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Stepping out of our comfort zones: pre-service teachers' responses to a critical analysis of gender/power relations in sexuality education

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This paper discusses pre-service teachers' responses to a critical analysis of gender/power relations using examples from a final assessment for an intensive elective unit called Teaching Sexuality in the Middle Years. This unit critically examines gender/ power relations, the production of difference, heteronormativity and pleasure and desire, employing a feminist post-structural framework. Despite the focus on critical thinking, reflection and interrogating structural inequalities in this unit some students were resistant or unable to engage with this approach in their assessments, although appearing to do so in workshops. We consider the broad range of sexuality education discourses mobilised by this unit to try to make sense of what looks like resistance but may be something more complex and difficult to negotiate. The paper ends with a consideration of some of the implications of this approach for practice.
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Keywords: feminist pedagogy; gender/power relations; post-structural theory; sexuality discourses; sexuality education

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Education, Deakin University, Geelong, VIC, Australia

Publication date: May 4, 2015

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