Judgement suspension as mediating agent between heteronormative bias and homosexual pedagogy: the role of the modernized Life Orientation teacher
Swanepoel, Eben Haeser
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Article 1: The emotive nature of teaching sexuality during childhood is especially underscored with the stigmas attached to the teaching of sexuality. While sex and gender form a uniform part of the aims of social justice within Life Orientation, the issue of the teacher‟s personal bias can give rise to tension when compared to the needs of the learners. Modern society is characterized by gender identities that are constantly reconstructed and ingrained with the multicultural and socio-historical context of sexuality. However, characterization of gender identity, whether positive or negative, can lead to judgements that form a preconceived context within which identity is shaped. Related to the ambiguity of the term „sexuality‟, this paper focuses on the boundaries of sexuality teaching, with specific reference to sexual orientation which often forms a core area of judgement and expectations. I question the applicability of content taught in the subject Life Orientation and propose a model based on cultural intelligence that mediates subjective teaching by utilizing the construct‟s components of knowledge, mindfulness and behaviour. These three components and their link to judgement are proposed to form a uniform model whereby successful sexuality teaching should take place, subsequently allowing identity and understanding to emerge instead of advocating knowledge that is incompatible when compared to the diverse reality of South African culture.Article 2: There are various challenges in the teaching of sexuality within a South African multicultural context, as there is no uniform knowledge across learner backgrounds. As such, teaching often reverts to the teacher‟s beliefs, in order to create meaning within the uncertainty, often at the expense of the individual learners‟ personal identity formation. This paper explores teachers‟ internal biases and the subsequent influence on the teaching of alternative sexualities in Life Orientation classes. Through purposive sampling, four teachers in the Mangaung area of the Free State province participated in semi-structured interviews and electroencephalogram (EEG) measurements. Data was analysed by means of thematic analysis and descriptive statistics to explore how teachers construct knowledge about alternative sexualities while mediating internal conflict by measuring frustration. Findings suggest that personal background influences teaching practice as well as limitations at curriculum level, leading to personal interpretations of content. Furthermore, cognitive sensitization to content significantly affects levels of frustration, while the active versus reactive nature of teaching sexuality becomes apparent in how teachers ultimately accommodate personal bias. Recommendations include the need for sensitization during teacher induction to sensitive topics such as sexuality, and to provide less biased messages during teaching.