Sunday, October 18, 2015

Gender….It’s COMPLEX

After our discussion about complicated and complex, I would like to state that gender identity is COMPLEX.  I choose to use the word complex because as we said in class complicated means that it has a solution, and I do not think of gender as something we have to solve.  I looked at the publication date as I read chapter 6, Understanding Youth was copyrighted in 2006 and my version was printed in 2015.  As I read I notice Nakkula & Toshalis broke chapter 6 into three main sections: a section on female gender, male gender and then a section titled “Coming out and up from Under” (pg 114).  This section was added because of its (sexual orientation) “relationship to gender identity development” (pg. 114).  At this point I was very disappointed but I read on.  

I was disappointed because I was looking for the section about gender identity and how it differs from biological sex.  There was no mention at all of the many different gender roles that are present in society, or the struggles of people from the transgender community.  If you want to begin to understand the complexity of gender identity take a look IMPACT's Gender Identity Map.  This is a great resource, and just the tip of the iceberg of understanding gender identity.  Nakkula & Toshalis says that “optimal learning requires the presence of intact, fully present students.  If parts of our students are closeted and hidden underground, we all lose out” (pg. 115).  If we want our students to express themselves above ground then we need to make sure that our community/society is safe and supportive.  We can’t control the whole world, but we can make sure our classrooms, our schools and our community are safe places for all students to be fully present and intact.  

(Just a reminder from Fall 2014)

Saturday, October 3, 2015

What is FAIR? 

There was a lot in chapter 4 and 5, many citings and quoting of different theorist, it reminded me of the Dodd’s 4th stage of teach.  What really caught my attention was one small part of chapter 5 though.  FAIRNESS.  When I asked the parents of my students to fill out information about their child over 75% of them mentioned that what most upset their child was feeling like something was unfair, or that they were being treated unfairly by a friend, sibling or adult.  On page 89 Nakkula & Toshalis mentioned “adolescent’s overriding concern for fairness.”  The reciting of the common saying life’s not fair, deal with it doesn’t seem to work.  But I think that a candid conversation on fairness with adolescents would greatly impact their perception.  It is hard to go from a point of view that everything must be fair (they should share their toys because that is fair, or they should take turns because that is fair) to a point of view that fairness does not mean everything is equal.  “Questions about fairness can become growth-promoting discussions about relationships, needs, and negotiations” (pg 89).

It is hard for me to find time in my teaching day to host “classroom discussions… to unpack issues of causality, responsibility, and ethics,” but I understand the importance and I will continue to strive to make it part of my instruction.  I often wish that I was teaching literature or history, so that I could tie these conversations into my content, but I don’t, so I have to find ways to tie it into math and science.  Because no matter what content we teach “participating in the co-construction of youth’s relational development can be extremely gratifying…” (pg 90).  

Fair Isn't Equal by Richard Curwin (Edutopia)