Exploring the construction of young people's sexuality within sex and relationship education.

ABBOTT, Keeley A. (2012). Exploring the construction of young people's sexuality within sex and relationship education. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

In light of a large body of literature highlighting its limitations, this thesis examines how Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) is discursively constructed within and for a secondary school context (i.e. at the level of policy, educator and pupil) to reveal how the nature of SRE, and indeed, young people's SRE needs are conceptualised. A number of changes related to the provision of SRE, mainly at a policy level, served as a rationale for this research. Firstly, a textual analysis of draft SRE guidance was utilised to examine how SRE is formulated and negotiated at a socio-political level, through SRE policy making (chapter 4). This highlights a number of problems that curtail the development of SRE and its ability to meet young people's needs, which are evident in the way it is driven by political and social concerns and serves key interest groups (religious groups, school governors and parents). This chapter provides the socio-political backdrop through which subsequent analyses of how SRE is constructed within the school context could be examined. Chapter 5 moved on to examine the way SRE is constructed at the level of the individual SRE teacher. This analysis documents the considerable variability in the nature of provision accounted for by SRE teachers.Their accounts reflect different concerns around what SRE should include, which were in turn based on their understanding of young people's SRE needs and was driven by political discourse. As such, provision is predominantly problem focused (as characterised by a discourse of danger), heteronormative and gendered. Chapter 6 extends the focus on teachers' accounts of their provision; with particular emphasis on the way they negotiated SRE as a 'controversial' subject. Despite strong (positive) rhetoric around provision, their accounts inadvertently highlight SRE as a site of struggle, where issues inherent to SRE are considered problematic. The level of struggle was also evident when accounting for decisions at a policy making level and when negotiating with dominant stakeholders. The final analysis chapter examines how young people experience their SRE, along with the messages they receive within their individual programmes. It highlights differences between the types of evaluations pupils made according to the specific programmes in which they are located, and more specifically, according to the type of discourses mobilised within that provision. The accounts of pupils located with problem-focused approaches revealed a disjunction between the types of discourses they mobilise around sex and relationships and those presented within SRE provision. This also appeared to affect and limit their conceptualisations of SRE. Implications of these discrepancies are discussed in chapter 8, with particular focus on the discursive barriers that exist in teachers' accounts, which work to curtail the development of a more comprehensive and inclusive provision.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Thesis (Ph.D.)--Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom), 2013.
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2018 17:18
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2018 11:46
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/19183

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