Teaching about sexual orientation to grade nine students: Shared experiences from secondary school health teachers in southwestern Ontario.

Date of Award


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Education, Health.




The objective of this research was to examine the experiences of teachers regarding the teaching of sexual orientation to grade nine physical and health education students in Ontario. A Sexuality Education Survey was developed and conducted in one school board in southwestern Ontario. The resulting sample consisted of 18 completed surveys (response rate of 35%). Results indicated that most teachers do teach some topics related to sexual orientation such as health issues (56% of teachers), stereotypes (72% of teachers), and major definitions (67% of teachers). However, the study found important gaps in topic coverage. For example, only 17% of teachers reported addressing the term "transgender", and only 56% of teachers reported addressing the term "bisexual". The majority of teachers (53%) reported that they received no formal training on how to teach the topic of sexual orientation. The survey also indicated that over three quarters of teachers (77%) did not provide contact information to the local gay youth support group and that almost one in four teachers (24%) reported frequently witnessing derogatory behavior by their students regarding sexual orientation during sex education. The overall patterns of the results suggest the need for further large-scale studies on Canadian teacher and student experiences with the topic of sexual orientation within the sex education curriculum. The results also suggest that there may be merit in policies that incorporate sexual orientation into the grade nine physical and health education curriculum, so long as they are accompanied by adequate teacher preparation. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2005 .B66. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 44-01, page: 0055. Thesis (M.Ed.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2005.