Sex Education in Schools
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How a German Elementary School Taught Sex Ed [Graphic]

How a German Elementary School Taught Sex Ed [Graphic] | Sex Education in Schools | Scoop.it
Children's book images, NSFW? NSFGFG (German First-Graders)?
Amanda Kronenberger's insight:

Also refers to the article : 

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/berlin-first-graders-get-explicit-sex-education-book-a-896447.html

 

      The article form theatlantic.com highlights the difference between sex educations in America, as opposed to other countries around the globe. One high school biology teacher is under investigation for using the word, “vagina,” in his class, in addition to explaining to students the science behind an orgasm. However, in a first grade class in Germany, students are being taught about sex in a lot more detail then ever imagined to us in the US. “Meanwhile on a completely difference plane in Germany, parents are "irate," according to the international news site Spiegel, after a Berlin elementary school used a book containing illustrations of condoms and descriptions of orgasms for a very frank discussion about sex.” This article brought me to the sight that addressed the issue in Berlin Germany.

            Both that article and  the German sight, Spiegel.de… shows some of the pictures features in this book, Where do I come from?, which is recommended for children ages 5 an up. To me, these are highly inappropriate and way too graphic for such young children. This was showed to 5th graders in Berlin, Germany. “The book…shows a couple, Lisa and Lars, in various stages of arousal. In one illustration, Lisa puts a condom on Lars' erect penis. Another shows them having intercourse. The text also veers toward the explicit.” In goes on to add, "When it's so good that it can't get any better, Lisa and Lars have an orgasm," it reads. And, finally: "The vagina and penis feel nice and tingly and warm." (keep in mind, FIRST graders are being taught this) The parents of the students agree and made complaints to the school. However, nothing was done until it got to the press and was reported to the Berlin Senate. The response was the following:

“Now several conservative politicians have commented on the incident. Monika Grütters, a representative in Germany's parliament, the Bundestag, for Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), told German daily newspaper Die Welt that when it comes to sex education, she would warn against "unnecessary zeal." Dorothee Bär of the Christian Social Union, the CDU's Bavarian sister party, told Die Welt that: "Sex education should accompany the development of children, but not speed it up."

     I very much agree with Dorothee that this would speed up the child development because there is no reason such explicit content should be shown to first graders. Personally, I think this book should not be show until high school.

      Looking back to the article from theatlantic.com, it is clear how different sex education is between the US and other countries when a study in 2012 asking children in the U.S., the Netherlands, England and Sweden to draw pictures explaining where babies come from. A Dutch boy drew a picture that was very detailed for a child, which cam be seen in the article. However, the American children gave far different reactions and had really not much idea where babies come from. One U.S. boy said, "I think [babies] are made by a mom and a dad, but I am not sure how; maybe during special time when they are alone." While I think this is an age appropriate response, I was a little surprised read the results of the study. “The study's authors concluded that it is possible for kids that young to understand the concepts of conception and birth, and argued that "In these countries [like the Netherlands and Sweden] with more open attitudes toward sexuality and greater recognition of the need to educate young people, there are higher rates of contraceptive use by both male and female teens and lower rates of teen pregnancy, birth, and abortion."”

      This makes me think that although we should not go as far as introducing racy books, are we not doing enough? My reactions in previous articles were that children in elementary schools should not learn about conception at all. However, if it can lead to differences such as the ones stated in the results, should we second guess the way we are teaching students in the US?

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Shranna's curator insight, January 21, 2014 8:29 PM

I find it interesting to see how different countries approach sex education in different angles. I think  from my personal cultural background this comic is very revealing. I don't think it is neccessary wrong to show this as graphically as it did but it should be a little censored depending on the audience. 

I agree that we need to aware kids with sex education but the amount of information presented should be considered. 

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Disney teaching wrong messages

Disney teaching wrong messages | Sex Education in Schools | Scoop.it
Amanda Kronenberger's insight:

We know all know this Disney movie and have probably watched in numerous times. I would be lying if I saw it was not one of my favorites, however, this movie can send very bad messages to young children, especially girls. Disney movies were used when I was younger on certain days as a reward. For example, the class would be able to watch a movie during our holiday party and there was a vote. While this movie is more appealing to girls, I know that I have watched it in the classroom as a young child, as well as many other Disney movies. What some teachers do not realize is that this movie, especially, teaches girls that in order to be successful, they must be beautiful. Also, their main goal in life is that they should find a husband and get married. 

            The Little Mermaid is about a teenage mermaid, Ariel, who dreams of being a human and walking on the land so she can be with the love of her live, Prince Eric. She meets an evil sea witch, named Ursula, who grants her this wish, in return for her beautiful voice. Ariel has to make the Prince Eric fall in love with her with no ability to speak. In the song, “Poor Unfortunate Souls,” sung be Ursula, the message of the story is seen as clear as day.  Here is a segment of the song-

 

“The men up there don't like a lot of blabber

They think a girl who gossips is a bore

Yes, on land it's much preferred

For ladies not to say a word

And after all, dear, what is idle prattle for?

Come on, they're not all that impressed with conversation

True gentlemen avoid it when they can

But they dote and swoon and fawn

On a lady who's withdrawn

It's she who holds her tongue who gets her man

Come on, you poor unfortunate soul”

 

Reading this at this at the age I am now makes me angry. I remember singing along with this song as a young girl.  Basically, the song is telling girls that men do not care what they have to say. As long as you are nice to look at, they will love you. When Ariel protests asking Ursula what she will do without her voice, Ursala says, “You'll have your looks! Your pretty face! And don't underestimate the importance of body language! Ha!” Breaking down this song explains what the entire movie is about. Additionally, the entire movie is about how Ariel must make Prince Eric fall in love with her. That is seen as the most important thing in the young girls life. Do we want young girls thinking with this mentality? No, we want them to strive to be successful. It also is telling boys that a “true gentlemen” does not care what a woman has to say. Therefore, it sends the wrong message to boys as well. Throughout the movie, once Ariel loses her voice, she comes off as very unintelligent. While this movie is not part of any type of curriculum in schools, it is important for teachers to understand how harmful it can be. While it is easy to just pop in this movie on a lax day, they should think twice. However, if they do use it, it can be very beneficial when addressing gender roles. Complicating this movie for students will teach them how to not listen to the messages this movie presents. 

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Shranna's curator insight, January 21, 2014 11:15 PM

I find it interesting researching on sex education and reading about the opinions of others. Reading a post by 'Amanda Kronenberger' I believe from earlier stages we differeriente sex where the roles of a girl and boy are different. We paint a picture where a girl is a certain way and a boy has to be the opposite. I think she made a great point including how beauty is a great factor when it comes to woman and this clip reflects it. 

Ariel, who is beautiful and gifted with a beautiful voice gives up her passion(singing) to become human and goes on a journey to find her prince charming. Here, I see the difference between two gender roles. 

I am aware that this movie is now outdated but looking back on the movie I grew up with, it allows me to be more aware of the differences among gender and gender roles that was shown amongst kids. 

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Puberty Is Coming Earlier, But That Doesn't Mean Sex Ed Is

Puberty Is Coming Earlier, But That Doesn't Mean Sex Ed Is | Sex Education in Schools | Scoop.it
Scientists are still trying to understand why more children are reaching puberty earlier than previous generations.
Amanda Kronenberger's insight:

“But regardless of cause, more and more kids are already well into puberty by the time sex education begins in school.”

 

            This article discussed how sex education should be started earlier in schools because students go through puberty at all different ages and are not given the information they need to deal these changes. While some parents may be open with their children in talking about these things, others may not, and students need to learn these things somehow. In the San Francisco Bay Area, an educational play is shown in many schools called, “The Nightmare on Puberty Street.” The main character raps about how her body is changing, and how her classmates make fun of her for it, even though it is out of her control. The play is great, and schools are asking for it at earlier and earlier ages. “In many area schools, Nightmare on Puberty Street is staged starting in the sixth grade, but the organization that produces the play, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, is getting requests to bring the play to audiences as young as those in fifth grade.” By the time sex education begins in most schools, kids are already well into puberty. For me, I remember having a discussion with our teachers in 5th grade about menstruation. The boys and girls separated, with teachers of our own genders, and were given a brief overview. Girls learned about wearing deodorant, wearing bras and other related issues. Classes weren’t actually offered until Middle School (~7th Grade) For me, this was never an issue, but it was for other students.

            Rachel, who is 15 now, recalls going through puberty staring at age 8, when she began to notice her breasts were growing. She had no idea what they were or why they were there, and didn’t notice that she looked different than other kids when playing dress up until looking back on pictures.  "Fairy princess clothes tend to be kind of not well-made and revealing and stuff like that, so I was playing dress up even though I'd already started developing," she says. "So there are some pictures of me in dress-up clothes that are revealing or too tight in some areas." Rachel also stood out among her classmates.

“Some girls show signs of puberty even younger than Rachael did like Jaidyn, who was 6 when she got underarm hair and started wearing deodorant, "and about 9 when I started wearing a bra," she says. But by fourth grade, Jaidyn still hadn't received any puberty education at school which left the conversation to her mom, Marella.”  As you can see, the article shows that all girls are different. Some girls may not be so lucky to have a mother, or a mother who is willing to explain these things to their daughter. This is why sex education should start being offered in schools at a much earlier age.

Dr. Louise Greenspan, a pediatric endocrinologist, encourages that education in schools begin earlier than in 5th grade in schools. She thinks this is way too late and feels she is on a mission to have everyone understand this. She does not think students should be learning about sex, but rather changes going on in their bodies. Also, that being physically mature does not mean they are ready for adult relationships. Kids are “growing up” way before they begin talking about these things in school. If they are not going to their parents, or their parents are not addressing these things with them, they have no way of understanding this.

 

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Shranna's curator insight, January 20, 2014 2:17 PM

How early is it to discuss uncomfortable topics such as sex? This article is stating that sex education should be introduced as early as possible in grade school and some recommend teaching it in Kindergarden. In my opinion, I agree that puberty is coming early and it should be a subject that should be taught. I strongly believe parents and guardians should be more involved in order for early generations to be more informed of their body changes and conducting safe sex. I think this topic should not be introduced in elementary school but should be a topic with the consent of the parents/ guardians to be introduced as an extracurricular activity.  I say this because all kids develop and mature at a different level that allowing a child to be a 'child' as long as they can is what I believe in. 

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Have At It: Should sex ed be taught in elementary schools?

Have At It: Should sex ed be taught in elementary schools? | Sex Education in Schools | Scoop.it
Amanda Kronenberger's insight:

I agree with sex education in elementary schools, but there is definitely a line that could be crossed. Chicago’s approach was teaching younger grades about, They will be covering things like “my body,” “good touch vs. bad touch,” and “living things that reproduce,” according to the article from thinkprogress.org. The students will not learn about human reproduction until middles school. However, this articles says that students in Oak Creek School district in Wisconsin will learn about masturbation in elementary school. To me, this is crossing that line. There is no reason why such young students need to be introduced to this at such a young age. It does not teach them anything they need to know so early in life, unlike what the Board of Ed in Chicago is teaching. “The Oak Creek School District developed a booklet for parents of elementary students to help them “understand how staff and outside resource people will handle these sensitive topics.”” They are right when they said sensitive topics. How will an elementary school child even understand what they are talking about? These children are only around 10 years old. This booklet also covers, sexual intercourse, sexual orientation, abortion and contraceptives. (Whoa.) While I learned from young children like Jazzy and Keat, sexual orientation is something addressed at earlier ages. Jazzy and Keat both realized they were born the wrong sex at an early age and decided to change to the other. I think if they are able to do that, students should be able to learn about it. This will also help other students understand Jazzy and Keat. They might be misinformed at home about transgender people, but if taught in school, they might be more open and this could prevent bullying. I think if introduced properly, this is acceptable. But the other topics? I do not think elementary students need to cover these by any means. The school district is supposed to send out newsletters telling parents what will be addressed in upcoming sex education class so that they are able to opt out, but that rarely happens, according to one parent.

            According to this article, “Burmeister said the language in the booklet doesn’t mean masturbation will be discussed with or taught to students of any grade level. Staff can decide whether they should answer a child’s questions on masturbation and other sensitive topics.”” Personally, I think that these are more mature topics and they should not be introduced until middle school.

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As Chicago Kids Head Back To School, Conservatives Freak Out About ‘Kindergarten Sex Ed’

As Chicago Kids Head Back To School, Conservatives Freak Out About ‘Kindergarten Sex Ed’ | Sex Education in Schools | Scoop.it
This year, Chicago will become the largest urban school district to mandate comprehensive sex ed requirements at every grade level. Conservatives aren't exactly pleased.
Amanda Kronenberger's insight:

Chicago will be the largest urban school district to implement a required minimum of sex ed education in all grade levels. Students will receive the proper education for their specific grade in regards to wellness, anatomy, puberty and sexual health. When Chicago’s Department of Education fist introduces this, some people feared it would shatter some elementary student’s innocence. Since, this, maybe journalists have been publishing articles about Chicago offering sex education to kindergarteners, even saying that Obama approves of this as well because of a statement he made in 2007. He said he was in support of, “medically accurate, age-appropriate, and responsible sex education.” This is back when Obama was still a senator. Many people are calling this a scandal. However, to me, I feel like they do not understand all of the details. Nobody is claiming that kindergarteners should be learning inappropriate information about sex because we can all agree that they are too young for that. However, teachers will be designing lesson plans to teach them about their anatomy, healthy relationships and personal safety. They will be covering things like “my body,” “good touch vs. bad touch,” and “living things that reproduce.” The article says, “By fourth grade, kids will start learning about the “physical, social, and emotional aspects of puberty.” Students won’t receive information about human reproduction and contraception until middle school.”

To me, this seems totally appropriate. Some students do not realize at early ages that they are being inappropriate. I remember when I was young and boys would go around flashing people. I do not think they really know what they were doing and why it was wrong, so lessons like this can help them understand.

            The reason for Chicago’s new plans is that over half of Chicago teens are sexually active and they STD rates are very high. I think that if students start learning about these things at an early age, it makes it easier to address the more pressing issues once they are in middle school because they already have a background understanding. As spoken about in the GBP News article, some parents are not willing to speak to their children about such things. This is why it is imperative that schools do it. The article says, Pediatricians and psychologists encourage anatomy classes for young children, particularly so kids can learn the correct words for their genitalia, as an important way of teaching bodily autonomy and helping to prevent sexual crimes.” I have been thinking about sexual crimes and have seen that not any articles have been addressing this. In today’s world we unfortunately have people who take advantage of children. We hear about it far too often. I wonder how children will know it is wrong if someone is taking advantage of them. With education in schools, they will hopefully learn about things like private spaces and will be encouraged to seek help if someone is being inappropriate with them. 

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and tango makes three by justin richardson/peter parnell

and tango makes three by justin richardson/peter parnell | Sex Education in Schools | Scoop.it
Amanda Kronenberger's insight:

     And Tango Makes Three is a GREAT book in my opinion. This children’s picture book is for grades K-2 and introduces the topic of homosexuality. Based on a true story, the story is about two penguins, Roy and Silo, at the Central Park Zoo who are different from the others. Most male penguins find a female penguin to be their spouse, however, Roy and Silo are in love with each other. In addition, the other penguin couples are able to have children together, boy Roy and Silo cannot do this, which makes them feel sad and incomplete. So, with the help of the zookeeper, they obtain and egg, take turns sitting on it, and are able to have child of their own, Tango. The book shows children that Tango has a family just as loving as any others, except he has two Dads. I think this is a very important message to teach in the classroom and this book is perfect for the younger ages. Based around animals, it is simple enough for children to understand and does not complicate the topic, but just explains the family as if it were like any other. This is especially important because schools are very diverse, and a child with a similar family structure will be able to relate to this book. Some of the student’s care givers may have a problem with this type of book being in the classroom because they may not agree with this type of family, however, you have to inform parents that this is a reality for some students in the class and if there are books that show a “normal” family structure (which most think is that with a male and female parent) like their own, then there also have to be books to relate to students who have two parents of the same sex.

            This article relates to the GBP News article where Dr. Louise Greenspan, a pediatric endocrinologist, who encourages that education in schools begin earlier than in 5th grade in schools. Starting this topic in as early as kindergarten opens student’s minds up to what they are seeing in the world around them. Without a book like this, students who come from a family with a Mom and a Dad and haven’t been introduced to same sex couples will think its weird. Some parents do not know how to address this with their children, and will just ignore it, which is why it should be taught in schools. I think it is important to give children the idea as early as possible the notion that it is not weird so that our future society will be a lot more accepting than the one we. live in today

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