Teachers’ knowledge and pedagogical approaches to sexuality education in HIV and AIDS contexts of selected high schools and their indigenous communities in the Manzini region of Eswatini.
Nxumalo-Mabuza, Phindile Maureen.
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With HIV and AIDS decimating some global populations, life skills and sexuality education has assumed an important function in the school curriculum. Eswatini is concerned about adolescents’ attitude towards making right decisions, particularly regarding their sexual behaviour. There have been concerns about the acquisition of life skills and sexuality education knowledge and how this is taught in schools. This study sought to understand the knowledge teachers have on life skills and sexuality education, and whether cultural knowledge still exists. It also sought to find out if this cultural knowledge is mediated into the school curriculum, and finally, to examine which pedagogical approaches teachers and community elders use in teaching life skills and sexuality education. As an analytical and theoretical framework for the study, two sets of theories were examined and synthesised. One set is the educational theories; Bernstein’s theory of pedagogical discourse, Shulman’s pedagogical content knowledge and Agbomeji’s inviting classroom pedagogical model. The other set is comprised of the worldview theories and the philosophy of Emaswati. In the intepretivist philosophical domain, the study, because of its affective nature, employed qualitative approach and the phenomenological research design. It used both semi-structured and unstructured interviews to elicit information from selected teacher participants and key community informants. The card sorting activity was also used with teacher participants in data production. Among the findings of the study were; lack of content knowledge and focus in life skills and sexuality education in formal education, and the methodology used were teacher-centred. It also found that despite the existence of cultural knowledge in the community, there was lack of assimilation between the formal and cultural knowledge. The conclusion arrived at was that life skills and sexuality education has not been very effectively taught. Among the recommendations was that life skills and sexuality knowledge be made a core subject in the pre-service teacher education curriculum, and cultural knowledge be infused into the life skills and sexuality education curriculum. The study also recommends the Prompt-Led Participatory Discourse Model as a pedagogical underpinning frame for teaching life skills and sexuality education in schools, which can serve as a guide to teaching life skills and sexuality education in secondary schools in Eswatini.