Teaching Human Sexuality in the Social Studies classroom is not an easy task. I suppose it is not an easy task in any classroom. However, it is something that is certainly a must, with the increase of teen-age pregnancies. Some studies state that there is not an increase in teen-age pregnancy. Well, perhaps we are becoming more aware of it. Whatever the case, there is a need for adolescents to understand the impact of sexual intercourse at an early age.
The argument for teaching Human Sexuality in the Social Studies classroom is that the teen-age mother with the young child has (as I see it) become a social problem. That is to say that they (mother and child) go against what is still the norm. Sex at an early age also has an impact on both male and female whether there is a pregnancy involved or not. This I will go into later. If the female does become pregnant, we have an impact on society and a social problem:
1. There is a breakdown of the family structure, since many young mothers do not marry the fathers of their baby/babies.
2. The mother has to accept welfare funds in order to support herself and her child, thus, putting an additional strain on the economy.
3. Most young mothers are unable to better their status, they are on welfare and are unable to do much else.
4. The child/children do not receive a positive image of males or of relationships, because, many times the mother is “turned off” with men and relationships.
All of this happens in a society where hard-work, marriage and the ideal family (which consists of both mother and father) are the norm. This is not to say that
inner-city adolescent girls engage in sexual intercourse and become pregnant before what is considered “of age.” But, there are quite a few who do, and for them life becomes a vicious cycle of regulation.
This unit is designed to aid the Social Studies teacher to teach Human Sexuality to inner-city high school freshmen. It is important to note that I will speak generally, because within the inner-city culture there are sub-cultures which vary in values and attitudes and it’s important for the teacher to realize that.
It is also important for the teacher to realize that his/her own cultural values may differ from those of the students, and to make sure that cultural values are not infringed on others by either teacher or student. But, rather an understanding of the difference. Cultures are indeed, a way of life and the needs of that way of life may vary depending on what is necessary to survive.
This unit does not have to be confined to ninth grade students, perhaps the middle schools may find it useful as well.