Five tips for Educators on teaching consent to students
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Five tips for educators on teaching consent to students

Five tips for Educators on teaching consent to students

Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) is a key part of helping young people have positive sexual health outcomes. The Sexual Health Victoria (SHV) Schools and Community Team delivers the everyBODY Education program to school-aged children to help expand their awareness and understanding of RSE.

The everyBODY Education program helps school-aged children develop a stronger understanding of their own bodies, puberty, sex, consent, sexuality and relationships. Consent has always been a strong focus in RSE and is included as part of the core teachings of the everyBODY Education Program.

Simply put, consent means a free agreement of your own free will without fear, force, or pressure. Any discussions teachers are having with students around relationships, and in particular sexual relationships, should include an explanation of consent.
Recent headline making news stories surrounding Brittney Higgins, Grace Tame and Chanel Contos have highlighted the importance of consent education. Many called for the Government to include better consent education in schools starting at an earlier age. Reading the student testimonies on Teach Us Consent leads the reader to draw the same conclusions; consent education is vital.

These public campaigns have led to changes of the Australian Curriculum. Australian Curriculum V9.0 includes reference to either permission (up to Grade two) or consent (Grade 3-10) in the Health and Physical Education years foundation -10. Schools are updating their own policies to include the word consent. Parents and carers are asking how schools are delivering this.

FIVE TIPS FOR SCHOOL TEACHERS

1. Teach anatomically correct words for private body parts.

A confident vocabulary helps students develop protective behaviours and assist in the event of
needing to report harm.

2. Introduce permission and consent in the early years of primary school.

Consent education is happening in a range of indirect ways; such as how to take turns, how to ask and listen for an answer or what to do when feeling unsafe. Students will grow accustomed to the language and process of consent. This can expand as students advance to encompass sexual consent.

3. Teach age-appropriate puberty and reproduction to middle and upper primary students.

Consent relates to body autonomy and can easily be reinforced with the message that everybody oversees their own body, including who touches it and where. Sex can be explained as the most usual way to start a baby. Key messages should include the idea that sex is only for adults, and adults are only allowed to have sex if there is consent.

4 Provide comprehensive discussions around sex, sexuality, sexual behaviour and sexual content online to secondary school students.

Young people will want to know what the law says about consent. Discussions about the ethical responsibilities of sexual relationships become more important. Students benefit from discussion around the practical ways to ask for, give or deny consent.

5 Implement a whole-school and community approach, which includes teachers, parents, and careers.

The most effective approach requires the support of leadership, the time to plan and teachers who have been trained in delivering RSE. SHV can help upskill and provide comprehensive consent education to teachers, students, and carers.

If you need help with planning or training, SHV can help. The following resources are available: 

For more information visit: https://shvic.org.au/schools

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