Best Way to Teach PSHE Topics in the Classroom

The National Curriculum dictates guidelines for teaching Personal. Social and Health Education (PSHE) and Citizenship in partnership with other Curriculum subjects. This ensures pupils are given some essential information on subjects such as drug, tobacco and alcohol use, and sexual and relationship education. Form tutors and teachers with no specialist experience in the subjects teach most PSHE sessions. This means that if you have a form class allocated to you, you may well be responsible for teaching these issues to your class.

PSHE lessons should include practical discussions on everyday issues, to encourage understanding of ‘taboo’ subjects. Sex, contra­ception, abortion, bullying, mental health and family issues are all a part of preparing students for life outside of education, and should be taught sensitively and honestly.

Teach PSHE Topics Best Way to Teach PSHE Topics in the Classroom

Remember: many teachers feel embarrassed about teaching these kinds of subjects to young people, or think that this should be a parental responsibility. It is important to remember that ignorance frequently leads to misunderstanding.

Young people today are allegedly exposed to far more potentially dis­turbing material than previous generations, and as a consequence are likely to have a reasonable understanding of these subjects already. Don’t be surprised if your class seems to know far more about sex than you do! In addition, these young people are just beginning to form their own opinions on these issues. It is much better to present them with the information they can use to make their minds up, rather than trying to influence their decisions.

Helpful tips for teaching PSHE topics

  •           Don’t be embarrassed, regardless of the subject matter – remem­ber, you are the teacher and you are in control.
  •           Children genuinely want to know all the facts. Answer their questions honestly and openly.
  •           Make discussions open and frank, but don’t stray into too per­sonal areas. Remember that some students feel very awkward when talking about how they feel.
  •          Be sensitive to students’ upbringing, life experiences and religion: be aware that some areas may make students feel uncom­fortable and upset. Areas such as bereavement, abortion or abuse can be particularly tricky.
  •          Use the QCA frameworks to give you a solid understanding of what you should be teaching.
  •           Be prepared to answer students’ questions. If the subject is of a delicate nature, ask students to write their questions down and place them in a box. This gives you more control over, and prepa­ration time to deal with, potentially awkward queries.
  •           Have a good sense of humour – making difficult subjects light-hearted can be hard work, but will help you and your student relax.

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