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Examining some Philosophies of Education Scenarios.

1. What would your response be to the â??realistâ? committee chairperson?

You are a 7th grade teacher and a member of your schoolâ??s curriculum committee. One of the curriculum committeeâ??s responsibilities is to recommend the sex curriculum that will be utilized in grades 7-8. Your district has been discussion a sex education curriculum for several months and is divided as to whether to focus on an abstinence-based program or non-abstinence-based program. The chair of the committee is strongly pushing the notion of a non-abstinence-based program, stating that she is a realist, and the thought of simply teaching children that they should not engage in sex just wonâ??t work. She suggests a program that focuses instruction on safe-sex practices, stating that the reality is many students are going to engage in sexual activities. The chairperson shows a film focusing on sexually transmitted diseases in which proper condom use is demonstrated using a banana. After showing the film to the group, the chair states that this is what students need to be seeing instead of simply telling them that they should abstain from sex.

2. How would you respond to the principalâ??s request?

Your work in a school whose principal is highly motivated and adopts many of the programs aimed to improve schools and student achievement. The principal is often called upon by the stateâ??s department of education to facilitate staff development in school districts. The principal is ambitious and has â??bought intoâ? the motion of No Child Left Behind. She sees the goals of the act as attainable in your school and others around the state. She perceives you to be an outstanding teacher, and has asked you to promote this ideal not only in your building, but also to accompany her to staff development functions in other districts to promote No Child Left Behind.

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Solution to 1 and clarifications
1. For the first scenario, the use of the word realist is ambiguous, to say the least. The chairperson may be right in criticising the abstinence-based program, but her argument that her position is more realistic leaves a lot to be desired. What really makes a non-abstinence-based program more realistic than an abstinence-based one? I think the reality may be in a conciliation of the two positions. There are two extremist positions that should be avoided here. One is abstinence-only and the other is non abstinence-only. The chairperson's position is extremist in as much as she insists that abstinence should have no place in sex education. There is a programme known as ABC, used to combat HIV infection. A stands for abstain. B stands for be faithful to one partner. And C stands for use a condom if the first two options do not work for you. That seems realistic.
Damage would be done to students in 7-8 grades if all they are taught in their sex education class is that abstinence is unrealistic. To abstain from sex at certain periods could be a good sign of responsibility. For instance, if you have a disease that could be sexually transmitted, then you should choose to abstain from sex until you are cured of the disease, just as you could try to use other means to prevent infecting your partner. But one method that could work hundred percent is abstinence. Sex, like drinking, is an activity that people should know comes with sometimes unpalatable consequences. What is involved in sex is not just the physical aspect but also the emotional. Yes, you could physically protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies, but how about the emotional aspect of sex? The fact that sex is bought and sold should not blind us to the fact that most human beings crave commitment. A healthy sex life with one partner helps to cement that commitment for many people. Commitment comes with maturity. So people should be emotionally ready for sex before they indulge in it. I think that if people should wait to get old enough before they consume alcohol or drive, activities that could adversely affect other people, so much the reason they should wait until they are ready for sex.

People who espouse abstinence only sometimes go to the extreme position of saying that it is only in marriage that sex could legitimately take place. I think that if they focus on telling young people to wait until they are ready for sex before engaging in it, not necessarily only in marriage, then they could have better results. Conversely, those who think that there should be no abstinence at all fail to see the virtue in abstinence for the right reasons. Adults should be able to have a good and healthy sex life. Focusing sex education on how to avoid the unpleasant consequences of sexual activity is rather negative and cheapens sex by stripping it of all emotion and commitment. Sex is something that should ...

Solution Summary

Philosophies of Education Scenarios are examined through case studies of Sex Education and the No Child Left Behind concept. The solution argues that education should be holistic and not geared toward achieving some very narrowly defined objectives.