Martha is 17. Right now she is applying to college although she isn’t sure what she wants to study. She has a steady boyfriend and they are starting to have sex. When they talk about birth control David says it’s up to her to use something. He’ll go with her to get it but he wants her to be responsible for the birth control. Martha is wondering what would be a good method for her. Her dad died from a heart attack when he was in his 40’s and her mother has high blood pressure. Martha herself smokes nearly a pack of cigarettes a day. She gets her period every month and almost never has cramps. She isn’t sure just how helpful David will be about using a birth control method.
On the next page, you will find a worksheet to be used with this case study. After students have read the case study and filled out the worksheet, they are to circle the method of birth control they think is best for this couple should use. Class discussion should follow.
You may wish to develop a variety of case studies to be used with this worksheet.
CASE STUDIES ABOUT DECISION-MAKING
THE GIRLS AND GUYS IN THESE CASE STUDIES HAVE DECIDED THAT IF THEY ARE TO REACH THEIR GOALS THEY HAD BETTER USE SOME METHOD OF BIRTH CONTROL. YOUR JOB IS TO HELP THEM CHOOSE THE METHOD THAT WOULD BE BEST FOR THEM.
READ THE PARAGRAPH DESCRIBING THE SITUATION. THINK ABOUT WHAT METHOD OF BIRTH CONTROL WOULD BE BEST FOR THE COUPLE ACCORDING TO THE FACTS GIVEN IN THE PARAGRAPH. FILL IN THIS CHART AS YOU MAKE YOUR DECISION.
THE NAMES OF THE GIRL AND GUY: __________
METHOD CHOICES WHAT MAKES THIS WHAT MAKES THIS
A GOOD METHOD A BAD METHOD
I U D
WHEN YOU FINISH, CIRCLE THE METHOD YOU THINK IS BEST FOR THEM.
The Connecticut State Board of Education has recently published a Guide to Curriculum Development in Family Life Education which contains a policy statement regarding teaching about
Learning to deal with controversial issues is one of the basic competencies all students should acquire. Controversial issues are those problems, subjects or questions about which there are significant differences of opinion based for the most part on the differences in the values people bring to the appraisal of the facts of the issue.
In teaching about adolescent male sexuality, the classroom teacher should be prepared to handle two such controversial issues: homosexuality and masturbation.
The research related to both of these topics suggests that little is known about the role of masturbation in the development of human sexuality and, while a lot is written about homosexuality, we still have very incomplete knowledge about the homosexual feelings, interest, and behaviors of children and adolescents and the meaning this may have in relation to their over all development.
Students and teachers are likely to have some difficulty in discussing these topics, especially in a heterosexual classroom setting; yet, questions about both masturbation and homosexuality, directly or indirectly, should be anticipated. It may be of interest and helpful for the teacher to have the following information:*
1. It appears that about half of today’s teenage boys and about one third of the girls masturbate by the age of 15. This figure probably rises to about 85 per cent for males and 60 percent for females by the age of 20. (Sorensen, 1973; Hunt, 1974; Abramson, 1973; Arafat and Cotton, 1974; Playboy, 1976).
2. There appears to be a reduction in fear and guilt about masturbation among contemporary adolescents, though considerable embarrassment about the practice remains (Sorensen, 1973; Hunt, 1974).
3. “Blue collar” males and females were less approving of masturbation than “white collars” and less likely to practice it. Also, females (Hunt and Kinsey). but not males, who were high in religiosity were less likely to masturbate (analogous to findings for premarital petting and intercourse).
*The studies cited here are referenced in Chilman’s
Adolescent Sexuality in a Changing American Society
1. About one-half of blue collar youth and three fourths of college students in 1971 found “nothing morally wrong about homosexual behavior between consenting partners”. ( Yankelovich, 1974).
2. About 10 percent of boys and five percent of girls may engage in sex relations with the same sex at least once during early adolescence.
3. Only three percent of males and half that many females are thought to engage in long term, serious homosexual relationships (these figures are lower than the Kinsey data suggest).
4. Despite higher visibility of homosexuals in today’s society, the prevalence of the behavior appears not to have increased.
5. The causes of homosexual orientations are not clearly known. Some evidence suggests origins in disturbed family relationships, in social learning, in prenatal endocrine factors, and in one-sex living situations at critical periods of development.
The Connecticut State policy concludes that although teachers have the right to express their own viewpoints and opinions, they do not have the right to indoctrinate students with their personal views.
: If questions about either of these areas have arisen and the teacher feels the need to address them in the classroom, the
book is a good resource. The authors offer suggestions for creating an atmosphere of mutual trust, respect and non-judgmental listening and sharing, and provide activities to facilitate group processes on a variety of controversial subjects.
If I am aware of students with varied religious backgrounds within my class, I encourage them to share their point of view. I have occasionally invited an individual student to research and present the policy of a particular sect on a specific topic, while I take responsibility for presenting the broader belief systems when appropriate.
If a teacher feels that a particular student is unduly concerned, anxious, worried or preoccupied about masturbation or homosexuality, the teacher may wish to seek the guidance of the school social worker or another professional.