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Sexuality and relationships training for WA teachers

[Posted: 15 August 2014]

A new program being offered through Curtin University will provide Western Australian (WA) practicing teachers and student teachers with specialised sexuality and relationships education, highlighting modern issues such as ‘sexting’ and bullying.

The Sexuality and Relationships Education (SRE) program is the first of its kind in WA and will cover topics such as communication in relationships, social media, sexting, self-esteem, gender diversity, bullying and resilience, as well as teen pregnancies and safe sex.

The course will better prepare teachers for real-life discussions with students and parents and equip them with a range of innovative and interactive teaching strategies to address community concerns.

Associate Professor Sharyn Burns from the Department of Health Promotion and Sexology in Curtin’s School of Public Health said there were currently no minimum standards set for practicing or student teachers to receive specific training in sexuality and relationships education.

“The SRE program will focus on developing skills and enabling teachers –and student teachers– to provide innovative and relevant relationships and sexuality education. Face-to-face professional learning opportunities and real-life scenarios will help to increase their confidence and strengthen their skills in teaching SRE,” Associate Professor Burns said.

“Most practicing teachers have received limited training in this area and the SRE program recognises that human sexuality education is much more than just discussions about puberty, pregnancy and safe sex.”

The first two-day course for practicing teachers will be held in September and will draw on the expertise of numerous Curtin academics, and other experts in the areas of health promotion, sexology and education. The program will be available to all teachers from public and private schools in WA.

Teachers will be introduced to the Western Australian Department of Health’s Growing & Development Relationships program which will provide interactive and practical strategies they could use in the classroom when teaching SRE.

The SRE unit is currently being offered for the first time through the School of Education at Curtin University.
Cross institutional enrolments are also available.

The program is funded by WA Health’s, Communicable Disease Control Directorate.