More than 20 educators and behavioral health specialists signed up for the region’s first Pacific Islander-based sex education and well-being curriculum workshop, which launched on Tuesday.
“This curriculum was a labor of love that we began developing in 2012,” said Dr. Timmy de La Cruz, contributor and executive director of local LGBTQ advocacy group GALA. “As a CHamoru and a gay man, I know what it’s like to work within our most vulnerable communities. Unfortunately, many times we look abroad for our solutions, when the best answers are found here at home in our histories and cultures.”
According to the University of Guam Press, the curriculum, entitled “Navigating Personal Wellbeing & Sexuality: A Facilitator’s Guide for Working with Chuukese and CHamoru Communities” is a culture-based resource for peer educators, teachers, counselors, social workers, community and traditional leaders, and health care advocates who educate about personal wellness, sexuality, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases in Chuukese and CHamoru communities.
“This curriculum makes these topics something families and educators can talk about more comfortably with our young adults. Going through the school system growing up, I never took a formal sex-ed class. Many times, our teens don’t learn about sex, pregnancy and HIV until it’s too late,” said contributor Francine Naputi. “Our teens respond to culture, and I believe this curriculum is something they’ll be more responsive to than imposed Western frameworks.”
According to contributor Dr. Lisa Linda Natividad, the curriculum was initially proposed as a single program. But after considering the intricacies of both the CHamoru and Chuukese cultures, two curriculums were unanimously agreed upon.
‘By us and for us’
Jon Guerrero, a school psychologist with the Guam Department of Education, said the curriculum is an important step for behavioral health services in Micronesia.
“Historically, medicine and health care have been used as a means of control; and when we impose outside standards and values it changes how we see and treat each other as indigenous peoples,” Guerrero said. “This is exciting because now, we’re creating something that’s created by us and for us; and that could be way more effective at treating existing social issues.”
According to Guerrero, Chuukese students make up about 40 percent of disciplinary issues in GDOE schools. Many of these, he said, are due to cultural differences and miscommunications.
“Some teachers may take a lack of eye contact as a sign of disrespect. But in the Chuukese culture, a lack of eye contact doesn’t mean you’re not acknowledging someone. This is just one example of how more cultural understanding can help bring down some of the social barriers that exist even beyond the walls of GDOE.”
UOG Press has printed 5,000 copies of the curriculum workbook, which can be purchased for $5 each at the university.
The curriculum is also still available through UOG Press, and is free for participants who sign up for the workshop and commit to utilizing it in their spaces.
Source: Google News : https://www.postguam.com/news/local/culture-based-sex-ed-curriculum-launched/article_146c79fe-9cfe-11e7-8286-0fddab678b6a.html