Delivering sexuality education: a review of teaching pedagogies within South African schools
The Life Orientation (LO) learning area provides the primary vehicle for the delivery of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information in South African schools. The efficacy and uptake of the LO agenda is understood to rest with the individual educator facilitating this learning area, as located within a particular schooling environment and broader socio-cultural systems. This paper examines the perspectives of education staff responsible for LO lesson delivery, their competencies in understanding the varied challenges and contextual realities of this position as well as their abilities to impact learner engagement. Data was collected from secondary school contexts across three different provinces in South Africa, including high performing and low performing districts and across different economic profiles. Thematic content from educator interviews were enriched with classroom observations and structured questions on educator qualifications, training experiences, and personal orientations. The success of LO lessons and self-efficacy of learners are sourced in a combination of certain cognitive, behavioural and environmental factors. Didactic teaching methodologies and prescriptive approaches to potentially sensitive LO content are potential barriers to learner development as self- efficacious beings. Our findings suggest that LO educators would benefit from further professional and personal development to ensure the realisation of the sexuality education objectives.