In the last episode ⏩
So what kind of education do middle school students want? About a month after I started teaching the sex education unit, I asked my first grade middle school students to write down ‘what you want to know and learn about sex'.
Middle School Students Sex Ed. Curiosity Time
Of course I got a lot of answers like ‘I don’t know’ and ‘nothing really’, but I was also able to get a better understanding of the range of curiosity than I thought I would. Largely, the questions could be classified into ‘sexual relationships’, ‘contraception’, ‘the body and sexual health’, ‘menstruation’, ‘self-image and identity’, ‘dating’, ‘sexual crimes’, ‘sexual desire and masturbation’, and ‘searching for sexual information’. If you look at each in detail, you can understand what students these days want to know.
▼ Topics and Questions South Korean Middle School 1st Grade Students are most curious about.
If there was an education method To answer everyone’s curiosities
As can be seen in the students' responses, interest and curiosity about sex exists in everyone, and it is not limited to a narrow range such as physical contact or sexual behavior. This is because sex, sexuality and gender are very prominent parts of our mind and body.
’Sexuality’ is the basis for recognizing the preciousness of the body, understanding the joys of the body, and ensuring healthy functioning of the body that makes up the individual that is ‘me’.
The social perception of my body, the way in which "my body" is accepted in relationships with others, and my relationship with other people's bodies can work to both develop and harm an individual’s mentality. Therefore, sex education plays a huge role in public education given to everyone.
Of course, proper sex education requires efforts in various areas as well as just changes in the content and language covered in the textbook. I believe that even if the same content is delivered, it reaches the learner completely differently depending on the teacher's language and attitude.
So for effective education, teachers in charge of sex education should base their lessons on gender equality awareness and respect for individual bodies and identities. To do this, quality education for teachers must be steadily provided along with constant professional development.
Times are changing steadily, and the perceptions of society as a whole and students are changing and growing. Sexual education in schools should also be changed in a way that allows it to convey useful and necessary sexual knowledge, and teaches students to respect themselves and others in line with the trend of change.
Could we become a society where students receive gender-equal sex education that affirms and respects the identities of themselves and others?
I think its possible if we have the interest and support of enough people. Next year in Korea, the "2022 Revised Curriculum" will be announced, and textbooks and classes will be changed accordingly. I hope it will be changed to a curriculum that respects diversity much more than current sex education and acknowledges how to affirm and respect oneself as a sexual subject.