Afterword: Engaging with Theories in Practice in the Sexuality and Relationships Education Classroom – Some Ways Forward

  • Kathleen Quinlivan
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Gender and Education book series (GED)


The Afterword acknowledges the complexities of engaging with theories in practice in the sexuality education classroom, and considers some ways in which the challenges can be negotiated. I outline the understandable reasons that theory has been seen as largely irrelevant for schooling and classroom cultures that continue to maintain a strong practice orientation, and consider the limitations of the divide between theory and practice continuing to be perpetuated. Then I move on to discuss the possibilities of the ways in which contemporary social science theories reconceptualise theories as practice, and consider the possibilities that this re-conceptualisation provides in making more explicit the ways in which all practices are informed by theories, and considering their implications. I suggest that researchers and teachers can work together to experiment with exploring how understanding contemporary theories as everyday practices can be helpful in re-conceptualising sexuality education encounters. In particular I argue that framing theories as practice can recognise and attend to the ways in which diverse young people are learning about sexualities and relationships in their own lives, and exploring pedagogical approaches for engaging with them in classrooms.


  1. Allen, L. (2015). The Power of Things! A ‘New’ Ontology of Sexuality at School. Sexualities, 18(8), 941–958.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anyon, J. (2009). Theory and Educational Research: Toward Critical Social Explanation. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Ball, S. (2008). The Education Debate: Policy and Politics in the 21st Century. Bristol, UK: Policy Press.Google Scholar
  4. Biesta, G. (2010). Why ‘What Works’ Still Won’t Work: From Evidence-Based Education to Value-Based Education. Studies in Philosophy and Education, 29(5), 491–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cary, L. J. (2004). The Professional Development School Model: Unpacking Knowledge. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 7(4), 319–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Coleman, R., & Ringrose, J. (2012). Introduction: Deleuze and Research Methodologies. In R. Coleman & J. Ringrose (Eds.), Deleuze and Research Methodologies (pp. 1–22). Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Dimitriadis, G., & Kamberelis, G. (2006). Theory for Education. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ebbutt, D., Worrall, N., & Robson, R. (2000). Educational Research Partnership: Differences and Tensions at the Interface Between the Professional Cultures of Practitioners in Schools and Researchers in Higher Education. Teacher Development, 4(3), 319–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ferfolja, T., Jones, C., & Ullman, J. (2015). Understanding Sociological Theory for Educational Practices. Port Melbourne, VIC: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Garland-Levett, S. (2017). Exploring Discursive Barriers to Sexual Health and Social Justice in the New Zealand Sexuality Education Curriculum. Sex Education, 17(2), 121–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hoskins T., & Jones, A. (2013, October 31, Thursday). Object Lessons: ‘Vital Materiality’, Methodology and Indigenous Studies in Education. Te Puna Wananga Research Seminar. Faculty of Education, University of Auckland. Epsom Campus.Google Scholar
  12. Jones, A., & Jenkins, K. (2007). Rethinking Collaboration: Working the Indigene Colonizer Hyphen. In N. Denzin, Y. Lincoln, & L. Tuhiwai-Smith (Eds.), Handbook of Critical and Indigenous Methodologies (pp. 471–485). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  13. Joram, E. (2007). Clashing Epistemologies: Aspiring Teachers’, Practicing Teachers’, and Professors’ Beliefs About Knowledge and Research in Education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 23(2), 123–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Labaree, D. F. (2003). The Peculiar Problems of Preparing Educational Researchers. Educational Researcher, 32(4), 13–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Leahy, D., Burrows, L., McCuiag, L., Wright, J., & Penny, D. (2016). School Health Education in Changing Times: Curriculum, Pedagogies and Partnerships. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Lenz-Taguchi, H. (2009). Going Beyond the Theory/Practice Divide in Early Childhood Education: Introducing an Intra-active Pedagogy. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Nicholls, T. (2017). The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why It Matters. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Quinlivan, K. (2013). The Methodological Im/possibilities of Researching Sexuality Education in Schools: Working Queer Conundrums. Sex Education: Sexuality, Society and Learning, 13(1), 556–569.Google Scholar
  19. Quinlivan, K., Boyask, R., & Carswell, S. (2009). Dynamics of Power and Participation in a School/University Partnership. New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies, 44(1), 65–83.Google Scholar
  20. Quinlivan, K., Rasmussen, M., Aspin, C., Allen, L., & Sanjakdar, F. (2014). Crafting the Normative Sexual Citizen: Queerying the Politics of Race in the New Zealand Sexuality Education Curriculum. Discourse (Special Issue on Queer Theory), 35(3), 393–404.Google Scholar
  21. Renold, E., & Ringrose, J. (2016). Selfies, Relfies and Phallic Tagging: Posthuman Participations in Teen Digital Sexuality Assemblages. Educational Philosophy and Theory. To link to this article: Scholar
  22. Ringrose, J. (2011). Beyond Discourse? Using Deleuze and Guattari’s Schizoanalysis to Explore Affective Assemblages, Heterosexually Striated Space, and Lines of Flight Online and at School. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 43(6), 598–618.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ringrose, J. (2013). Postfeminist Education: Girls and the Sexual Politics of Schooling. Abingdon, Oxon, UK: Routledge.Google Scholar
  24. Ringrose, J. (2016). Postfeminist Media Panics Over Girls’ Sexualisation: Implications for UK Sex and Relationships Guidance and Curriculum. In V. Sunderam & H. Sauntson (Eds.), Global Perspectives and Key Debates in Sex and Relationships Education: Addressing Issues of Gender, Sexuality, Plurality and Power. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  25. Ringrose, J., & Rawlings, V. (2015). Posthuman Performativity, Gender and ‘School Bullying’: Exploring the Material-Discursive Intra-actions of Skirts, Hair, Sluts, and Poofs. Confero: Essays on Education, Philosophy and Politics, 3(2), 80–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rosiek, G., & Gleason, T. (2017). Philosophy in Research on Teacher Education: An Onto-Ethical Turn. In D. J. Clandinin & J. Husu (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Research on Teacher Education (pp. 29–48). London: SAGE Publications.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sundaram, V., Maxwell, C., & Ollis, D. (2016). Where Does Violence Against Women and Girls Work Fit In? In V. Sundaram & H. Sauntson (Eds.), Global Perspectives and Key Debates in Sex and Relationships Education: Addressing Issues of Gender, Sexuality, Plurality and Power (pp. 30–47). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathleen Quinlivan
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations