Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: It's Not Sex, and It's Not Education

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  • Carol Stewart,

    pornography uses the whole duck!"

    So does Isabella Rossellini..

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2008 • 662 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    I have but one thing to say to the NZ Herald:

    Klaatu barada nikto

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1822 posts Report Reply

  • Max Rose,

    From the Diane Taylor "article":

    It is harmful because children are literally at the mercy of the classroom teacher, as it is up to each teacher really as to what is taught. Sure, they have "guidelines" to follow but can teachers use their own resources and "innovate" in line with their own point of view?

    Right, because it's terrible to leave sex education to trained professionals, rather than untrained, embarrassed, repressed and often batshit insane parents.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2011 • 81 posts Report Reply

  • Nat, in reply to Paul Williams,

    We’ll be signing up for ethics as soon as its available.

    Didn't Fred Nile do a deal with Farry O'Barrell to pull the ethics classes in NSW Paul?

    I remember our Religious Instruction classes in Victoria - we called them ridiculous interruptions - but I only have very hazy recollections of formal sex ed. I think it was run by the PE teachers, in their tracksuits and netball skirts.

    I do remember my best friend and I hearing a rumour when we were about 8, that to have a baby, a man put his penis into a woman's vagina. We were horrified (on the basis that that is what our parents must have done, three times each), and went to the school library only to have our worst fears confirmed.

    Sydney • Since Jun 2011 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Nat,

    When I was 14 - speaking of children and their mortification around their parents' relationships - we were having a discussion at school about whose parents did it and whose didn't. I volunteered that mine still did. The others looked at me in horror - but how did I know that? they asked me. Because, I replied, when they are having sex, they shut their bedroom door. Clear signal. Years later, I was telling my Mum about that discussion, and she asked me when I knew what the closed door signified. I think I may have been about 4.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Russell Brown,

    This is beyond ridiculous. Hopkins’ column is completely mad.

    To be fair, there has been one guest opinion piece in defence of sex education. But the editors have clearly worked out what’s going to generate more page views.

    Once again, anti-PC is the new PC.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4403 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Max Rose,

    It is harmful because children are literally at the mercy of the classroom teacher

    Please, is there some kind of class we could send columnists to to learn what the word "literally" means?

    Because, I replied, when they are having sex, they shut their bedroom door. Clear signal.

    I was explaining to my partner the difference between ignorance and self-deception the other night. I made it crystal clear for him with the phrase "the children can't hear me."

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4371 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    Something that comes through interestingly in those articles is that it's parents and grandparents getting het up about what the kids are learning. I suspect given Garth George and Jim Hopkins jumping on the bandwagon it's more of the latter than you'd think.

    I'm guessing most parents of young teenaged kids would be around their 40s, and would have been young themselves at the time of the sexual revolution and outbreak of HIV - two things that fuelled the introduction of decent sex ed in schools. It's the generation beforehand who would have been quietly stowed into homes for unwed mothers, had problems with mixed flatting or getting contraception without a wedding ring and so on. The culture shock for many of them would be greater.

    My own grandmother, according to the family story, asked her older sister at age 21 where babies come from, and was told she was too young to know.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 814 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    To be fair, there has been one guest opinion piece in defence of sex education.

    Sure. Which makes the Herald about as appetising as a turnip, liver, brussel sprout and bacon burger.

    We’ll be signing up for ethics as soon as its available.

    IMO, what Kiwi kids most need is not ethics classes but logic classes. :)

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to 3410,

    If by logic you mean *thinking* or reasoning (and preferably *discussing*), then I agree. Like the way France teaches their children philosophy.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to B Jones,

    mixed flatting

    that one always cracks me up.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Nat, in reply to Jackie Clark,

    Years later, I was telling my Mum about that discussion, and she asked me when I knew what the closed door signified. I think I may have been about 4.

    Perceptive!

    Sydney • Since Jun 2011 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Beautifully put.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Nat,

    I always loved that they had that sort of relationship. Mainly because they fought like cat and dog, so as long as the bedroom door was shut on occasion, I knew everything was okay.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to 3410,

    IMO, what Kiwi kids most need is not ethics classes but logic classes. :)

    Excellent. Having studied Logic I can see how that would leave kids too confused for sex.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4947 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Sacha,

    Like the way France teaches their children philosophy.

    It's also done here, at least in the hippie schools Isabel and I send our kids to.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4371 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    This is a slight tangent but interesting: marketing condoms in the DR Congo (a TED talk by Amy Lockwood). Sexy vs. moralising advertising. [some images may be mildly NSFW]

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3470 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams, in reply to Nat,

    Didn't Fred Nile do a deal with Farry O'Barrell to pull the ethics classes in NSW Paul?

    The deal's not entirely done or clear to be frank.

    Rev Fred Nile did support Coalition legislation to cap public sector wages, which he threatened to block in the Upper House, but he's only got an agreement to introduce a private members bill amending the legislation that allows ethics classes which was (as you know but others may not) itself only amended last year by the former state Labor government.

    IMO, what Kiwi kids most need is not ethics classes but logic classes. :)

    I'm not necessarily of the view that logic is the antithesis of all religious beliefs even if it is to most of the traditional ones.

    Incidentally, in my wish list, music and civics would be core curriculum. Jackie, you're at the cold front, what do you think?

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2239 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    As regards sex education... when I was a young lad, my mother worked for Family Planning (I well remember the Christmas parties, each family with their 2.2 children), so we ended up having a lot of literature left around the house. I recall "Where did I come from?" and "What's happening to me?" (dealing with, respectively, sex and puberty). When my own daughter started making comments about "sexing" as a result of playground gossip at school, I went out and hit the Children's Bookshop in Kilbirnie for appropriate literature... and was gratified to find out that "Where did I come from?" is still in print (in fact, it was about the only book on the subject the shop had at the time). So I followed in my parents' footsteps pretty exactly. Reading the book again, this time with a reasonable knowledge of the mechanisms in question, I'm interested to note how well the "sex is fun" aspect is covered.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Emma Hart,

    at least in the hippie schools

    *only* there, I'd say

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson, in reply to Sacha,

    Does that make Western Springs College a hippy school then ?

    I was well impressed when my son started doing Philosophy at High School in year 9.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 427 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Brent Jackson,

    Does that make Western Springs College a hippy school then ?

    yes :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Paul Williams,

    I think you're entirely right. At our venerable little kindergarten, I have jazz/classical/Cafe del Mar etc just as background for the kids. Sometimes we have a boogie, often times they go and get the instruments and bang away. As for civics, I like to think that our entire time with them is about being a good human being, and forming and maintaining healthy and nonharmful relationships. Also, we're all about the zen. Something no-one ever covers in education is the importance of being rather than doing. So we encourage calm, and contemplation. I think it works well.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • Biobbs, in reply to B Jones,

    My own grandmother, according to the family story, asked her older sister at age 21 where babies come from, and was told she was too young to know.

    It's never too young to start, is it?

    Here in Denmark, there are explicit sex-education books for pre-schoolers on sale in most bookshops. I was a bit startled when I first saw them...but then figured, well, why not? The evidence is that normalising understanding from an early age leads to better outcomes, after all.


    They weren't pop-up books though. Maybe next edition...

    The River Mouth, Denmark • Since Jan 2011 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Biobbs,

    They weren’t pop-up books though

    Oh, the pop-up books are out there! Although this one is much less saucy than you'd think: it's mostly pop-up foetuses.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3470 posts Report Reply

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