Researching education: 5 further readings on consent education

Welcome to this month's edition of Researching education: 5 further readings. In this series, we take a look at some further readings available on a particular topic, including open access research papers from various online databases, and Teacher archive content you might not have come across yet.

As a teacher, how does your school approach teaching students about healthy relationships and consent? Research shows that pragmatic and evidence-based consent education in schools can have both immediate and lasting effects in reducing gender-based violence. In this edition of Researching education: 5 further readings, we’re sharing 5 readings on the topic of consent education from Australian researchers.

  1. Addressing issues of sexual consent: Key considerations for schools and teachers. Published by the Australian Education Union’s Professional Voice journal, this article maps some of the key issues of concern regarding the prevalence of sexual abuse in Australian schools, and the call from current and past students to have better and earlier consent education. Acknowledging the complexity of delivering consent education as a teacher, the author provides considerations for teachers to reflect on and tools for improving practice.

  2. Teaching ‘Consent’ in Secondary School English. This report unpacks the findings from a 2021 research project conducted by the Literacy Education Lab, funded by the Melbourne Graduate School of Education in collaboration with Stella, to consider the potential and possibilities of incorporating consent education in a more explicit way into secondary English. The project undertook a close analysis of texts currently used in secondary English, contemporary texts on the issue of consent, 2 focus groups with secondary English teachers, and invited responses from Australian writers to contribute literature on consent education.

  3. Addressing Sexual Assault through Comprehensive Sexuality and Relationships Education. Published in the Australian Journal of Middle Years of Schooling, this paper argues that schools are uniquely placed to facilitate more robust, open and pragmatic discussions with young people around sexual health and relationships. The author explores evidence-based approaches to sexual assault prevention initiatives in schools, which are broken down into categories including timing, staff training, socio-cultural contexts, theory-based practice and more.

  4. Respectful relationships education to prevent gender-based violence: Lessons from a multi-year pilot in primary schools. This report presents an evaluation of 18 primary schools’ whole-school approaches to respectful relationships education as part of a pilot program aimed at ending gender-based violence. The findings from the pilot indicate the need for professional learning, an age-appropriate gendered curriculum, teacher supports, clear communication, and a long-term approach to implementing programs within and across schools.

  5. Six things schools need to do now to stop gendered violence. One of the key findings from the 2016 Royal Commission into Family Violence (Victoria) was that respectful relationships education (RRE) be mandated in every school from F-12. In this article, the author unpacks the findings of the RRE evaluation as they relate to primary schools, and outlines 6 considerations for schools to support RRE.

Some of the resources featured in this article can be found through Cunningham Library Catalogue and EdResearch Online. At the links below, you can search for more resources on the topic of consent education in these 2 online databases.

You can also browse other topics at this page.

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