When it comes to teaching about consent, the topic can seem pretty straightforward—sexual contact without consent is sexual assault or rape. But like any topic in sexuality education that involves communication about sexual behaviors, things can get complicated, and the topic needs more nuance for our students than we might have initially thought. So when it comes to teaching consent to young people, it isn’t always easy to know where to start. That’s why we’ve compiled three resources we think will be invaluable in your classroom this fall.
From The New Republic “If College Students Can’t Say What ‘Consent’ Is, Then We Should Teach It Sooner“
First things first, it helps to understand why teaching about consent in middle or high school is so important. Rape and sexual assault are usually a part of the conversation about consent, and these topics can be sensitive and difficult to discuss, even when we know how important it is to cover them. One thing that may make it easier for you to broach the topic is seeing the bigger picture and knowing that, if you don’t discuss it now, your students will be at a disadvantage later. In The New Republic’s great article, “If College Students Can’t Say What ‘Consent’ Is, Then We Should Teach It Sooner,” author Lane Florsheim speaks with Answer staff and Sex, Etc. teen staff writer Nick Meduski about the importance of consent education and what it should look like.
It’s pretty simple to understand just how important consent education is as a part of comprehensive sexuality education, but it can be hard to know exactly what needs to be taught in order for it to be effective. The National Sexuality Education Standards are a great resource. They offer key indicators of student success organized by skill development and tell you what content should be taught and is age-and grade-level appropriate.
You’ve seen the bigger picture with “If College Students Can’t Say What ‘Consent’ Is, Then We Should Teach It Sooner” and the essential minimum content students should be learning according to The National Sexuality Education Standards, but it can be hard to know how to put these resources into practice. That’s why the third resource you need in the classroom this fall is one of Answer’s original lesson plans. “What Does Consent Look Like” is mapped to The National Sexuality Education Standards and uses a teen-written story with the same name from the winter 2014 issue of Sex, Etc. This lesson plan uses discussion, group activities and a worksheet to help students have a better understanding of what consent does-and does not-look like. Also in this lesson are resources for students and a take away sheet that includes tips for understanding consent.
With these resources we think any educator that tackles the topic of consent in the classroom this year will be successful. But, we also want to know: What resources have you used with success to teach about consent in the past? Let us know in the comments!