Human Relationships Education:
A Study of Contrasting Expectations

Year: 1992

Author: Gibson, Ian W., Austin, J., Hodgkinson, W.F.

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Very few involved in the presentation, organisation or consumption of programmes dealing with human relationships, family life, social education, sex, moral or drug education deny the value or the need for such activity in school situations. The stumbling blocks defying consensus however, are those of the content and methodology of the programme. What should be taught? How should it be taught? Who should teach it? These questions arose once again during a study commissioned by the Queensland State Department of Education designed to tap the reactions of the school community to the creation of a new position, the Coordinator of Human Relationships Education. While the purpose of the study was to investigate the feasibility of appointing full time Human Relationships Education Coordinators to all Queensland High Schools, the intent of this paper is to explore the differences in expectations on the programme expressed by the major stakeholder groups participating in the project. In so doing, the difficulties of operationalising the ideal of school community participation in educational decision making is brought sharply into focus at the same time as a very strong point is made for increasing the level of such community participation in order to guarantee an educational product that is both relevant and appropriate for those who participate in it. This study raises for analysis the question of the greater social responsibility expected of school communities in curriculum deliberations during the 1990's.