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English 212

2002 Third Paper

On Serendip

Establishing a Comfort Zone

Jenny Wade

My Praxis Site is at a public elementary school in South Philly, attending a sex-ed class for sixth graders. The program itself is actually called "Youth First", and is an outreach program organized by Planned Parenthood where an instructor comes into the school weekly for a twenty-five week period (this is the first step of the program, and afterwards there is often additional sexuality learning for the students). Since the students at the elementary school seemed to be particularly uncomfortable with talking about sexuality and their own personal feelings/questions/knowledge,etc, the sex-ed curriculum must first help reinforce that sexuality is natural, appropriate for discussion, and something that everyone experiences. This characteristic of awkwardness and discomfort for the students is common in sex-ed courses, but perhaps accounts for why they don't always tend to be very successful. Once this first step in establishing comfort (in addition to introducing the basics of sexuality and its many areas) is completed, sexuality education and discussion can become more detailed. For this first paper in beginning to construct a curriculum, I focused primarily on this first step of promoting personal comfort and openness in order to discuss/understand sexuality drawing from particular sources that promoted confessional writing of the students and the ability to understand and accept personal emotions/desires.

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