174505 What's the real deal about masculinity?: Evaluation findings and student performances from social studies-based sex education

Wednesday, October 29, 2008: 11:10 AM

Debbie Rogow , Co-Director, Rethinking Sexuality Education Project, The Population Council, New York, NY
Naela El-Hinnawy , Research Consultant, Scenarios USA, Brooklyn, NY
At best, American public school sex education typically focuses on the “birds and the bees” or on highly individualistic models of decision-making. Absent is attention to the centrality of race, gender, and poverty in young people's sexual lives. Inspired by its West African predecessor, Scenarios from the Sahel, one innovative nonprofit organization, Scenarios USA has turned that paradigm on its head with a high school curriculum (supported by teacher workshops) and writing contest that place emphasis on fostering students' critical thinking skills, on their analyzing their social context, and on giving voice to their own stories and experiences. This presentation will be based on a rigorous qualitative and quantitative evaluation--including survey data, classroom observations, and teacher interviews--in Cleveland, OH, where both teachers and students were grappling with a curriculum that posed the question “What's the Real Deal about Masculinity?” The survey, filled out before and after the intervention, documents the effects of the program on students' masculine ideology. The classroom observations and teacher interviews analyzed the ways that – in classrooms of largely Black youth from low-income families – the curriculum surfaced larger questions of power in society – between white/black, male/female, straight/gay, and (as a function of former) teacher/student. Findings from student and teacher surveys, classroom observations, and teacher interviews provide strong support for an intersectional, social studies approach to sex education. The scholarly presentations are interspersed with moving performances that students wrote as part of this program and the screening of a short film.

Learning Objectives:
1. Develop an understanding of how the West African HIV/AIDS prevention program, Scenarios from the Sahel, is being applied in schools throughout the United States by Scenarios USA. 2. Articulate the concerns and beliefs of American youth about issues surrounding traditional masculine ideology and sexual health. 3. Discuss the benefits of and challenges that face future social studies-based sex education interventions like Scenarios USA.

Keywords: Sex, School-Based Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I designed and managed the evaluation, specifically the quantitative components, of a social studies-based sex education curriculum I helped to create.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.