wish to assert themselves and to be treated as adults – with the message: “You can only be mature once you clearly understand your sexuality and those of people around you”.
"When students feel the need to learn about sex, I provide them with documents and then they discuss it in groups to further clarify the issues. During the discussion, if they need the teacher’s assistance, I help,” Hue adds.
"We understand that all of our friends are similar to us. Everyone has genitals with similar mechanisms of operation and they can become infected with disease if not protected. So why do I have to be afraid to thoroughly learn about it?" says schoolgirl Nguyen Thi Quynh Tien, a 10th grader from the Nguyen Hue High School.
Mr. Tran Cong, Deputy Headmaster of the Nguyen Hue High School, says that the program is a success because it has changed the perception of teachers, students and schools on sex education. "The way we taught sex education in the past was by one-sided communication. The new method conveys information in a multidimensional and more active way, so it is very effective," Cong says.
According to Mr. Ngo Ngoc Thu, Deputy Director of the Phu Yen DET, 15 teachers will travel to Hanoi to share their experience about the new method with their colleagues.
Endorsing this approach, the Ministry of Education and Training plans to implement the new method throughout the country this year.
“Particularly in Phu Yen Province, this year we will implement this teaching method in all secondary schools," Thu says.
Teen sex cannot be banned
Mr. Nguyen Minh Hung, Deputy Director of the Department of Education and Training of the central city of Da Nang, says teen sex has its roots in early development of students’ psychology and physiology. Hung goes on to say that while teenage sex is not encouraged, schools cannot take rigid measures against it. The solution, instead, is education.
According to teacher Truong Van Tam of a school in Nhu Thanh District, Thanh Hoa Province, it is futile to ban students from having sex. “The most important thing is to make them understand the issues of gender and sexuality, so they will have healthy and proper attitudes,” Tam says.
Source: VNS

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