Teaching Students with a Broad Range of Experiences

In this section, Dr. Brittany Charlton shares her insights about teaching students with a broad range of background experiences. She shares a strategy for eliciting students’ relevant experiences and describes how she uses this information to facilitate classroom discussions.

Students bring a broad range of experiences to the course. For some students, this is the first time they are engaging with how sex-linked biology differs from gender. Other students have yet to think about health in an academic context. With good facilitation, these diverse groups of students can teach one another.

I have each student fill out a “registration” form at the beginning of the semester outlining their relevant experience so that I can “warm call” on these individuals to help lead a class discussion. For example, I usually have a few students enrolled who are also peer sex educators. I may tell these students ahead of time that I’ll be calling on them (i.e., “warm call”) to help me outline a sexual health topic, such as how a couple may navigate the power dynamics of condom negotiation.

A few times throughout the semester, students are also asked to grade themselves on participation so the whole group can use that as an opportunity to think through other ways to engage students who may be struggling to participate.