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Magazine Issue 94: GENDER PART 1
April 2018

This month: Thoughts about gender and learning. Part 2 next time.

Article: Gender
New Resources
Mike's Books
Additional Resources

This Month's Article:

What is Gender?

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What is Gender? Part 1 of a 2-part Article about gender, teaching and learning.

This is a Free Sample Resource

Categories: Article, Questioning, Professional Development, Any Subject, Educators

Tags: Gender Inclusion Equality LGBT+ Bullying

This month and next I'm looking at gender and learning. In part 1 below we'll think about the difference between gender and sexuality. In part 2 the focus will be on topics such as LGBT+ identity in the classroom, gender neutral teaching and same sex schools.

Pink for Boys

Standard 8mm cine film; the vinyl of the home movie world. I'm lucky enough to have footage of me as a toddler and a projector for screening it. I've started digitising the old film and last week found shots of me at the beach in 1968. I'm wearing pink dungarees (clip here). At first I didn't notice or care but slowly I realised what this might mean. It meant that my mother (gods rest her soul) didn't notice or care either. This was the year after The Sexual Offences Act partially decriminalised homosexuality  (for men over 21 and in private) and 3 years before the Nullity of Marriage Act banned same-sex marriage in England and Wales. A time when boys wore blue and girls wore pink. Well, most of them.

Gender is...

...often confused and misrepresented as sexuality. As I am at risk of doing in the above paragraph. Here are some working definitions: 

Gender: an aspect of personal identity comprising attributes, behaviours, roles and biology along the spectrum between (but often focussed only on) masculine and feminine.

Sexuality: the capacity for the physical act of sex; a label to explain the gender or sex of the person you are attracted to.

Sex: one of the binary categories (male or female) into which people are divided and labelled on the basis of the appearance of their primary and secondary reproductive characteristics, usually at birth.

Your gender might be male, female, non-binary, gender-fluid, or something else. It's about who you are. Your sexuality might be lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, asexual or something different. It is about who you are attracted to sexually or romantically.

 

Breaking the Code

14 years before I stared wearing pink at the beach, Alan Turing died from cyanide poisoning. There's a forced link if ever I wrote one. His and others' code-breaking work at Bletchley Park shortened the second world war by 2-4 years and likely saved millions of lives. Convicted for indecency in 1952 he was given the options of imprisonment or probation. He chose the latter which included a course of hormone injections intended to 'cure' him.

Turing lost his security clearance and was barred from entering the US. Talk about an own goal. Some of Turing's research papers were not publicly released until 2012 - such was their use and significance that the UK government could not reveal what they contained until 60 years after they were written. He was that far ahead in his thinking. What if he'd been able to continue his thinking, writing, researching, discovering?

In 2013 he was officially pardoned for his conviction; a process stared 4 years earlier.

Turing was a gay genius living a heteronormative world. Part of his identity (his gender) was unacceptable in the time and place where he lived. His expression of this (his sexuality) got him convicted and may have contributed to his early death.

What's in a Name?

What if your name had 3 syllables but you lived in a world where other people had names with 2? 2-syllable names are normal in this world; they're expected and safe. If you have more or less syllables in yours, you risk exclusion, bullying and intimidation. You'll be the wrong kind of different.

So you decide to shorten your name to fit in. You push your real name deep down inside, you hide it away. When asked, you tell people the short 2-syllable version. They seem happy with that, with you. You're generally accepted, the quiet member of the group.

But whenever you do tell people your short name, it doesn't feel quite right. You don't say it with conviction, with confidence, you can't, it's not all you. So you look down, almost apologising. This name is only two-thirds of who you really are and gradually you become only two-thirds of the person you could be. You're always on your guard in case you let your real name slip out. You're on edge, you use the energy meant for living and learning on self-preservation.

One day you say your real name - the 3-syllable one - by mistake. Everyone in earshot goes quiet. They all look at you. They are frightened, disgusted, angry, upset by you, by your long name. No-one should have a name like that, it's just not normal. Some walk away, others swear at you ('fat-name'; 'greed-name'; over-name'). Eventually you stand there on your own. Everyone has gone. How can you continue to live in this 2-syllable world?

You freeze, unable to act, unable to work this through; your real name, the person you are is not the right fit for this world. You don't have the strength to shout it out or the strength to hold it in. It's damaging you inside, this tension, this conflict, this brutal battle that you fight on both sides...

...but what if your name had 3 syllables and you lived in a world where other people had names with any number of syllables? Or no syllables? What if they were known by a symbol or a gesture or a sound? What if a diversity of names was normal in this world; expected and safe. What if your name, who your really were, just wasn't an issue. What if, like everybody else, you were just another beautiful kind of different?

Gender and Learning

How does an individual's gender identity or sexuality support or inhibit their health, well-being and their ability to teach or learn effectively? We'll look at this in Part 2 next month. For now, here are my top 3 equality questions to get you thinking. Please do send me your thoughts:

1. How do I value myself, regardless of who I am?

2. How do I add value to those around me, regardless of who they are?

3. How do I, little by little, step by step help the world move forward, regardless of obstacles?


New Resources:

Rainbow Thinking

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Rainbow Thinking A Thinking Skills Tool to combine diverse thinking styles into something bigger than the sum of its parts.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Critical Thinking, Thinking Skills, Any Subject, Secondary

Tags: Critical Thinking Analysis Reframing Debate
Free Standard Member Resource: Login or Join for Free to access this resource and others.

Rainbow Thinking PowerPoint

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Rainbow Thinking PowerPoint A Thinking Tool Template in PowerPoint to support Rainbow Thinking.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Critical Thinking, Thinking Skills, Any Subject, Secondary

Tags: Critical Thinking Analysis Reframing Debate
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Diversity Think Sheet

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Diversity Think Sheet A Think Sheet to encourage independent thinking about difference and diversity.

Categories: Think Sheet, Enquiry Thinking, Thinking Skills, PSHE, Junior

Tags: Diversity Similarities Differences
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

 

Mike's Books:

Multiple Intelligences: Diversity in action

Multiple Intelligences in Practice
by Mike Fleetham

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Multiple Intelligences in Practice<br>by Mike Fleetham Book giving a clear introduction to multiple intelligences for all age groups. Addresses differentiation, inclusion, engagement and personalised learning through a single coherent philosophy. Gives you concrete examples and case studies of MI in school and shows how MI principles can help you improve the quality of teaching and learning.

Available in our shop

Find out more
Categories: Book & EBook, Multiple Intelligences, Any Subject, Educators

Tags: Multiple Intelligences CPD

 

Additional Resources:

Thinking Classroom Archive:

POV Thinking

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POV Thinking

A Thinking Skills Tool for developing points of view and using these to gain deeper understanding of information, opinions and contexts. 



Categories: Thinking Tool, Critical Thinking, Thinking Skills, Any Subject, All Ages

Tags: Judgement Evaluation Decision Making
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

PSHE Think Sheet - Rights & Responsibilities

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PSHE Think Sheet - Rights & Responsibilities A Think Sheet of Thinking Classroom ideas for prompting moral and ethical debate.

Categories: Think Sheet, PSHE, RE & Philosophy, Secondary, Thinking Skills

Tags: Values Morality Rights
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Values Think Sheet - Trust

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Values Think Sheet - Trust A new style Think Sheet to help pupils explore the meaning of trust.

Categories: Think Sheet, PSHE, All Ages, Teaching & Learning

Tags: Values Trust
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

 

Books:

How to Transform Your School into an LGBT+ Friendly Place
by Dr Elly Barnes and Dr Anna Carlile

How to Transform Your School into an LGBT+ Friendly Place<br>by Dr Elly Barnes and Dr Anna Carlile Pithy, practical, powerful. A resource to get you started or upgrade what you already do to make your organisation LGBT+ friendly.

Available from Amazon
Mike's Video Review on YouTube

Opens in a New Window
Categories: Suggested Books

Tags: LGBT+ Diversity Inclusion

Websites:

Educate and Celebrate

Educate and Celebrate Encouraging and advocating for all educational establishments to work towards a gender-neutral model in all aspects of school life

http://www.educateandcelebrate.org/

Opens in a New Window
Categories: Websites

Tags: LGBT+ Diversity Inclusion


Next month we think more about gender and learning in Gender Part 2