Benefit-Risk Tension of Sexuality in the Classroom. What do you think?

 In the article, “Skirting the Issue: Teachers’ Experiences ‘Addressing Sexuality in Middle School Language Arts’,” sexuality in the classroom is described  as a “benefit-risk” tension. This means that although the teacher may be benefiting the students by educating them about sexuality, they may also be scrutinized for choosing to do so. The issue of sexuality is not required in the classroom setting but cannot be ignored. Middle School is the prime in which students undergo sexual changes and Language Arts is described as the subject that provides an “experienced-based pedagogy.” It is obvious that sexuality is of high interest to adolescents. If we are to teach our students material based on their interests then we must find a way to comfortable address sexuality in the classroom. A study was done among 14 teachers and proved that teaching sexuality in the classroom proved to be beneficial. However, the results also demonstrated that more than not the teachers practiced “avoidance strategies” due to anxiety of the subject matter.

Teaching sexuality in the classroom is very informative. Students can become aware of the risk of STD’s, pregnancy, domestic abuse, and sexual harassment. Teacher’s that were in the study done by this article discussed how any example of violence or fear can be connected to information about abuse and harassment. Sexuality is especially connect in the Language Arts classroom because literature is full of opportunities to address sexual issues.

To me, sexuality in the classroom is an unavoidable subject. Our students lives are consumed by the topic of sex. It would be ignorant for me as a teacher to try and avoid this part of their life. Instead, I want to embrace the subject matter into an educational process. I want my students to channel this interest into a productive and mature format. I also want my students to feel comfortable around me and confide in me with any issues they may have. This time in their life is full of changes and sometimes they do not have anyone available to help them through the process. Being open, honest, and informative with my students about sexuality is much more beneficial and rewarding to me than the risk of being ridiculed for addressing a subject matter our society thrives on.

I’ve given my opinion, what do you all think?


Puchner, L., & Klein, N. (2012). Skirting the Issue: Teachers’ Experiences “Addressing Sexuality in Middle School Language Arts”. Research In Middle Level Education Online, 36(1), 1-16.


One thought on “Benefit-Risk Tension of Sexuality in the Classroom. What do you think?

  1. I’m with you. Let’s embrace it and talk about it. I want my classroom to be an open place where students feel comfortable talking about any topic. Any topic at all. Even creationism (which, as you know, will be super duper hard for me). If I can’t have my classroom that open, I at least want my students to realize that they can come to me with whatever issues. Thanks for sharing.

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