Reply To: Module 2 – Gender

Ailbhe Harding

I teach in an Educate Together school so, similar to other course participants, gender equality forms a core part of our ethos and is a topic that is both formally and informally reinforced throughout the school on a regular basis. There is no doubt, however, that instances of inequality still manage to creep through into school life, particularly among the older classes. There is rarely any malice behind the behaviour – it’s more a case of societal and traditional influences which the children perceive to be the norm.

One area where I often see this is in PE, particularly when teaching the Dance strand. The boys in the class often shy away from participating, or are too self conscious to do so, because they perceive it to be too girly. I counteract this by showing them the athletic side of dance through YouTube videos of male dancers (e.g. Gene Kelly, Jordan Banjo/Diversity, break dancers, etc.) which emphasise dance as a sport which requires serious strength. We would also explore traditional dances from other countries (particularly as there are dozens of nationalities represented in my school) and explore the history of the dances, which adds a greater sense of meaning and allows the children to respect the roots of it more.

I look forward to introducing some of the resources encountered in this module in my class in September. The “From Where I Stand” resources look excellent and is certainly something that I will be passing on to my colleagues also.


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