Sex Education: The Netherlands vs. The British

An article in the British Times showed the differences between the two.  You can see the similarities between the British and American views about sex and sex education.

Check it out here.

About shaunmiller

I have just completed a visiting position as an assistant professor at Dalhousie University. My ideas are not associated with my employer; they are expressions of my own thoughts and ideas. Some of them are just musings while others could be serious discussions that could turn into a bigger project. Besides philosophy, I enjoy martial arts (Kuk Sool Won), playing my violin, enjoying coffee around town, and experimenting with new food.
This entry was posted in Education, Ethics, Experts, Health, Relationships, Same-Sex, Sexuality, Teaching, Values. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Sex Education: The Netherlands vs. The British

  1. shaunmiller says:

    One of my old friends has replied to this stating that this actually might a good idea. Even though it would be best if parents taught this, parents are often scared to teach their children about sex.

    My take on it is it would be best if the parents would teach their children about sex most parents are either too scared to teach their kids, or else they’re not really informed about it either.

    I use math as an analogy. It would be best if teachers taught math to the kids because 1)parents don’t know much about math and so it’s best to leave the experts (the teachers to teach math), and 2)parents don’t really want to teach math to their kids, whereas the teachers would be willing to do that. Well, I think the same thing should be taught about sex.

    Now I can imagine someone replying back saying, “Well, that’s good, Shaun. But with math, it’s cold, impersonal, and rational. With sex, however, it’s very personal and it deals with feelings and other aspects of getting along with other people. In other words, there’s values involved whereas math doesn’t have any values, it’s just facts.”

    I do sympathize with that position. But I think it’s where we reach a dead-end. I think values can be taught in schools whereas other people think values can only be taught in the homes with the family. So what do we do with this?

    If values can be taught in schools, which values should we teach? Well, the best approach is something like teaching ethics. I teach ethics. When we get to a certain topic (say abortion for example), I give certain arguments for each side, stating what the articles say. And then, I let the student decide which is the best argument by assigning them papers and such. That way, the students themselves can decide which values they should hold on to themselves. I like this approach because hardly anyone thinks about these ethical dilemmas, people usually hold on to the morals of their society without even thinking about them, and so taking a class on ethics helps people think about why they hold on to certain values.

    Now, I can imagine someone replying back: “Ok, that’s fine, Shaun. But that’s college. You really can’t teach sex education in college because teens are going to curious about sex before they go to college. In fact, most people won’t go to college so they can’t obviously learn it from there.”

    You’re right, and this is what I say: we should teach ethics in schools (and philosophy for that matter, but that’s another story). When it comes to that, however, it gets tricky (especially public schools) because parents don’t want their students to learn about certain things. And so that’s where we reach the dead-end on most things. I say values can (and perhaps should be taught in schools) whereas others don’t. What to do? I have no idea.

  2. Killer J says:

    I’m not a parent, but I can assure you I wouldn’t want a school to teach my kids their values. There’s a chance, I suppose, that the school’s values about sex or whatever would coincide with mine. There’s also a chance the values would be substantially different.
    I wouldn’t be okay with my child coming home with a standard of behavior different than the one I taught. This is inevitable to some degree, but if the SCHOOL is the reason for the disparity I would be pissed off.

  3. Pingback: Pages tagged "netherlands"

  4. shaunmiller says:

    Killer J, I agree with you. Values are something personal and if someone teaches your family different values, and your child likes those values, you’d probably feel betrayed. So what can we do?

    Well, let’s take sex education for example. One side says that we should teach it because it would be beneficial for society. After all, education is good. The other side says we should teach abstinence-only programs because teaching sex to kids could encourage teens to have sex. Obviously, if we adopt one viewpoint, the other side loses out. What can we do? The only thing I could think of is some sort of middle ground where you teach both in a factual manner, but when it comes to values, all you can say to the students is, “it’s up to you.”

    I think this method is the best when teaching any sort of class that deals with values. In ethics, I try to teach it that way. For example, with abortion, I basically give the arguments to both sides saying this is what the argument is. But I would never tell them, “Ok, now you know the arguments, you can see that the pro-life arguments are clearly wrong, right?” To me, that’s just unprofessional. If someone asked me what the right position, my answer is always “what do you think?” or “it’s up to you to figure that out,” or something like that.

    So then, suppose a family’s values are pro-life when it comes to abortion. They go to college and learn about the arguments for both sides, but slowly they are convinced that the pro-choice argument is better and more consistent. I know it’s tough because the rest of the family wouldn’t agree with this student. But in the end, I would rather have a student that thought out the arguments and made up his/her own mind about something with value, rather than going by life and not think about why this certain belief is consistent. It’s tough, true. But given the options between a students who knows both sides and comes to the conclusion that disagrees with the family’s values, or a student who stays with the values that he/she was raised with and never thinks about them, I’d rather have the former.

  5. shaunmiller says:

    Here is more about how abstinence-only programs don’t work.

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