Category Archives: 1.1 Social Justice

How racism and sexism affect our society

On Tuesday 25th, week 3 we had a lecture for our Values module. Within this we explored racism and patriarchy. Both of which linked back to developing our sociological imaginations and how they affect us as teahers.

At the start of the session we were looking into Racism and its history. The idea that racism is still engraved into the cultures around us surprised me. Further research in to this topic showed that the ideologies surrounding this can be linked back to old views and opinions of people based on the colour of their skin. I was shocked to hear about Emmet Till’s story and the effect it had on society at that time. The way that Emmet was killed over false accusations and his attackers not being charged, all because they had different skin colours really struck me. I was, however, more shocked to hear that this kind of behaviour was still going on in our country in the late 20th century. Stephen Lawrence’s story highlighted how the Metropolitan Police deemed his case and others unworthy of their full attention. A later investigation showed that this was a result of the culture institution racism within the police fource. From this processes have been instigated within public bodies to persure race equality. It is important for us as teachers to understand this and link it to the standards set out by the GTC Scotland (General Teaching Council for Scotland).

The second half of the lecture was spent looking at Patriarchy. What struck me most in this section was when we looked at sexism, as it made me look back at my past experiences and the culture I was brought up in and analyse where sexism was present within this. One of the things that I remembered was the school uniforms we wore in primary and high school and how they differed for male and female students. Within primary boys were given the option of trousers or shorts, where many chose trousers everyday. However girls primarily wore skirts and only a select few wore trousers, but this wasn’t the suggested uniform guidelines. I have to say at the time I didn’t think much of this. Although when I was in high school things stared to even out more and while boys still had the same two options it was more common for girls to wear trousers at school. In saying this my school had two manikins that they linked to show at the front door and bring out for any parent teacher events. The manikins were dressed in the ideal school uniform one for girls and one for boys. While the boys was standard; shirt, tie, trousers and a blazer. The girls one was wearing a; shirt, tie, skirt and blazer. While there was nothing to say that a girl couldn’t wear trousers, the subliminal message was given that boys wore trousers and girls wore skirts, this is strengthening the message that boys and girls are different in many ways, segregating them by what they wear.

The other thing I picked up on was how the media portrays women and men has changed over the years. Before women were thought of as being less important as a man and that they should devote their life to serving the men of the world. This was seen through product advertisements that were centred around the home and always depicted the woman of the house using these products, getting the home ready for the man returning from work. It can also be seen through TV and films, in which the woman was seen as weak and in need of saving, and played second fiddle to the muscular man coming to her rescue. This leaves children with the impression that the boys must grow up to be big and strong, saving the day, while the girls cant achieve anything and should stay at home with the children. While there are still gender stereotypes in the media today there is a growing sense of men and woman being viewed as equal. This can be seen in recent films such as ‘Marvels recent film Black Panther or upcoming film Captain Marvel’, or ‘DC’s Wonder Woman’, or some of the Disney films which are watched by millions around the world. They all show strong female characters as a lead role and achieving success in their goals through hard work and determination. In ‘Black Panther the Wakandan army, ‘Dora Milaje’ is solely made up of women, this helps promotes the idea that women are equal to men and they can do anything they want. The Wakandan Princess ‘Shuri’ is also a strong role model for young girls as she is the head of the technology and science labs in Wakanda, and develops all the machinery used in Wakanda. this helps to enforce the message that girls can also be good at science and mathematics and that they can chose any career they want. This point links back to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programmes that are being emphasised throughout Scottish schools.

Overall this lecture highlighted some key areas to think about when going forth in my teaching career, as it is important to give off the right message to children, especially as they are influenced heavily by the cultures and ideas that surround them everyday. I feel that with more research and reading into these areas I will be able to understand how they link into teaching and what I can do to ensure that I adhere to the GTC standards and current policies surrounding these areas.

Values Workshop – Week 2

On Tuesday of week two, we had our first workshop for the Values module. When we arrived we split into four groups and were set a task of creating something useful to new students, using the materials provided within our packs. Each group got given a different set of materials in their pack, some containing more than others. My group didn’t have much in our pack but created a leaflet on ‘Decoding Dalhousie’ to help new students find their way to the rooms in the building. When we were presenting our ideas to the lecturer he didn’t pay much attention and was very closed off with his body language. Similarly he did this with the other group who had limited resources. When he gave us a low score he made a comment about our product being bad, which made us feel inadequate as we did the best with what we had. His whole demeanour changed when listening to the groups with more resources, as he offered them praise and encouragement.

We discussed how his actions impacted us and he explained that it was an experiment to show how important equality is within our profession. This lead to a discussion on how you would treat different pupils depending on their backgrounds. this experiment enabled us as a class to see the effects of inequality first hand and made me realise just how important it is for children to be treated equally. This allowed us to participate in a discussion about the Social Justice aspect of The Standards for Registration as set out by the General Teaching Council for Scotland. The equality aspect of social justice was our primary focus in this workshop as it allowed us to understand its impact on a child. It is important ot ensure that all children are treated equaly in a class to allow them the best chance to get the most out of their education despite their background.

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Teacher, Lorraine Lapthorne conducts her class in the Grade Two room at the Drouin State School, Drouin, Victoria

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