Monday, February 25, 2013

Bore me: Teaching through something other than lecture

Imagine this, you are attending a presentation on sexuality, and you see on the agenda that it is a 4 hour lecture only presentation.  Yawn…. followed by stretching.  Who doesn’t tune out once or twice over a marathon lecture?  Even an interesting and intriguing subject such as sexuality can allow your imagination to run away with you after some time.  It can be a challenge to convey messages about sexuality for a number of reasons.  Thankfully, there are alternatives and given that there are, it is unnecessary to reinvent the wheel—this is where media can be employed in education.  This concept, using digital media, has been discussed over and over with multiple sources.  Teaching Sexual Health, a program based in Canada, warns that “it is important to find the right media and to use it effectively to ensure student learning is optimized” (, Digital Media, retrieved Feb. 6, 2013).

Adult learning theory (Knowles, Holton, & Swanson, 2005) suggests that sometimes the best way to teach is through others who have already learned and/or mastered the matter at hand, such as peers.  Combining the use of digital media, peer education is at our finger tips due to the age of information.  For example, when teaching parents how to tend to a lesbian, gay, or bisexual parent who has just came out, hearing from another parent who has been through the emotional process can ameliorate this situation.  “Lead with Love” is a film posted online which does exactly this and can be at or  Effective and accurate digital media is an option to break up lecture and add emotion back into the learning process. 

Simple exercises can always follow lecture or digital media.  A quick and popular exercise which is useful with the example above is “Think, Pair, Share.”  In this scenario, attendees will be presented with something to think about, possibly a question or scenario, followed by encouragement to pair with someone else in the audience and then discuss that which crossed their mind.  Depending on the audience and the goal of the presentation, educators can tailor their “Think, Pair, Share” exercise to them. 

Knowles, M. S., Holton, E. F. & Swanson, R. A.  (2005).  The Adult Learner, Sixth Edition: The Definitive Classic in Adult Education and Human Resource Development.  Routledge: New York, NY.

Lead with Love. (2011). Retrieved from on Feb. 25, 2013.

Teaching Sexual Health. (n. d.).  Digital media.  Retrieved from on Feb. 6, 2013.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Reaching adult learners

               After high school and college ends, we often assume that the bulk of our learning is done. In the case of sexuality education, our knowledge generally consists of what we may have learned in health class and what our parents forgot to tell us. In adulthood, we move on to getting jobs, forming relationships and raising families. We often do this without the realization that there may be a small gap, and in some cases, a deep chasm between what we have been taught as kids and what we may want to know. Reaching the curious adult learner isn’t as easy as waiting until the next class session if they are not enrolled in college and taking an intro to human sexuality course.
                Prior to the 1970’s, sexuality education was inconsistently offered to students with no standard curriculum or information being provided. The post 1970’s expectation continues to vary between programs offered (Fisher, Herbenick, Reece, Dodge, Satinsky, & Fischtein, 2010). With so much variance in what was taught, who do you turn to when you want to learn more? Older adults have been turning to the internet for their information. They were educated during a time that sexuality was not spoken about as openly as today and with the advent and increased availability of information, using websites to responsibly educate is a viable option. This may be especially helpful in providing sexuality for older adult males since they tend to use the internet more often than older adult females (Adams, Oye & Parker, 2003).
                Using the internet as an educational tool is only as good as the websites that are searched. All information is not correct nor is it responsible information. Websites also change and are shut down almost as often as they are created.  When working with adults and using websites as resources, it is important to check for the validity of information provided.
                The internet can be used as an outlet for sexual expression, erotica, pornography, and cybersex. It can also be used to connect to educators. Another way to reach an adult population is through at-home toys parties. These can be set up through toy companies found on the web. These parties provide a safe space (your own home with your own friends) and allow the participants to ask questions related to relationships, specific skills and perceptions in addition to the toys for purchase. When discussion is aligned with the SEICUS guidelines, toy parties can provide the answers that women may not have any other outlet to receive (Fisher, et al., 2010). They also provide boatloads of fun.

Adams, M. S., Oye, J., & Parker, T. S. (2003). Sexuality of older adults and the Internet: from sex education to cybersex. Sexual & Relationship Therapy, 18(3), 405.  

Fisher, C., Herbenick, D., Reece, M., Dodge, B., Satinsky, S., & Fischtein, D. (2010). Exploring sexuality education opportunities at in-home sex-toy parties in the United States. Sex Education, 10(2), 131-144. doi:10.1080/14681811003666341

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Teaching students with special needs

            A great way to teach sexuality to students with disabilities is through technology. This would be because it is much more interactive and helps keep their attention. Children with special learning needs often have a difficult time in the classroom absorbing the material (Wilson, Brice, Carter, Fleming, Hay, Hicks, & ... Weaver, 2011). In addition to their struggle, teachers find it difficult to adapt all lesson plans to meet their needs, and with the growing classroom sizes, it's becoming an increasingly overwhelming problem.
            Using technology permits these students to use various forms of technology to view and experience the world in ways that might normally be too dangerous for them or too expensive to access. One great source for being able to view a body and being able to play with it virtually would be because of the interactive attribute of the cite (, 2013). You are able to scroll over different words and the picture will change to show what is being discussed. This would be great for some middle school and high school students since it does not only go into depth on the reproductive anatomy, but other more complicated functions as well.  The student is able to click on individual parts of the body to get a closer look and then have a description of each one.
            The descriptions are not overly detailed, so it is not to overwhelm the student that is trying to learn. The one critique I would have about the site is the advertisements. It is a bit of a distraction. So if the teacher is able to figure out how to get rid of them, it would be a perfect classroom tool for the students that need more of a solid example instead of having to think of everything in abstract.
            It should be fairly simple to come up with a lesson plan for each system, particularly the reproductive system. Students could spend the first 10 minutes of class exploring and becoming familiar with the site and how it works, and then the teacher can start instruction. This could include a virtual "treasure hunt" where the students have to follow clues and answer questions based on what is on the cite, or the teacher could keep it much more instructional and concrete for the students, depending on the severity of their learning needs.
            Many students that have disabilities are already familiar with technology and it has helped improve their daily lives (Wilson, et al., 2011). Thus, implementing technology in the classroom should not be too complicated or scare the teacher. The job of the teacher will to become very familiar with it, just as much if not more so than the students,  and to double check that the website is running properly that day.

Wilson, C. H., Brice, C., Carter, E. I., Fleming, J. C., Hay, D. D., Hicks, J. D., & ... Weaver, J. (2011). Familiar Technology Promotes Academic Success for Students with Exceptional Learning Needs. Online Submission, (2013). HowToMedia, Inc. Retrieved from

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