Language and stories are powerful instruments that can be used to change sex education and enhance teen reality. Teens deserve to be included in interesting conversations about sexuality. The vocabulary used when speaking to these young people is important in helping them cultivate positive sexual behavior. The stories about sexuality will provide the teenager with specific norms and beliefs, which will transform their rationality and help them find their identity. To prevent identity crises, sexual education services should use gender-neutral terminology to avoid stereotyping. Stereotypes of all forms, ranging from structural racism, class, and sexual orientation, tend to make teenagers resign from expressing their views and quite often suffer low self-esteem. Language and outspoken stories about sexuality affairs, for instance, reproductive health will shade more light on sexual orientation, and thus, influence an adolescent_x0092_s identity (Simon and Daneback 305; Tannen 369-371).
The language used in sex education can be used to explore different aspects of teen identity. People often make assumptions on others_x0092_ identities depending on their looks or actions. Educators are not supposed to make assumptions about the teen_x0092_s identity based on their bodies or behavior (Adichie 14). No matter what perception they have about the teenagers, teachers should assume that teenagers are aware of their identity and present information using a language that includes them throughout the conversation. Young people face stereotypes; for instance, bisexuals are always promiscuous. Such stereotypes should not be reinforced. Most teens are not comfortable with the language of assumptions (Mitchell et al. 147; Connell 39-40).
While delivering content on sex education teachers have no choice, but use an inclusive language, which includes gender neutral pronouns. When examples are provided, using gender sensitive pronouns like _x0093_they_x0094_, as opposed to _x0093_he_x0094_ or _x0093_she_x0094_, is important when speaking about a particular person. At times, the teenager might demand to use the correct pronoun, in which case the teacher can do so. To accommodate these youth in class and encourage them to share ideas, one should not mind what pronouns they choose to use. Anatomy is a very interesting topic to many and youth in particular. Hence, when discussing anatomy, teachers are supposed to avoid using gendered language, for instance, _x0093_girls_x0092_ bodies _x0093_or _x0093_boys_x0092_ bodies_x0094_, and go a transgender language that is anatomy-focused such as _x0093_persons_x0092_ or bodies of the male anatomy_x0094_. The essential point in this case is that anatomy is not equal to gender identity (Simon and Daneback 307).
In Canada and the US, studies show that most schools and colleges had no sex education programs in the early 1920s and 30s. As noted by Connell, the most notable provinces of Canada like Quebec had no instructional method when it came to sex education in high school and college levels (34). In Quebec, for instance, the drive against venereal disease differed from the one in English Canada, since Quebec is a French speaking province of Canada (Connell 35). The differences noted in terms of instructional methods adopted by other provinces like New Brunswick would get attributed to the language of instruction in schools. New Brunswick, which is an English speaking province, had elaborated sex education programs in the period 1960-1980. Also, it was observed that due to differences, various schools and colleges had to adopt the curriculum to ensure that the teens were taught on their sexuality early enough, because lack of it was proving to be disastrous (Connell 36-38).
When discussing matters of interest to the adolescents, synopses as well as discussions that recognize people of all personalities and relations are helpful to affirm all identities. By so doing, the teens_x0092_ experience and identities will be supported. Sex education should cater for marginalized gender and variations in identities by respecting pronouns and identities the teens disclose. Stereotyping must be discouraged at all costs when educating teens on their sexuality (Kar et al. 70).
Language matters a lot during sexual socialization in teens (Mitchell et al. 150). Right from their childhood, teens have exposure to nudity, privacy, and modesty. Also, they have messages on proper conduct, which are gender-specific. The way parent respond to such issues as infant masturbation, physical affection between their children, and messages regarding desirable physical contact with peers, influences sexuality of teens to a large extent. Differences between men and women arouse discussions in teenagers, who, in turn, resort to use sexual language. The parents_x0092_ responses on the language used by these adolescents always create awareness of sexuality in children. Through explicit and implicit language, which involves messages and actions, children should be taught values and desirable sexual behavior. Teens are supposed to learn religious values, which not only equate sexuality to a divine gift, but limit it to marriages (Tabatabaie 280-83). Proper language should be used when discussing health issues such as abortion, gender roles, and birth controls. Failure to address these issues in schools by teachers is likely to result in an identity crisis in teenagers. Teachers deliberately deviate from equipping the adolescent with diverse views on sexuality with refuted claims of cultural and religious values. However, reports have indicated that sexual socialization has not been contextualized in formal sex education.
Lack of sex knowledge has necessitated the adolescents to access sexual information from the internet. The teens explore information related to touching topics, which include pregnancy, menstruation, sexuality, and sexually transmitted diseases (Simon and Daneback 311). It has been observed that most adolescents do not have the confidence required to ask their parents and teachers pertinent questions regarding these topics, yet they are essential in shaping their identity. Offline resources do not provide detailed information on sexuality and relationship, which motivates teens to go online. Again, the Internet provides privacy. Unfortunately, the information accessed online serves curiosity purposes and does not positively influence the sexuality. As stated by Mitchell et al., _x0093_when youth indicated more than one of the above ways of handling the information they received, priority was given to taking action, followed by having a conversation, and finally doing nothing_x0094_ (152). Some teens opt to explore pornographic materials, which advocate for unsafe sexual practices. As a consequence, high rates of sexually transmitted diseases are reported in the adolescents. Further, due to irresponsible sexual behavior, youths have high chances of contracting HIV/AIDS.
Recent investigations indicate that parent-children communication has a positive impact on sexual behavior as well cognitive outcomes (Tabatabaie 281-82). Effective interventions, which involve joint sessions of parents and children, parental sex education, and cultural tailoring, provide opportunities, where parents can practice effective communication skills with their adolescent children. It is evident that these interventions have significantly reduced sexual risk for the adolescents. Also, health disparities in HIV and STIs have reduced, and sexual health outcomes are improving. Parents can use stories/languages to pass information related to sexuality to the teenage children. This can enhance their identity and improve their knowledge on sexuality. Stories touching on sexuality matters will help to avoid unfavorable consequences resulting from lack of sex education like early pregnancies and HIV/AIDS
Sexual health education can combat health together with social disparities, which tend to undermine the teenage identity, as remarked by psychologists and educators. For instance, the tendency of sex educators to focus on abstinence-only education gives the teens only a single method of preventing sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. The exclusion of any form of instruction on other safer sexual activity means implies that the system cannot be relied on (Rubenstein 526). Comprehensive sex education seeks to eliminate the adverse effects of premarital sexual activity by using language to teach teens on the importance of practicing patience or engage in safer sexual activities. Also, it seeks to promote understanding of sexuality and reproductive health among teens. In the US, comprehensive sex education is recommended in all the states, with a few of them opting for the abstinence-only education. However, as Rubenstein indicates, _x0093_the federal government provides funding for abstinence-only educational programs; if states accept these funds, sex education programs that use the funds must adhere to the strict guidelines the government provides_x0094_ (528).
Tabatabaie in acknowledging the importance of sex education posited that as much as sex education is necessary in the contemporary, there exist several factors that influence its existence or lack of it (275). He delves into the issue of religion and the role it plays in enhancing or fighting sex education in schools. For instance, sex education has had problems penetrating into school curriculums of Islamic countries that do not perceive it as _x0093_godly_x0094_. The efforts by various agencies to introduce it in Madrassa have not borne much fruit with Muslims rejecting it in its totality. Tabatabaie insists that _x0093_despite such strong evidence-based support, in practice, sex education for young people remains a problematic issue in present times and one of the most difficult educational challenges, particularly across the Muslim world_x0094_ (276). Such challenges have derailed the efforts made by sex education proponents and made the challenge even more complex because of the Arabic language used in most Muslim schools and colleges. However, most of these Islamic teens grow up to rediscover their sexuality a fact that can be disastrous given that they lack basic education on their sexuality and health.
When sexual education is not adequately catered for in schools, students engage in unprotected sex, which causes early pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. Among the reasons why adolescents practice unprotected sex, there might be included poor parent-child relations such that issues of sexuality and sexually transmitted infections are not communicated properly. Adolescents are, therefore, denied opportunity to discuss their sexuality issues, which adversely impacts on their sexual health development. Early marriage increases exposure to sex and influence pregnancies, which result in serious reproductive health concerns (Mitchell et al. (156).
Language and stories alone are not adequate to address sexual issues affecting the adolescents. Intervention programs, upon which language and stories are reinforced, are not only inadequate, but limited to the context under review. The thesis does define which language or stories are applicable sexuality. Kar et al. prove that _x0093_a growing body of research evidence across the social and health sciences suggests that the effects of most social and educational interventions are context dependent: what works for one population and in one particular setting may not necessarily generalize to other populations and settings_x0094_ (70).
Language and stories can be contextualized in sex education to address the sexual health challenges that teenage students face on their way to adulthood. Discussions about sexuality will be aired in a manner, which benefits the teenagers most. Language can be styled to meet the unmet needs of the adolescents to develop the critical thinking in resolving problems around sexuality and self-identity. Through the increased use of Internet and online searches for sex information and high rates of teenage pregnancies and adolescent fatherhoods, it is clear that sex education is wanting among the adolescents. However, the language used and stories told will determine the rate, at which the adolescents are prepared to cope with such fateful scenarios, which tend to blackmail the identity.
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