Conducting our workshop was a great experience for us. We had a lot of fun interacting with the students, finding out what all they know about sex and sexuality and see them slowly come out of their shells.
The ice-breaking video made the class 8 students very shy. They felt uncomfortable in coming to the front of the class and describing words from ‘Describe It’ by themselves. Seeing them refrain, we had to describe a few words for them ourselves.
The presence of their Biology teacher also played a part in making them feel awkward, and while she was in the class their interaction with us was limited. However, after she stepped out, the students gradually opened up.
Playing ‘Myth & Match’ proved to be a big success. The students started talking to each other about the myths and were eager to find out whether their guesses were correct or not.
Class 11 students were much more comfortable with the workshop in general. In an attempt to make the experience more open and casual, we removed all the tables and made them sit in a cluster. They were laughing away while the ice-breaking video was playing, were familiar with the words from ‘Describe It’ and keen to go in front of the class and play the game. They could quickly guess most of the words and enthusiastically took part in the discussions that these words sparked. Even while playing Myth & Match, most of them made correct choices or guesses while deciding which statements were true.
The anonymous question answer session was very interesting for both classes. This activity made us realize that they do have a lot of queries regarding these topics. The questions ranged from vague queries to specific ones. It reinforced the fact that the students had a variety of opinions and doubts about sex and sexuality, doubts that they could not ask everyone around them. Their sources of information had been their peers and the internet. Hence they welcomed any assurance from someone older yet close to their age and preferred talking to young adults like us or their friends over teachers or parents.
The fact that speaking to the adults around the students (parents and teachers) was difficult for them also reflected in the feedback forms. More than half of the students said they preferred speaking to young adults and/or their peers about sex and sexuality over their parents. The feedback we got was very positive too; it was a huge boost for our confidence! All students said that they learnt something new and almost all of them said that the workshop was fun.
There was stark difference in the students’ behaviour between the start of the workshop and its end. From shying away from even saying the word ‘sex’ out loud to asking questions about it without inhibition in a matter of one and a half hours told us that they were eager to know more; that they believed in the benefits of sex and sexuality education. The most satisfying bit for us, was sensing that the students had started trusting us.