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Teaching the sensitive issues in K-6 PDHPE

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1 Teaching the sensitive issues in K-6 PDHPE
K-6 Personal Development and Health Education incorporating Towards Wholeness K-6 and the Catholic Perspective Staff meeting presentation This presentation has been developed by the Catholic Education Offices of: Sydney, Broken Bay and Wollongong

2 Overview PDHPE in a Catholic School Implementing Towards Wholeness K-6
Creating a learning environment for teaching sensitive issues Available resources for teaching sensitive issues

3 K- 6 PDHPE Syllabus Board of Studies NSW
PDHPE is one of seven key learning areas in the NSW primary curriculum. It is concerned with the development of the whole person and the improvement of human life. As a Catholic Educational sector we are mandated to teach to the integrity of this syllabus with flexibility to the school and its underpinning ethos.

4 The Challenge for Catholic Educators…..
Teachers in Catholic Schools have a responsibility to their students to: present the Church’s teachings acknowledge contemporary society and student experiences encourage a reflective and informed decision making process the expectation of the Church and parents is that sexual health information and moral principles should be integrated parents want Catholic morals instilled in their children

5 Catholic Schools at a Crossroads
Ensure that our schools: are truly Catholic in their identity and life enable our students to achieve high levels of ‘Catholic religious literacy’ and practice are led and staffed by people who will contribute to these goals “The Catholic school system is one of the “jewels in the crown” of the Catholic community ….It has provided high-quality education to generations of young Australians and has been a major arm of the Church’s engagement with youth.” Background Notes for the Facilitator: Package acknowledges the value of Catholic schools over last 150 years Asks schools to evaluate their existing Mission statements Acknowledge the strength and worth of the Catholic schools and contribution of Catholic educators Catholic education is at a crossroads. Changing circumstances have radically affected the composition and role of the Catholic school in recent years. The Catholic school-aged population of NSW-ACT has grown considerably over the past two decades, as has the number of students in Catholic schools. Demand for Catholic education keeps rising, though much faster in secondary than primary schools. Some of the additional students in our Catholic schools are not Catholics. That other-than-Catholic families should entrust their children to Catholic schools reflects well upon the standards and particular qualities of Catholic schools. Good Catholic schools are good schools. But there has been a fall in the number of Catholic students attending our schools during this period of growth. Half the students of Catholic families are enrolled in State schools, and a growing proportion go to non-Catholic independent schools. In the past two decades the proportion of children in NSW-ACT schools from non-practising Catholic families has risen considerably. Another enrolment trend of particular concern has been the decline in representation in our schools of students from both poorer and wealthier families. Put plainly: poorer Catholic children are increasingly attending State schools, while wealthier Catholic children go to non-Catholic non-government schools. Adapted from Catholic Schools at a Crossroads page 3 and 6. Suggested Activities: 20.1 In small groups explore the following questions: a. What are some of the outstanding achievements of Catholic Schools over the last ten years? For example: Development of strong faith communities; Positive relationships with parishes and parents; Dynamic liturgies; Strong academic performance; A diverse curriculum; Outstanding pastoral care; Strong community focus; b. What are the challenges and the possibilities of the changing demographics of Catholic schools? c. In what ways might Catholic schools better meet the enrolment needs of poorer families? Catholic Schools at a Crossroads page 3 & 6

6 The importance of the teacher’s role
“It depends on me as a teacher whether the Catholic school achieves its purpose” (Declaration on Christian Education) Students should know that as soon as they enter my room that they are in a different environment. (Statement from Australian Bishops December 1993)

7 Sensitive Issues in the PDHPE Syllabus
Refer to the Stage 3 Subject Matter (K-6 PDHPE syllabus pgs 44-45) What are the sensitive issues in the K-6 PDHPE Syllabus? What are some of the issues and concerns when teaching this content?

8 Sensitive Issues Schools are required to deal not only with matters of fact but also with values education, including moral and ethical issues. A number of sensitive issues are raised in PDHPE including: Sexual health HIV/AIDS Drug Education Child Protection Bullying Family Structures It is important that parents and caregivers receive adequate information about the content and context of the school program that deals with sensitive issues

9 Catholic values & beliefs
Each person is created and loved by God and thus has inherent dignity. All human life is sacred. Sexuality is a God-given gift that needs to be understood and respected. We appreciate and respect our bodies and the bodies of others. The values we hold and the morals we live by form the basis of our decision making. Jesus Christ is the model of the fully integrated person.

10 Catholic Values Reverence Tolerance Trust Sacredness of life
Life-long Commitment Responsibility It is important for teachers to ensure that students identify with the range of Catholic values related to their sexuality. This will require comprehensive planning, appropriate witnessing and effective teaching. (Towards Wholeness p15) Trust Honesty Presenter’s Notes A reflection of the Christian values that need to be included in classroom lessons. Activity Allow time for the teachers to suggest ‘values’ before providing the the ones on the slide. Ask the teachers to think about their current teaching in this area and to identify particular values that would be evident in the lesson content and pedagogy. Reflect on how these values might affect a person’s behaviour or choices in relation to their sexuality. Sacredness of life Respect Faithfulness Chastity

11 Growth and Development in today’s society
Growth and development, in particular sexuality, in today’s society as promoted by the media is often seen as: a commodity which people are free to consume at will a normal part of any relationship - “everybody’s doing it!” something to be used to exploit people for profit / sensationalism/pleasure devoid of any connection with fertility an activity where commitment is irrelevant

12 So what should the children learn about human sexuality in a Catholic school?
Children often have some information but lack the skills and understanding to process what they know. They need to be provided with age appropriate information.

13 The Human Sexuality Component of K-6 PDHPE
ES1 and Stage 1: Years K-2 (5-7 years old) I am unique and special Life is a gift from God - personal identity God made boys and girls physically different - body parts and systems, body care and maintenance God’s plan is for babies to be born into a family - values and caring relationships

14 The Human Sexuality Component of K-6 PDHPE
Stage 2: Years 3-4 (8-10 years old) The body - I can use the correct terms for the sexual parts of the body God made me through my parents’ love for each other My body will change as I grow into an adult - rates of growth and development, feelings about changes and self Uniqueness of self, heredity

15 The Human Sexuality Component of K-6 PDHPE
Stage 3: Years 5-6 (10-12 years old) What is puberty? Menstruation and nocturnal emissions Coping with change, personal identity - influences on self-esteem Knowledge of and respect for God’s gift of reproduction - the reproductive process Responsibility in sexual relationships - emotional readiness, influences / consequences of decisions Appropriate HIV / AIDS education

16 Towards Wholeness K-6 (CEC Document)
outlines concepts and identifies values that will help students to understand and deal with major personal and social issues provides a foundation for lifelong responsible decision making. seeks to help the students to live according to the teachings of Jesus Christ. Available online at


The following diagram represents key components of the syllabus along with gospel values. It places these values at the centre of the process. Page 15

19 Towards Wholeness K-6 includes:
K-6 PDHPE syllabus is reproduced in its entirety The additional Catholic Perspective is printed in Italics Relevant comment is made in all PDHPE strands Additional Material is provided in the strands of Growth and Development, Interpersonal Relationships, Personal Health Choices and Personal Safety (within the Safe Living Strand) Quotations and reference to Scriptures, Church documents and other support materials have been included within the text. Refer to Pg 6 of TOWARDS WHOLENESS K-6

20 Towards Wholeness K-6 can be used to…
encourage students to make informed decisions related to health and physical activity to develop positive attitudes help students to apply principles of morality and to make judgments according to reason, in conformity with the good that is willed by God Treat sensitive issues within each school community based on Church teachings and Catholic Values Encourage the family, school and parish community to share the responsibility of leading students to understand their own growth and development

21 Teachers can use Toward Wholeness K-6...
in both programs and units. This can be incorporated, for example, as prefacing comments to programs or as page references in units a basis for parent/teacher information gatherings - a source of information and a stimulus for discussion of content and values at a parent forum and/or in any classroom teaching situation as a source book for individual teachers in the context of: teacher background reading classroom preparation and program development teaching materials staff meetings at all levels individual or group enquiries from students

22 K-6 Personal Development and Health Education Resource Diocese of Broken Bay, the Sydney Archdiocese, and the Diocese of Wollongong This revised (2010) resource provides a possible approach to ensure that topics such as sexuality, drugs, road safety, Protective Behaviours and being active, are being addressed in each Stage, based on our Catholic values by linking relevant topics with the CEC Towards Wholeness K-6 on-line document The revised (2010) K-6 Personal Development and Health Education Resource has embedded the relevant Catholic values from Towards Wholeness K-6 into the units of work

23 Example of Towards Wholeness outline in unit overview – all units have a TW overview

24 A sample Lesson with TW embedded

25 Suggested Learning Experiences
In pairs, create a definition for the term, self-esteem. Share these definitions with two other pairs. Teacher brings the students to the understanding that self-esteem means how we feel about ourselves. Explain that this might mean how you feel about yourself as a student, friend or child and whether you think others like you and how you feel about your ability to manage life. Use the analogy that self esteem is like a cup of water and that sometimes it is full (high self-esteem) and sometimes it is low (poor self-esteem). Discuss what things can fill our cup or empty our cup? List people and events that may influence the development of self-esteem, eg, friends, family, life changes (milestones), loss, relocation. How do good relationships help your self-esteem? What makes a good relationship? How can good relationships help people cope with issues? TW: Teacher revises the belief that God created us in His image and likeness and therefore His love for us is unconditional. In small groups, identify ways God’s unconditional love may influence their self-esteem? (Eg, God forgives us when we make wrong choices and therefore we can always start over again, our physical appearance has no bearing on how much God loves us.) Suggested Learning Experiences As a class, view Part 2 What’s happening for the boys of the co-educational DVD, Things Are Changing. This section of the DVD deals with the male reproductive system, sperm, sexual intercourse & emotional changes. Review the body parts on Male Reproductive System. As a class, view Part 3 What’s happening for the girls of the co-educational DVD Things Are Changing. This section of the DVD deals with the female reproductive system and the menstrual cycle. Review the body parts on Female Reproductive System. Explain to the children that there will be a verbal question time and the opportunity for a question box to ensure anonymity. This may be separate boys/girls or as a class. Refer to Appendix Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for Stage 3 Sexuality Education in a Catholic School. TW: In small groups ask the children to discuss how they could show their teachers and parents that they respect themselves and their class mates in relation to their sexuality. Explain that this can be done by appreciating and respecting our body and the body of others. (This belief is already displayed from Lesson 3.)

26 Responding to questions about human sexuality cause teachers the most concern

27 Setting the classroom ground rules
Keep confidential what others say in class Respect: people’s privacy by not expecting them to share experiences & use personal names Respect others’ feelings e.g. the right to pass for student & teacher what others say without judgement or criticism Everyone has a right to speak - no put downs and speak one at a time Use respectful and inclusive language Each person is responsible for their own behaviour Confidentiality Respect for self and others Right to pass or the right to speak Responsibility

28 Explore typical questions from Years 5 and 6 students?
Individually write down some ‘tricky’ questions you have been asked by Stage 3 students in relation to human sexuality. In pairs choose 2-3 questions and discuss how you would answer these ?

29 Responding to ‘tricky’ questions in relation to sexual health education
Be informed Be honest but respecting personal privacy Stick to the facts – keep it simple Difficult questions: I think that is one for mum or dad…or Answer it but give yourself time to plan a response Use a Question box, gives you time to think and plan your answer Talk with colleagues about the best approach When in doubt check things out with your Principal or REC Refer to the FAQs document on the PDH CDROM 2010.

30 If a child in a DET school asks. … ”How does a girl get pregnant
If a child in a DET school asks.… ”How does a girl get pregnant?” (DET website adapted from FPA) When a man and women have sex, the man releases sperm out of the end of his penis into the women’s vagina. If one of these sperm finds one tiny egg inside the mother’s body, they will join and start developing into a baby. The mother has lots of tiny eggs in her body and sometimes one of them will become a baby. There is a special place inside the mother called the uterus and the baby grows in there until it is ready to be born

31 If a child in a Catholic school asks... “How does a girl get pregnant?”
A special gift that God has given us to help create another human being (a baby) is called sexual intercourse. A women can become pregnant through having sexual intercourse with a man. The Catholic Church teaches that because sexual intercourse is such a great gift of giving and receiving love, which creates new life, a man and a woman should be in the special relationship of marriage before having sex. However, some people with different values have sexual intercourse and young girls can become pregnant without being in this special married relationship. It is wise to wait until your body has become adult and your relationship has matured into marriage before you have sexual intercourse and become pregnant.

32 Dealing with Sensitive Issues
Thoughtful treatment of sensitive issues will involve: their management in the context of a comprehensive PDHPE program and providing the Catholic dimension; knowing the Churches teachings; adopting appropriate teaching strategies; using of appropriate resources.

33 Teaching Strategies for Sensitive Issues - 1
When dealing with sensitive issues, teaching techniques need to be objective and balanced. The following strategies may help to generate purposeful, respectful discussion and avoid unpleasant experiences for students and their teachers. Create a safe and supportive classroom environment. The class may wish to consider: accepting what others say without judgment or criticism; the importance of respecting others’ feelings and confidentiality; the value of hearing a number of viewpoints expressed. Present accurate factual information. Correct misinformation in a way appropriate to the learner’s age, needs and cultural background.

34 Teaching Strategies for Sensitive Issues - 2
Present the sensitive issue impartially and in a way that is considerate of the range of community values while presenting the Catholic ethos Provide opportunities for students to express and discuss their fears or anxieties. Discuss and develop strategies to address students’ concerns, eg how to establish a support network. Relate issues to students’ lifestyles or current/age appropriate issues

35 Teaching Strategies for Sensitive Issues - 3
When appropriate, encourage students to research additional information, various viewpoints on an issue and alternative solutions. Emphasise that points of view are opinions, not facts. It is not possible to present sensitive issues in a value-free way. Rather than give personal opinions, teachers should present principles generally accepted by the wider community and Catholic Teaching.

36 Teaching and Learning Strategies that can compliment a good learning environment
Captions from cartoons/photos Video triggers/Feeling illustrations Newspaper/Magazines Role Plays Scenarios Ranking Scale Values Continuum Journals/Story Telling Websites (ICT) Captions for cartoons/photos (good for values development) Checklists Moral dilemma/scenarios PMIs - plus, minus, interesting statements

37 Teaching Strategies for Sensitive Issues - 4
It is not appropriate, however, to encourage personal disclosures in group situations One Step Removed strategy is a way of allowing students to explore a range of sensitive issues without confrontation or personal threat. One Step Removed suggests teachers use fictitious case studies, moral dilemmas or any techniques that dissuade students from talking in the first person in class discussions. Use conditional language: or … might happen; or … could happen. Instead of the direct ‘What do you …?’ approach, substitute: What if …? Suppose … Imagine someone …

38 Teaching Strategies for Sensitive Issues - 5
Protective Interrupting Discussing sensitive, private information is not appropriate in the classroom setting. Protective Interrupting suggests that teachers interrupt students who begin to disclose private information: e.g. ‘It sounds as though you want to talk about this. Why don’t we talk about it after class?’ After protectively interrupting, guide the discussion back to the One Step Removed strategy.

39 Teaching Strategies for Sensitive Issues - 6
Closing the Lesson and Debriefing Students Closing a lesson in a positive way is critical when teaching about sensitive issues. Discussions need to be summarised. Case studies or moral dilemmas should be brought to some point of resolution. Selection of activities needs to be carefully thought through so that there is time to complete the lesson with an appropriate closure. Students who participate in scenarios, or who express a strong point of view about an issue, may need to be debriefed. Provide opportunity for the expression of strong feelings and then return the student/s to the present situation.

40 Guest Speakers Parent information evenings are they required?……
The background and qualifications of community members engaged in school activities, such as nurses or outside health agencies should be carefully assessed by Principals. Ensure they address the Syllabus outcomes and content and respect Catholic values. Parents/caregivers require notification of visiting speakers and have the right to withdraw their children from sessions or be invited to attend so they can follow up the topic at home Parent information evenings are they required?…… This is a decision each school must make.

41 Resources: K-6 PDH Resource 2010
A collaborative project with the Diocese of Broken Bay, the Sydney Archdiocese, and the Diocese of Wollongong Including the following support materials Staff PPt - Teaching the sensitive issues Parent PPt – The sensitive issues in PDHPE Towards Wholeness Sample Parent letters Sample K-6 PDH Scope and Sequence plan Useful Websites Stage 3 Sex Ed FAQs with Catholic values Cybersafety Overview for PDH units

42 The Wonder of Living-DVDs
These DVDs can be purchased from Open Doors Counselling and Education services Inc.

43 Resources cont… DVDs - Things are Changing K-6 PDHPE Syllabus Modules
A values-based Stage 3 sexuality education resource which has been approved for use in the Catholic primary school by most Australian Bishops. These DVDs can be purchased from Choicez Media

44 Growth and Development Websites
Johnson and Johnson Kids Health NSW Department of Education and Training BBC Lil-Lets Girls

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