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A multiple case study based on action-oriented sexuality education: Perspectives of the Portuguese teachers

Teresa Vilaça (University of Minho, Braga, Portugal)

Health Education

ISSN: 0965-4283

Article publication date: 3 January 2017




The purpose of this paper is to discuss teachers’ practices, barriers and facilitating factors associated with a regional school-based action-oriented sexuality education (SE) project with the use of information and communication technology.


This qualitative research was anchored in a constructivist paradigm, set up as a multiple case study (six schools) with exploratory aims. Observation, teacher group interview, online class-diaries and contents of the project website were used for data collection. Cross-case analysis was carried out following single case analyses.


It was found that when teachers attend in-service teacher education and training they develop professional competences to act as facilitators of students’ inquiry-based learning on action-oriented knowledge and on carrying out collective actions to promote sexual health and well-being. Collaborative and reflexive work among teachers emerged as a facilitator factor and SE integration in the school curriculum as the principal barrier.

Research limitations/implications

The results of the cross-case analysis of this qualitative research based on single cases developed in their own social contexts can only be generalized with caution to other similar contexts.

Practical implications

Despite the limitations of this study, it has great importance for both research and practice as it contributes to the evidence regarding the implementation of the combined action of the democratic approach (participatory and action-oriented) and the use of ICT on SE.


This paper provides important information for those working on school health education projects, particularly considering how action-oriented SE is applied in different contexts.



This study was funded by the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia-FCT (Foundation for Science and Technology) in the ambit of the Research Fellowship in foreign countries SFRH/BSAB/113780/2015, and conducted in collaboration with the AU IDEAS Pilot Centre Schools for Health and Sustainability, at the School of Education, Aarhus University, Denmark. It was also funded by Fundo Europeu de Desenvolvimento Regional (FEDER) through the COMPETE 2020 – Programa Operacional Competitividade e Internacionalização (POCI) in the CIEC (Research Centre for Child Studies at the University of Minho) with POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007562 reference.


Vilaça, T. (2017), "A multiple case study based on action-oriented sexuality education: Perspectives of the Portuguese teachers", Health Education, Vol. 117 No. 1, pp. 110-126.



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