Tag Archives: Declaration of Education

Notes from Jennifer Bryan’s presentation about Gender and Sexual Diversity Education. #edchat


Jennifer Bryan, Ph.D. presented about Gender and Sexual Diversity today to faculty in grades 5-8.

Jennifer began her presentation with a quote by Erwin Schrödinger:
Thus, the task is, not so much to see what no one has yet seen; but to think what nobody has yet thought, about that which everybody sees.
These are the four questions Jennifer used to guide her presentation:
What does gender identity development (GID) look like in Pre K-12 kids?
What does sexual idendity development (SID) look like in Pre K-12 kids?
How does gender and sexuality manifest every day at school?
What should your educational response be to gender and sexuality diversity (GSD)?
Gender  – does not equal biological sex but does include gender identity, gender expression, gender roles, gender variability, transgender, transsexual, gender queer, transitioning…
Sexuality – sexual orientation/attraction, sexual identity, sexual behavior, queer
Can The School’s educational philosophy support the following premise:
People of all sexualities and gender identities have equal worth and deserve equal status in safety, voice, affimation, and curricular represenation in our school.
Jennifer suggests we need a new diagram of sex and gender which includes scales (like number lines) with the spectrums below. Essentially these can be verbalized as: What I was born with, how I express myself on the inside, how I express myself on the outside, and who I choose to pair with.  Also, the underlying spectrum needs to recognize <– asexual – sexual –> …
Biological Sex (anatomy, choromosomes, hormones)
<– male — intersex — female –>
Gender Identity (physical sense of self)
<– man — two-spirited/bigendered — woman –>
Gender Expression (communication of gender and gendered traits)
<– masculine — androgynous — feminine –>
Attraction/Sexual Orientation (erotic and/or romantic response)
<– attracted to women — attracted to two or more genders — attracted to men –>

We talked about if you had to put a marker on the scales to represent where we stand, some may be very static with the placement of their marker, while others more latitude (or require a very wide marker). We also talked about how until a girl becomes a sexual object, they have a bigger window to explore their sexual identity, while society is quick to respond (often negatively or with concern) to boys exploring their identity.

Heteronormative/Heteronormativity – the expectation that the majority and the ideal is a specific type of male-female pairing…anything else is considered “other.”

Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE): The Sum of Its Parts
Pre K-2: families, friendships, feelings, differences, respect
3-4: individual development, streotypes, diversity
5-6: human anatomy, reproduction, cultures, prejudice
7-8: puberty, emotions, drugs, healthy relationships
9-12: values clarification, birth control, abstinence options, conflict resolution, sexual decision making
We broke up into groups to examine some case scenarios. The first is about an androgynous 6th grade girl, Christy, who is separating herself from her classmates; The rest of the grade is beginning to negotiate the boy/girl social dynamics inside and outside of class, while Christy is socially awkward anyway and not joining in on any conversation about adolescent development. The second is about Liam, a 7th grade boy who is creating a big stir about “coming out” – though in a disruptive way. A parent of another 7th grade boy, Stephen, approaches a teacher and says that she’s upset by the grade being taken over by the Liam’s declaration, especially as Liam is a kind of annoying kid anyway.

My group discussed the second scenario. I personally prefer that my students stay on the asexual side of the spectrum for as long as possible. Yet, clearly kids need a forum to navigate what’s okay and not okay and seek counsel from people they trust. Besides their own internal conflicts, sometimes their questions arise as a result of what they see in the media (movies, ads, TV).

So in this scenario, we have a kid who is out there in a way that his classmates aren’t. What to do? Since we had to role play, I thought it would be funny to write a short script where the parent gets four different reponses based on The Four Sons from the seder: the wise son, the wicked son, the simple son, and the one who cannot ask (though with more gender neutrality):

  1. The Wise One: What exactly do you mean by this Liam’s thing. What are you hearing from your son? We would love to support your son and talk this through.
  2. The Wicked One: What are you doing at home to support your child’s homophobia?
  3. The Simple One: I can’t help you. This is not my area of expertise.
  4. The One Who Cannot Ask: I have no idea what you are talking about. This is the first I’m hearning of it.

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TeachIn11 on May 10th is being launched by @chrislehmann at SXSW & @dfaufenberg at NJECC

binary apples

As an attendee of Educon, I received a pretty exciting email from Chris Lehmann (@chrislehmann) today. Chris is the principal of the Science Leadership Academy where Educon has been held for the last 4 years. It was about the upcoming Great American Teach-in (GATI) on May 10, 2011 where the primary focus is engaging, recruiting, and supporting student voices in the ongoing discussions and debates about the future of education.

In Chris’s words (on behalf of the Planning Team of the Great American Teach-In):  

At root, the Teach-In is a day to remind ourselves and our students that citizenship means asking questions, finding answers and standing up for what you believe in…and that education must mean that too. Every classroom, every student, every school… drafting a declaration of education.

Using the Declaration of Independence as a primary source document, we will ask all learners, at all levels, to draft their declarations of educational rights. Using provided protocols, participants will work together to draft their next steps for discussing, advocating, securing and maintaining those rights. Using modern tools, participants can post their declarations alongside thousands of students, teachers and parents from all over the country.

Below, I copied information about how to participate in http://www.declarationofeducation.com:

How to Participate

Participation in this event will have three general phases.

1. Preparation

The key piece of participating is to talk with your classes and your community, and to create your declarations. These essential questions and icebreakers can help provide a starting point for the conversation. If you are doing this event in your classroom, feel free to share your plans so other people can use them or be inspired by them.

If you are going to participate, add yourself to the participant list.

If you want to set up an event within your community, add it to the calendar.

If you have a blog, write about your thoughts and preparations on your blog, and tag these posts with the term teachin11. Your post will be aggregated into this site.

2. The Teach In

The date selected for the Teach In is May 10, 2011. At the risk of stating the obvious, you should schedule your Teach In for the time that makes the most sense for you and your learning community.

The essential questions and community-generated teaching resources can help get you started structuring your event.

Feel free to add your event to the calendar.

3. Reporting Back, and Next Steps

Once you have held your event, tell the world about it!

If you have a blog, write about your experiences on your blog, and tag them with the term teachin11. Your post will be aggregated into this site.

If you do not have a blog, there are multiple ways for you to share your participation. Choose the one that works best for you.

Write a Declaration of Education, and share it on this site.

  • Describe your event, and your thoughts about it, by adding it directly to this web site.
  • Make a video about your Teach In, and upload it to to YouTube. Tag it with the term teachin11.
  • Upload images to Flickr. Tag your picture with the term teachin11.

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