Strategies for Answering Student Questions

This post on strategies for answering student questions is the fourth in a series of nine topics requested by puberty educators.

This post on strategies for answering student questions is the fourth in a series of nine topics requested by puberty educators.

Teachers answer a million questions every day (not much exaggeration in this statement). Yet, when it comes to answering questions during puberty classes, they often express nervousness. These are a few reasons teachers might feel anxious about answering student questions during puberty classes:

  • Fear of not knowing the answers
  • Feelings of personal embarrassment
  • Concern about giving information that is not developmentally appropriate
  • Uncertainty about what they are allowed to say
  • Avoidance of conflict, criticism, and controversy

All these reasons are valid. Yet, when teachers feel anxious and fearful, they tend to avoid answering student questions. That means that students are not getting answers from their trusted adult, and that’s a problem. In worst-case situations, students might feel shamed and silenced for even asking questions. When students don’t get answers to their questions from a reliable source like their teachers, they will turn to other sources, such as their peers and popular media, including porn. We can all agree that these other sources are not reliable and can perpetuate misinformation and biases.

Support for Teachers Answering Student Questions

One important way school leaders can support teachers who teach puberty education is to provide them with an approved curriculum and a policy for answering student questions. This lets teachers know what is expected of them and what is off limits when answering student questions. Then, teachers can teach with confidence that their administration will support them if a controversy arises.

Another important step is to provide teachers with the professional development they need to practice their skills for answering student questions. Perhaps a self-paced online training, such as the one offered by Puberty: The Wonder Years will increase teacher confidence and competence.

Three Strategies

These strategies can be a useful starting point:

  1. Identify fact questions versus opinion questions
  2. Know your goal and keep it short and simple
  3. Apply best practice for answering student questions

Video Discussion

Watch this video to learn more about these Strategies for Answering Student Questions.


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