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Critical Pedagogy, Sexuality Education and Young People

Issues about Democracy and Active Citizenry


Edited By Fida Sanjakdar and Andrew Kam-Tuck Yip

Critical Pedagogy, Sexuality Education and Young People presents cutting-edge empirical and theoretical research on the role of critical pedagogy in transforming sexuality education. Featuring the work of scholars from around the globe, including the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Finland, this unique collection of work expands the meaning of pedagogy in the field of sexuality education by augmenting young people’s voices and agency, and by emphasizing a democratic and civic focus. This volume identifies and interrogates theoretical frameworks based on critical theory and critical pedagogical discourses, cross-cultural studies and critical literacy to offer new ways to conceptualize critical pedagogy in sexuality education. Many of the practical classroom applications presented will engage educators and classroom teachers in the areas of curriculum design, classroom pedagogies and institutional reform. They can also be applied to the formulation and implementation of more effective policies for sexuality education involving schools, community groups and students. The chapters in this volume interrogate texts, institutions, social relations and ideologies impacting contemporary sexuality education policies and pedagogical practices, prompting a consideration of alternative models of sexuality education for today’s globalized age.

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5. Sites of Good Practice: How Do Education, Health and Youth Work Spaces Shape Sex Education? (Pam Alldred)


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5. Sites of Good Practice: How Do Education, Health and Youth Work Spaces Shape Sex Education?



The tensions between sex education as approached by health and by education services in the UK were analysed by Rachel Thomson back in 1994 and the implications of these alternative approaches examined by Daniel Monk (2000). Thomson (1994) showed how schools were expected to deliver health outcomes through sex education from the 1960s onwards, and described the tension between social authoritarianism and public health pragmatism in the development of sex education in the UK. Where health approaches dominated, the aims of sex education were defined in terms of limiting unplanned pregnancy and the spread of Sexually Transmitted Illness (STIs). Where moral discourses dominated, sex education was formulated in terms of concerns about the legitimacy of adolescent sexual activity or concerns over sexual exploitation (Thomson, 1994). These differences are still evident in the accounts of practitioners today.

In earlier work I have criticised the UK’s 2000 Sex and Relationships Education Guidance for marginalising young people within sexualities education policy and instead addressing parents as the consumers of education, whose values schools should endeavour to reflect (Alldred and David 2007). The 1986 Education Act had devolved control of sex education to school governing bodies creating the requirement to consult with parents, and that it “be taught ← 83 | 84 → within a moral framework” (Thomson, 1994, p. 48). Furthermore, whilst...

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