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Engaging, practical and empowering: Sexuality and relationships education at Curtin University, Australia that supports pre-service teachers

Engaging, practical and empowering: Sexuality and relationships education at Curtin University, Australia that supports pre-service teachers

An audit of Western Australian universities found pre-service teachers have limited opportunity to study health-related courses (termed units in Australia), and when they are offered there is often little focus on Sexuality and Relationships Education (SRE). Curtin University has recently established an undergraduate course for Bachelor of Education students, which focuses solely on the delivery of evidence-based SRE. 

Methods: Formative Mixed Methods Research was conducted to inform the course development. It was piloted during 2014 with 20 undergraduate students and involved 36 hours of face-to-face contact during one semester. Students participated in a range of qualitative and quantitative pre- and post-evaluations to examine content, delivery, process and impact.

Results: Course content was viewed positively by all students. Self-assessment of teaching competency and inclusive attitudes towards sexuality concepts increased for each student at the end of the semester. Assessment tasks were viewed positively and, in particular, a teaching resource file was viewed as a useful tool that could be utilised and added to throughout one’s teaching career. Post-course reflection papers provided rich qualitative data regarding learning experience. Students reported becoming empowered as SRE educators and intended to implement learning immediately.

Conclusions: An undergraduate course dedicated specifically to school-based SRE has been successfully incorporated for pre-service teachers within the School of Education at Curtin University, Australia. Regardless of their teaching speciality (special needs, early childhood, primary and secondary), all students reported the unit content applicable to their future work as educators. This has implications for universities and/or teaching colleges that address SRE in an ad hoc manner or provide it only in specific degrees like B.Ed. (Secondary) or B.Ed. (Health and Physical Education).

Areas of Interest / Categories: Sex Education, Sexual Behaviour, WAS 2015

WAS 2015

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