I am researching PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic wellbeing!) and would be interested to hear parent's viewpoints on the subject. In Secondary schools, PSHE is taught as a subject in it's own right but should also be included in subjects across the board. For instance, one way would be to relate the subject ie languages, to the workplace; another would be to personalise learning to the child's ability (including challenges).
Is PSHE effective in your child's school?
Do you know how it is included in the curriculum?
Your children's viewpoints are also valuable to me.
I'm 16, and I've had PSHE lessons since Year 7. Now it's changed so we have a PSHE day every once in a while. It's the day everyone tries to skip.
To me the whole thing is pointless. Occasionally we do genuinely useful things, but really they could be fitted into the curriculum elsewhere. Lessons usually consist of watching videos about drugs, alcohol, job interviews or personal hygiene. They get the same policeman to repeatedly visit and do the same talks about generic boring topics. All other lessons are spent 'making a CV'. We spent about a month on CVs in Year 9, despite the fact hardly anyone had stuff to put on it. Then we have 'time management' type lessons where they give us a timetable and tell us to plan our homework or whatever. We did this continuously for months in year 10 with a teacher that couldn't control us. Basically chaos.
There have been useful things, like learning about drink driving and having to drive a go-kart with a beer goggles, and interesting talks from school visitors. Most of the time though it's regarded as a complete and utter waste of time.
But what do I know. The teachers will say that it taught me stuff, but tbh most of PSHE is common sense. I am skeptical of it as a subject.
I agree with DustDustDust.
I teach Secondary Science, and taught PSHE to some Y7&8 classes a few years ago.
PSHE exists for the kids whose parents can't/can't be arsed to tell them about managing revision for exams, managing money, writing a CV, sex Ed (emotional AND physical) and all the other shite that's expected to be taught by non specialists, with no time provided for planning, and almost no budget to get specialists in.
As is evident from Dust's post, the kids know it's a loads of bollocks too!!!!
My DS isn't yet secondary age, so feel free to ignore: he describes PSHE as "circle time for grown ups". I have seen nothing from his once a week sessions that was either essential or better covered elsewhere.
But it's probably important to have the odd "soft" session to stop a school being too pressurized. The thing I would like to see included is a first aid course.
Thank you Onimolap! I am interested in your comment as those of us at secondary schools are led to beleive primary is all about PSHE!
The primary stages are crucial in the development of understanding ones self particularly in relation to others (relationships!). I wonder, if like at secondary schools, PSHE is subtle?
What do you think?
Thank you dustdustdust!
Your comments really interest me! In an ideal world PSHE should be incorporated across the curriculum adding relevance to the subjects. I agree with you - that is the point of PSHE!
I totally agree that most PSHE lessons (per se) are common sense! The older you get, the more common sense they are - to most people.
Effective PSHE should relate across the curriculum not be isolated to a lesson on it's own. In my own school the younger kids love it because they feel like they are missing a lesson - although to be fair - it does lead to some interesting discussions and quite a bit of myth busting.
However, I am not sure show much is retained post-lesson as it is not personalised.
I know subject teachers rarely include it in planning - they should!
Considering your age and experience of PSHE what do you think could be done to give it value?
Not very effective in dd's school tbh; after 2 years, dd (who is gifted and has a generally very positive attitude towards school) feels she still doesn't really know what the subject is for- same topics get covered better elsewhere. The other week, they had a Show and Tell, about Something You Love, which she thought was very risky, considering how easily vulnerable teens might reveal too much and set themselves up for laughing stocks. Teacher doesn't seem to realise difference between 4yos and 14yos. Fortunately, most of them did it very lightheartedly- but could have gone badly wrong. Practical topics like filling in a CV would be fine- but what dd is getting seems very haphazard.
Thanks Meow 75,
How did/would you incorporate PSHE in Science?
Have asked my elder DC (16 and 14) what they think of PSHE and the response was:
"Shit" (My eloquent 16 year old)
"What like tutor time? Yeah our teacher can never be bothered" (14 year old)
I know they do citizenship stuff in each of their subjects such as the 14 year old has just done about drug awareness in Science.
They also have lessons about preparing for adult life where they learn about sex, drugs, alcohol, work, careers, parenting etc.
However, according to 14 year old attendance is always poor to this as most people don't see the point.
The principles of PSHE are to prepare students for life after school (inclusding descision making and building self-confidence) through self knowledge and understanding the importance of relationships. It is supposed to give value to learning by relating it to real life.
Don't you think it is disappointing then that nothing appears to have changed. Kids often tell me they 'can't see the point' of various subjects.
PSHE should not just be about drugs and sexual relationships!
Thank you to the 14 and 16 years old!
I appreciate the honesty.
Am now depressed!
Is PSHE just another 'lip service' strategy?
Tbh, I think that if it was made more relevant then it would welcomed more by the students.
The only time I have heard ever of them say something good about it was when they got a group of ex-students in to talk to them about what they'd done with their lives.
My 14 year old said it was really inspirational and she was totally taken with one of the students who had gone on to work in forensics.
This is now her life plan!
I already do - teaching reproduction to Y7 at the mo, they ask about the emotional side of things anyway, so I have to make the choice of whether to allow time in my lessons for them or just ignore them and plough through my lesson plan, and I'm certainly not going to do that.
In my experience, when it comes to teaching about sex, Science teachers are pretty happy to answer any of the questions that kids want to ask, even if they are only doing it to get a laugh, because some pretty serious stuff can come out of a joke question. That's not to say that teachers of other subjects aren't happy to teach about sex Ed, but I think it's something that Science teachers are well prepared for. In most state schools now, at KS3 level, there is no such thing as subject specialisms, we are all just Science teachers, not Bi, Chem or Phys, and as such we all need to be prepared to take our turn.
i've seen it called many things in different schools i taught in. i've never seen the E stand for economic before though - bizarre.
my personal feeling is that it should be a lot more focussed on mental health and emotional wellbeing - prevention stuff. teaching kids about self esteem, anxiety, anger management, how stress effects you, exploring the ways in which one takes care of themselves physically, mentally, emotionally etc for wellbeing. i think some basic cbt education wouldn't go amiss.
i find it a bit stunning that we still have people who end up in casualty because they think they're having a heart attack because they never knew what a panic attack was, what it felt like and how to stop it. so yes anxiety/stress/anger management, assertion, social skills, what makes a healthy life etc to me would be far more important things to explore and use this time for given that we are near epidemic with mental health problems in our society.
i also belief that if you teach about assertion, self esteem, decision making, risk assessment etc that makes far more of an impact on sexual health, teen pregnancy, bullying, drug problems etc than people realise as all of these things are about how healthy/happy/self aware people are.
The teachers seem to think it's rubbish too. Some of them force the lesson at it, because it's their job I suppose, but I know one teacher let her class do homework instead. It just seems so pointless. I got good GCSEs, I care about school, but even I feel like there's no point bothering with PSHE.
Considering your age and experience of PSHE what do you think could be done to give it value?
Hmm...I think more practical and applicable things would be better. After seeing a million videos on drugs, you begin to tune them out. Lessons on First Aid, cooking, and mock job/uni interviews would be useful. Instead of videos, getting actual people to talk to us is better. Sex ed is fine. Maybe debates and discussions about alcohol? At my school they just gave us worksheets about how alcohol would kill you, and everyone just ignored them. For careers, they could get people from specific fields to talk to us, like a lawyer, doctor, dog groomer, entrepreneur etc etc. It would be interesting even if you didn't want a job of that sort. And any lessons on Fairtrade produce need to be more varied! I feel like I've had the exact same lesson every few months since Year 4!
Also I think they should realise that different ages need different PSHE lessons. We had lessons on uni applications in year 8, and hygiene lessons in Year 11. If a 15-year-old hasn't yet figured out that you should have regular showers and wash your hands after going to the bathroom, then there's no helping them. And who knows whether they'll go to University in Year 8?!
Whole thing needs to be sorted out, IMO. I only go to the lessons because we fail our Welsh Baccalaureate if we don't.
Nelleh, when dd says she can't see the point I think she means it literally: that there is no clear structure to the subject, that the targets have not been set out clearly, that lessons do not appear to have been thoroughly planned, that noone has ever told them what the course is supposed to achieve, that the teacher appears not to have thought it through. I am sure she would see the benefits of a subject with a clearer course structure. She was very impressed by the carefully planned and thought out Health Awareness Week in Yr 6.
I agree completely with cory & her daughter. The seemingly random structure of lessons wasn't appreciated and we never went into the class knowing what we'd be doing. They'd say "Oh, PC Jones is here today to talk about alcohol. Now be quiet!" Then next lesson we'd go in and have to write out everything we ate in the past week to see how healthy it was. It was all very scattered. =S
my dd who is 15 told me that phse was
"Clymidia and God in that order"
they are forced to do a GCSE in it- ethics and philosophy- she got 28% in it on purpose.
it really does bring out the worst in her. One teacher told her to draw a picture of God. She has no religion so refused to participate. Her view is that she has spent since the age of 4 celebrating every religious festival in the known world- she understands religious sensitivity but feels that at 15 her views- ie she does not beleive in any god or religion should be respected and she should be left to get on with her life.
oh and very helpfully a video of an abortion was shown to them so she has told me if she gets pregnant, she would definitely keep it. she has learnt how to put a condom on a cucumber as well so all very useful
on the plus side she has recognised that quite a lot of people do not have the live and let live attitude we have and there are lots of right wing people in the world and indeed her school.
I teach secondary English and occasionally in the past have been given the odd PSHCE lesson to teach.
And that's the problem really, I don't think it's often taught by specialists. The curriculum is odd, fragmented and taught by people who don't really want to be doing it.
I do think it could have value as a subject, I do wish I had been able to throw myself into teaching those lessons, but I did the best I could under the circumstances. I also found students behaviour MUCH worse in those lessons than in my English lessons; students just saw it as pointless. I know, I know, it was my job to make them see otherwise. But my actual job was ENGLISH TEACHER!
I teach it. Most of us do in my school. I teach year 9. We cover personal safety, relationship and sex ed including contraception and homosexuality, personal finance, careers and human rights. There are coherent schemes of learning - we don't make stuff up as we go along. We have special ground rules for class discussions and I find the lessons very illuminating with regards to the attitudes and opinions of 14 year olds. I enjoy the lessons very much. My job is teacher. Usually, but not exclusively, science teacher.
In my DCs' school it is 25 mins/4 days a week. I have to say I think it's a waste of time. I have heard (at a Y7 induction session) that some forms take in cake! The school has now changed to vertical tutoring. My older DS says that, even if they do ever do anything in PHSE that his form hasn't covered before, he would not want to discuss it in front of Y7 children, especially drugs/sex.
The school does not seem to have any specific curriculum for these lessons, so to me it is just a waste of nearly 2 hours of teaching time per week. I cannot see the point of it, and while we're discussing this, can anyone tell me exactly what "competence curriculum" is supposed to be, please, because that seems to be another case of wasting teaching time in Y7/8? Thanks.
Bloody hell, I wish I was like that Madonna -clearly I am a bit crap. Part of it was definitely the schemes of work but I hold my hands up, I didn't want to be doing it. Strange really as we discuss most if not all of those issues somewhere along the line in English and I love it. I like the idea of the subject, I honestly just hated teaching it.
I think the day I lost it with PSHCE was the day I was in a Year 7 lesson discussing division of housework and watched open-mouthed as it turned into a joyful critique of their various au pairs (lazy, thieving, can't cook etc.). I asked them to go home, do a job around the house without being asked, and write down the reaction they received. The reaction the task received was disbelief.
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