Exploring judgement and internal bias of Life Orientation teachers in sexuality teaching
Swanepoel, Eben H.
De Wet, Lizette
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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, teachings often revert to the teacher’s beliefs, in order to create meaning within the uncertainty, at the expense of the individual learners’ personal identity formation. This paper explores the teachers’ internal bias and its 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 were analysed by means of thematic analysis and descriptive statistics collected through EEG readings in order to explore how teachers construct knowledge about alternative sexualities while mediating internal conflict, specifically through measuring frustration responses to stimuli. Findings suggest that the challenge of personal background influences teaching practice as well as limitations at curriculum level, leading to personal interpretations of content. Furthermore, sensitisation 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 sensitisation, during teacher induction, to sensitive topics such as sexuality, and to provide less biased messages during teaching.