A question of trust: sexuality education in the context of a Colombian international school
Lewallen, Bryan Keith
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The purpose of this study was to determine the level of parental support for school-based sexuality education in a Colombian international school and discover the most popular method, among parents, for teaching the subject, whether through a comprehensive, abstinence-only, or abstinence plus approach. Another objective was to determine parental support for the teaching of specific topics in the sexuality education curriculum and identify the age levels that parents felt were appropriate for the introduction of those topics. A third goal was to find out how parents viewed themselves as sexuality educators in the home and how they perceived their peers. In order to determine the attitudes of parents regarding school-based sexuality education, a parent survey was conducted. The first section of the survey presented parents with a variety of scenarios related to three different approaches to school-based sexuality education. The parents selected the approach that best reflected their views and attitudes toward the subject and most appropriately presented the material to students. The second section of the survey offered parents an array of sexuality education topics and asked them to choose the appropriate age level for the introduction of each topic into the sexuality education curriculum. The third section of the survey asked parents to evaluate themselves and their peers as sexuality educators in the home. Parents were also asked to list three activities in which they enjoyed participating with their children. The research indicated that of the 206 parents surveyed, 49% supported a comprehensive approach to sexuality education, 40% backed an abstinence-plus approach, and 3% supported an abstinence-only approach. Parental support was given for the inclusion of a wide variety of topics in the sexuality education curriculum, with most of the subjects being introduced at the middle school level. Most parents viewed themselves as effective sexuality educators in the home, while criticizing their peers for not having the same open communication with their own children. Chi-square tests of significance revealed correlations between parental gender, frequency of church attendance, and preference for a specific approach to sexuality education.
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