Sunday, March 27, 2011

Curriculum Fidelity: A Critical Examination

To complete assignments for 625 and 626, I have developed and written my own curriculum complete with lesson plans. It has been an energizing and empowering experience that gives me confidence in my educational skills. However, recent experiences implementing a curriculum that I did not write has me questioning and pondering curriculum fidelity. It is not that I dislike the curriculum in question- students have responded well to it and it is a great model for pacing and flow of lesson plans. But there have been instances where curriculum fidelity has been difficult. For instance, one session has four activities planned in a one-hour time span. Even with adults this would be difficult, but I am working with 7th graders! In this instance, curriculum fidelity was not met and I had to cut two of the activities (activities that I really like) due to time constraints. This experience (along with a few others) got me thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of curriculum fidelity. This post raises more questions than answers. It explores, questions, and wonders about the importance of curriculum fidelity.

The Basics
In short, curriculum fidelity is “the degree to which a lesson, program, or curriculum is implemented according to the original intention of the developers” (Gilbert & Sawyer, 2000). Achinstein and Ogawa (2006) add that fidelity is a term used by administrators and teachers to describe strict adherence to the text, pacing guides, and teacher scripts associated with a certain curriculum.

The advantages of curriculum fidelity are numerous and heavily emphasized among educators. For educators (or whoever is implementing the curriculum), fidelity means less work! If my lesson plan is already written, rationale has already been argued, and activities are pre-determined, I don’t have to stress each night about what I’m doing the next day (or question if it will work). For evidence-based curriculums that have proven to be effective, curriculum fidelity means that the facilitator can be confident in the quality of the curriculum and its ability to achieve goals and objectives. Other advantages include guidance for inexperienced teachers, equity across educational settings, and coherence and collaboration among teachers (Achinstein & Ogawa, 2006).

Curriculum fidelity raises some challenges that speak to instructor autonomy and individuality. At its worst, curriculum fidelity demands conformity over quality. Sue, a teacher struggling with curriculum fidelity, says, “What I’m feeling from the district is that teaching and education are not important. What’s important is the program that we’re using and following it, and individual style and teacher’s knowledge, and their abilities and their individuality should not come into play” (Achinstein and Ogaway, 2006). Curriculum fidelity assumes that all educators have the same knowledge and skills to implement the curriculum as it was intended. If an instructor writes their own curriculum, they can tailor it to emphasize their own teaching strengths and weaknesses. When using a curriculum written by others, instructors must put aside their own preferences for activities/methods and implement the lessons as instructed. The danger in this is that lack of investment in material may cause instructors to be less energetic and effective than if they had been using a curriculum that they were invested in.

Special Considerations for Sexuality Education
Curriculum fidelity is often talked about in terms of evidence-based programs. For programs that have shown to have positive results (in behavior, attitudes, or knowledge), curriculum fidelity is the only way to ensure that these results will be the same for all implementations. For sexuality education, this component deserves more attention. Let’s take the examples of a program that produces higher math scores on a standardized test and a program that produces greater frequency of condom use. The math program is called MathWorks! and the condom program is called Put it On! (work with me, people).

Scenario A:  I am a math teacher teaching MathWorks! and I notice that yes, my students are learning how to answer test questions about math but I don’t like the teaching methods that are employed because they emphasize test-taking over understanding core principles. In this situation, what is more important: raising test scores to secure funding for my district or teaching math in a way that I feel is most effective?

Scenario B: I am a sex ed teacher implementing Put it On!. My students seem to be developing positive attitudes toward condom use but I don’t really like some of the activities in the program. However, this program is evidence-based and I am told that if I implement it correctly, my students will use condoms with greater frequency. What is more important: increasing condom use or adapting the program to my preferences?

In both scenarios, the desired outcomes are present. In both scenarios, the teacher feels that the lesson plans and activities could use some changes. Are the results of one program more important than the other? Does one program deserve fidelity more than the other? 

Final Thoughts
As I said before, all of my pondering and questioning about curriculum fidelity has yielded few answers. I respect the people who write evidence-based curriculum but also empathize with instructors who feel it limits their autonomy and individuality. When I wrote the final section, Special Considerations for Sexuality Education, I was intending to say that yes! - condom use is more important than math scores and fidelity to sexuality curricula that affect real life decisions is more important than fidelity to curricula that are intended to raise test scores. But now I’m not so sure. Thinking about this subject and writing this blog made me re-evaluate a lot of my thoughts about education and curriculum-writing. I’m looking forward to other people’s thoughts about and experiences with curriculum fidelity. Thanks for reading!

Kate Randall
March 27, 2011


Achinstein, B., & Ogawa, R. T. (2006). (In)fidelity: What the resistance of new teachers reveals about professional principles ad prescriptive educational policies. Harvard Educational Review, 76(1), 30-63.

Gilbert, G.G., & Sawyer, R.G. (2000). Health education: Creating strategies for school and community health. Boston: Jones & Bartless.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

How to be an Effective Educator in Diverse Classrooms?

Posted BY: Karla Diaz

Classrooms today are more diverse than ever (whether its race, ethnicity, or gender diversity), and as educators we should be prepared to work effectively with the broad range of learners within our classrooms. I usually teach Latinos because it is the population I feel the most comfortable with, but recently my students have been more diverse. This has made me think more about my effectiveness in delivering knowledge and information to diverse groups. I seek to improve my skills on a daily bases and recently I found a book that was very helpful in helping me analyze who I am in the classroom and what I should be doing to help all learners feel welcomed and validated (ideally).
The book is called Tools of Teaching by Gross Davis.
This book provides strategies to help educators become better teachers in diverse classrooms. The strategies are the following:
• Recognize any biases or stereotypes you may have absorbed.

• Treat each student as an individual, and respect each student for whom he or she is.

• Rectify any language patterns or case examples that exclude or demean any groups.

• Do your best to be sensitive to terminology (stay updated on terminology).

• Get a sense of how students feel about the cultural climate in your classroom.

• Introduce discussions of diversity at department meetings.
The book also provides a list of things educators should do to improve the effectiveness of lessons in diverse classrooms. The list that was most beneficial to my professional growth was the “classroom discussion list” which provides guidelines to improve classroom discussions in diverse classrooms. The guidelines are:
• Emphasize the importance of considering different approaches and viewpoints.

• Make it clear that you value all comments.

• Encourage all students to participate in class discussion.

• Monitor your own behavior in responding to students.

• Reevaluate your pedagogical methods for teaching in a diverse setting.

• Speak up promptly if a student makes a distasteful remark even jokingly.

• Avoid singling out students as spokespersons (it is unfair to have a person talk about his or her entire race, culture, or nationality).
These strategies and guidelines were helpful in helping me to conduct myself better in the classroom. Some things that I try to do when I am in a diverse classroom are:
- Gather information about how diverse the classroom is and do some research about them before beginning the class.

- Be attentive to what students needs during the lesson.

- Provide resources that are in the person’s language or tailored to the person culture.

- Offer extra help to students who have doubts about material

And in the classroom:

- Give everyone an equal opportunity to participate while acknowledging the people who raise their hand.

- Listen to the students and use their examples to explain concepts or ideas.

- Use the students name or nickname if this is proffered by the student.

- Encourage the students to critically analyze the lesson material.

- Give the students sufficient time to process information and ask questions.

- Giving feedback that goes along with the discussion.
I would like to know what other educators do to be effective educators in diverse classrooms. Please share your experiences or your thoughts.
Davis, B. G. (2009). Tools for Teaching. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Post by: Karla Diaz

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Importance of Teacher Self-Efficacy

By Jamie Zane
             According to the theory of Self-Efficacy, if a person perceives that they do not have the ability to do something (and have fears of accomplishment as a result), they will be less likely to participate in the behavior (Bandura, 1983). I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the power of having high self-efficacy – that if I believe that I possess the capabilities of doing something, I have a much stronger chance of accomplishing that goal.
I have spent the last six months working on developing a curriculum for a community nonprofit organization. The primary role of this agency is to advocate for children survivors of sexual abuse. Because I have over six years of experience as a rape crisis counselor and have predominantly worked with adolescents and adults, I was drawn to work with this agency as a way of expanding my knowledge of sexual violence, the impact of sexual abuse on communities and families, and strategies for increasing the effectiveness of prevention education.
And now I have a confession to make. The agency has been working on a pilot prevention education program for third graders in our community since I started working with them in September. Here comes that confession: I am not excited about working with children.
I wondered to myself at the very beginning – how am I going to pull this off? I thought about all of the reasons why children have not been my preferred audience and many of these reasons are quite rational. I don’t have much experience with kids – other than the experience I had as a kid growing up around other kids. I was an only child of a single mom who is also an only child. Most of my friends have either decided not to have kids or have waited until later in life to start a family. I do have three different friends with kids, but I so rarely get to see them that I find myself feeling awkward around their children when I do get the opportunity to spend time with them.
I did babysit for a very brief period of time in high school, but decided that it wasn’t for me and went into the restaurant industry. As a waitress, I’ve worked in many different types of environments that ranged from casual, hip restaurants to extremely attentive fine-dining restaurants. Most places where I’ve worked have not been very kid friendly. In fact, I can’t even remember a time when I’ve worked at a place that offered a special menu just for children.
When I first began the process of assisting with the local community partner agency, I was allowed to participate in assisting with the presenters in the actual third grade classes. I found this to be interesting to be around the kids, but extremely overwhelming. My self-efficacy in regards to teaching children is very low – and simply knowing this about myself hasn’t been a strong enough motivator to create any change.
I do feel that sexual abuse prevention education is very important and should be taught to children in the classroom setting. Although studies have shown that many parents believe that child sexual abuse education should be taught at home, it is also evident in research that most parents are too uncomfortable to discuss sexuality with their children and lack the information or resources to properly conduct these conversations (Kenny, Vjolca, Thakkar-Kolar, Ryan, & Runyon, 2008).            
So how did I turn this low self-efficacy around, you may wonder? I realized that for the moment it is more important for me to work with an audience that I feel more comfortable around. Since I have much more experience with adolescents and adults, I focused on building a curriculum that is designed for adult learners. My self-efficacy is much higher in regards to teaching that population and therefore I have much more confidence in my abilities to plan lessons with appropriate rationales for participants who are not children.
According to child abuse prevention organization Stop It Now (2008), adults miss opportunities on a daily basis to prevent child sexual abuse because of stereotypes and misinformation about sexual abuse; therefore it is important for adults to learn to converse with other adults about this topic to better ensure the safety of children (p.2). I decided that I would focus on building a community coalition of adults who work with children in various capacities that could, with proper training, become advocates for children. The rationale is that if adults are working with children as child care providers, teachers, youth-service facilitators, and parents (especially), they have a vested interest in the well-being and protection of children.
There has been research on the topic of teacher self-efficacy, but I have found that most studies on this topic involve the impact of self-efficacy on the stress level and job satisfaction of teachers Klassen, R. M., & Chiu, M. (2010).             I would argue that for a teacher to increase effectiveness as an educator, it is important to know oneself first in order to gauge where they are high on the self-efficacy scale and where they may fall short. Gaining teaching experience over time increases self-efficacy in the classroom overall, but it is much easier to start with a population in which one is already comfortable working with in general. It is already nerve-wracking enough to begin a career as a teacher. Why make the job even more difficult?             
Bandura, A. (1983). Self-efficacy determinants of anticipated fears and calamities. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 45(2), 464-469.
Kenny, M., Vjolca, C., Thakkar-Kolar, R., Ryan, E., & Runyon, M. (2008). Child sexual abuse: from prevention to self-protection. Child Abuse Review, 17, 36-54.
Klassen, R. M., & Chiu, M. (2010). Effects on Teachers' Self-Efficacy and Job Satisfaction: Teacher Gender, Years of Experience, and Job Stress. Journal of Educational Psychology, 102(3), 741-756. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Stop It Now. (2008). Prevent child sexual abuse: facts about sexual abuse and how to prevent it. The Safer Society Press: Brandon, VT. Retrieved from:

Sexual Education for Toddlers?!? YES!!!

Whether you are teaching preschoolers or have children around you of this age, questions about their bodies and other bodies will emerge.  While some parents and teachers think they are off the hook about talking to their children or students about sex until they get much older, this is so not true!  In fact, we can use preschooler’s everyday questions and turn them into fabulous learning experiences.  In this way, everyone can be a sexuality educator.  The child’s curiosity will set the stage for the beginning of their sexuality education experience! 

During the preschool years, a child becomes curious about his or her body.  They may notice that their older brother looks different “down there” or wonder why their mommy has hair “down there.”  This brings up my first point- I believe it is very important to provide children the proper name for body parts and sex organs.  I am sure everyone can recall various pet names given to genitals while growing up, but didn’t these names more or less teach us that our sex organs were something to be embarrassed about or secretive of?  What is so wrong with calling it a vulva or penis rather than a hoo-ha, willy, or your “privates”?  Most individuals would have no problem telling their children that a knee was called a knee or that an elbow should be referred to as an elbow, right?  The only difference here is the perceived vulgarity or shame associated with genitals. 

When preschoolers ask you questions, try your best to offer them an age-appropriate, direct response.  This works best with my young nieces and nephew.  Bath time was always a time for questions and in turn an opportunistic time for sexual education.  This is when you can explain that boys and girls are different in a number of ways and give them the correct names for their body parts.  It is very important to try not to be embarrassed or ashamed during these learning experiences, as the children will most likely begin to believe our genitals are something to be ashamed of and kept a secret.  This is the last thing we want!  Teach them to be proud of the body they have and who they are!  While teaching them to appreciate their bodies and sex organs, you could also use this opportunity to teach them about boundaries (keep in mind, on an age-appropriate level) and what is acceptable and not acceptable in terms of their behavior as well as the behavior of others.  While perusing various lesson plans on teaching preschoolers the names and locations of body parts, I was disappointed but in no way surprised when sex organs didn’t make the cut.  “Pin the Body Parts on Johnny or Susie” could be all the more beneficial for children if it included ALL of our body parts! 

Books can be very helpful when talking to children about body parts, puberty, pregnancy, etc.  It’s So Amazing! by Robie Harris and Michael Emberley is one of my personal favorites.  Perfect for preschoolers, this book discusses body parts, sex and love, and pregnancy and childbirth.  My favorite parts of the book:  the drawings sure to fascinate children, the fact that the authors discuss all different types of love (i.e. love for pets, parents, friends), and the way in which homosexual relationships are placed on a level playing field with heterosexual relationships.  SCORE!!!  It’s Not the Stork! is another straightforward, picture-filled book for preschoolers written by the same authors.  I love that this book explains that all different types of families and parents exist, not just man-woman-children.  This way, children will learn to appreciate ALL kinds of families they or someone else may belong to…teaching love and acceptance can never occur at too young of an age!


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Values of a Sex Educator vs. Values of Their Job

I currently work in a college health setting.  I am able to meet and interact with other sex educators in the field at conferences, in class, through advocacy events, at workshops and trainings, etc.  Obviously, we come from a myriad of backgrounds and paths to becoming sex educators, and we work in a variety of different environments, structures, organizations, etc.  The methods in which we are able to (and ALLOWED to) provide education to our audiences are all different, the content of that education is potentially regulated, and the resources we are allowed to provide are oftentimes limited.  I will say that I am VERY lucky to be at an institution that really has yet to regulate any of the education I provide.  But in talking with colleagues I know that often is not the case.  Because sexuality is such a value-laden topic, morals and values of one’s organization, employer, audience, co-workers, etc., all have the potential to impact his or her work.  Some sex educators I know are not allowed to discuss abortion.  Some cannot hand out condoms.  Some aren’t allowed to use sex toys when educating… I’m sure you’ve all heard these anecdotes before. 
One notable story of an educator’s “questionable” methods has been in the news recently.  If you’re not familiar, a Northwestern University professor held a optional session for his Human Sexuality class during which a guest speaker was brought to orgasm by her fiance using a sex toy.  Not the most traditional teaching method, and it has not surprisingly caught some backlash.  But the intention was to educate students.  A spokesman for the University has said, "Northwestern University faculty members engage in teaching and research on a wide variety of topics, some of them controversial and some of at the leading edge of their respective disciplines... The University supports the efforts of its faculty to further the advancement of knowledge” (“Northwestern Uni defends sex-toy demonstration”, Associated Press, March 3, 2011)
While I haven’t had any live sex demonstrations during my educatioal sessions (yet?), I already mentioned that I have yet to be restricted from doing something that I believe to be educational and beneficial to my students.  That being said, I am nervous that I will not always be in such a lucky situation, and find myself feeling anxious and almost suffocated thinking about, for example, not being able to pass out condoms to my students.  As simple as that may sound, I feel like I would really struggle with it!  While I understand that condoms may not be within a person’s or organization’s or institution’s value systems… what about my values?  As an educator, I feel as though something like that would be directly conflicting with my values.  But I also know that some of us do it… and do it REALLY WELL!  So I want to learn from you!  Do you have any of these conflicted feelings?  Is it easier than I am anticipating to quiet them?  Or not?  Does it make you angry?  Frustrated?  If so, how do you deal with those feelings both personally or within your work?  AM I JUST BEING NAIVE?  Or dramatic? Ahhh!


What about Bacterial Vaginosis?

Open any sexuality education curriculum and you will see a guideline for teaching about the usual suspects such as: HPV, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Syphilis, or HIV, but how about Bacterial Vaginosis? Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common vaginal infection in women of childbearing age.  BV is associated with an imbalance in the bacteria that are normally found in a woman’s vagina. Currently, it is unclear what role sexual activity plays in the development of BV, but what we do know is that BV is prevalent.  According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there were 21.2 million reported cases of BV between 1999-2004 (Koumans et al., 2007).

This is how the other conditions mentioned above measure up according to the CDC Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2009:

HPV: about 20 million cases currently, 6 million new cases each year
Gonorrhea: 301, 174 cases in 2009
Chlamydia: 1,244,180 cases in 2009
Syphilis: 13,997 cases in 2009
HIV: about  1,000,000 current cases,  56,000 new cases each year

For the most part, untreated bacterial vaginosis doesn’t cause future serious complications in the manner of HIV, syphilis, or HPV. This could be why little emphasis is put on teaching about the infection. However, the condition certainly causes a lot of shame amongst young women and for that reason, educators should take note.

The most common symptom of bacterial vaginosis is a foul, fish-like odor from the vagina. Think about the implications that could have on an impressionable young woman who has little information about her body or access to that information. This young woman may not even be sexually active. She could have gotten the infection from using a new soap around her vagina, wearing too tight non-cotton underwear, or she could have a genetic pre-disposition to getting BV.  

On the other hand, maybe she is sexually active. Maybe this young woman thinks that the infection is a result of not washing her vagina well enough, so she douches, uses perfumes and further irritates the matter, but doesn’t realize that (for the most part) her infection can only be treated by a prescription antibiotic. So this young woman continues to have sex, and maybe her similarly uneducated partners take note of her foul scent and talk to their friends about it in school and they talk to another person and before you know it, this young woman has a reputation for being ‘dirty’, ‘smelly’, and/ or ‘diseased’.

How could an educator change this potential situation?
Add BV to your repertoire. Throw it in with the other sexually transmitted infections and related conditions that you typically teach about. Put an end to the myth that women’s vaginas smell bad and educate young people about irregular odors. While doing so, be sure to mention that not all infections are related to sexual activity. If you do that, it will just perpetuate the myth that a smelly vagina is synonymous with those who have multiple partners. 

In conclusion, my suggestion is to get to know BV and tell all your friends and students about it too.

Koumans EH, Sternberg M, Bruce C, McQuillan G, Kendrick J, Sutton M, Markowitz LE. The prevalence of bacterial vaginosis in the United States, 2001-2004; associations with symptoms, sexual behaviors, and reproductive healthExternal Web Site Icon. 
Sex Transm Dis. 2007 Nov;34(11):864-9

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2009. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2010 CDC. HIV Prevalence Estimates—United States, 2006. MMWR 2009;57(39):1073-76.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sex Education: "You Better Work!"

While watching RuPaul’s drag race this week, I decided that this would make a unique perspective and metaphor on effective sex education.  Who is RuPaul?  RuPaul is an iconic drag queen that has been in the business for the last twenty-five years, but truly gained her fame in the 1990’s.  Currently, RuPaul has her own reality television show in which men compete to be the top drag queen superstar.  How is sex education like doing good drag?  Sashay this way and I’ll show you…


Drag 101:

  • Fierce Make-up!  "Let’s go COVERGIRL!" When it comes to drag, I think about foundation, all the layers of make-up, and blending that go into putting on a fierce face for the stage.  An effective sex educator is also expected to put on a fierce face or presentation by developing successful lesson plans, scaffolding, and paying attention to detail.  A drag queen spends hours putting on make-up for a performance that may only last minutes.  In order to do effective education, sex educators can also benefit from spending two to three times the amount in advance, developing the presentation and lesson planning .  Layering make-up, like scaffolding, is a useful tool for educators seeking to employee the experiential learning cycle to provide learners the opportunity to process new concepts.  Scaffolding is useful for experiential learning, which is appropriate for all ages of learners, and can be an excellent tool to have in your educational make-up bag.  Drag queens know they have to get every line and every shade right; sex educators should have their lesson plans fined tuned and be prepared for every possible answer, interaction, and problem that could develop within their class in order to be a successful.  Good sex education, like good make-up, should always look flawless and effortless.
  • The Tuck! "Oh girl, leave your baggage at home, ain’t nobody wanna see that!"  A drag queen knows how to hide their man parts to create the illusion of a woman, just like a sex educator must hide their baggage or biases to present appropriate lessons.  It is important as sex educators that we manage our feelings and opinions about certain sexuality topics and present them in a manner that allows individuals to form their own thoughts, based on accurate or researched information.  Sometimes disclosure can be helpful, but it is the responsibility of the educator to plan what personal facts are necessary to share to create relevant examples and which might take away from students learning.  Also sex educators need to embrace a positive attitude and check their problems at the door as a means of keeping students engaged or motivated to learn about the topic instead of wondering what the educator’s dilemma is.  Ultimately, personal baggage is like a good tuck, it should be kept secure and hidden.
  • Diva Dressing "She looks like a hott mess!" You do not want to be caught dead with the wrong drag look.  Drag queens must look sharp and well dressed at all times or they will get served/upstaged by another queen.  A good sex educator must appear knowledgeable and experienced or they too will be upstaged and ignored.  Students want their teachers to be knowledgeable when it comes to sexuality education and so do fellow educators.  Far too often sex education is done on the fly, sometimes there is no planning time for lessons or folks attempt to just wing it.  It is very important for an educator to review concepts and fully comprehend the material that they are presenting.  A true diva brings an element of confidence and an understanding of their craft; sex education should be no different.  A sexuality educator should know the material backwards and forwards, don’t fake it until you make it, but rather bring your A game to the stage.  In other words, be fully prepared, present, and precise when discussing sexuality topics; it looks poor when you cannot accurately deliver the concepts of the lesson, and of course like choosing the wrong dress, you will be judged for it!
  • Finding the right wig!  "Tap your weave girl!"  The final phase of prepping for a drag queen is coming up with the perfect wig and placing it on their heads.  For an educator the end stage is the evaluation, does the lesson match the goals and objectives.  Is there a clear take home message?  Is my wig going to stay in tact for my performance?  A sexuality educator must select accomplishable goals and establish objectives that can measure if students are learning.  The sexuality lesson should be delivered with a specific tone, preferably sex positive, and the take home message should be clear.  A drag queen’s wig is the finishing touch, it can offer personality and display exactly what kind of character or art form the queen is attempting to portray.  The sexuality educator should follow suit and be certain that the lesson clarifies any points of confusion, accomplishes the goal, and has a stable tone, not an ambiguous one.  Selecting an appropriate take home message and establishing the right tone for a sexuality lesson is much like finding the most attractive or best fitting wig for your stage performance. 

     Once all the drag queen preparation is completed the next step is to perform just as an educator then must teach.  Doing good drag and good education are quite similar because most of the work is accomplished behind the scenes, prior to performing or actually teaching in front of an audience.  Drag queens have to assemble their face and outfits as well as deciding on what mode of entertainment they will bring to the main stage.  A drag queen has to practice her jokes, songs, and choreography, depending on what type of performance is best suited for the crowd, or in the case of an educator, the target population.  A sexuality educator also must spend time delivering or practicing their lesson in advance, testing out which methodology will be most appropriate for teaching, and adapting the material to fit the particular audience it is intended for.

      A drag queen must have confidence, charisma, and a sense of humor to perform, much like an educator. According to Hedgepath and Helmich (1996), sexuality educators should be confident, comfortable and knowledgeable about the topic and present with an appropriate level of humor.  A drag queen is capable of commanding the attention of the audience and an effective educator should be just as captivating.  The performance or lesson is the most exciting part of education, but the real work is done beforehand to ensure a fantastic performance.  Each drag queen has her own sense of style and finesse, much like a good educator does too, but the development of the performance is the quintessential part of being a successful educator. 

     At the end of the day education should be fun and entertaining if we want students to ascertain meaning attribution from the lesson.  As sex educators we have to follow our bliss and pursue sexuality education topics that possess meaning for us.  According to Kirby (2000), an effective sex educator has the passion for teaching about sexuality topics.  Educators who speak with a positive tone about sexuality can guide the lesson so much farther.  Bringing sex education to the main stage can often be seen as a battle between the restrictive (abstinence-only until marriage), and the permissive (comprehensive sexuality education) (Goldfarb & McCaffree, 2000).  Sexuality educators can benefit from more collaboration and less opposition. 

      If too many divas exist in sex education and if we cannot visualize ourselves as equals then we falter.  According to Schroeder (2009), competition in sexuality education is debilitating and it would be more beneficial to compromise on one goal, to advance the field.  A great drag diva can own the stage, but she also comprehends that her peers can represent and deliver a stellar performance as well to assist the art of drag superstardom on its journey forward.  Sexuality educators may be entitled to sense of ego, but if we cannot share the stage or convince people that there is a stage for sexuality education, then we may fail.  In short, providing good sex education means, “you better work!”



Goldfarb, E. S., & McCaffree, K. (2000). Toward a more effective pedagogy
     for sexuality education: The establishment of democratic classrooms.
     Journal of Sex Education & Therapy, 25(2/3), 147-155. Retrieved from

Hedgepeth, E., & Helmich, J. (1996). Teaching about sexuality and HIV.
     New York, NY: NYU Press.

Kirby, D. (2000). What does the research say about sexuality education?
     Educational leadership, 50(2), 72-76.

Schroeder, E. (2009). The future of sexuality education in the twenty-first
      century and beyond. In E. Schroeder, & J. Kuriansky, (Eds.), Sexuality
      education: Past, present, and future, 255-265. Westport, CT: Praeger.