Reconstructing Social Norms – Inside Out

web-tile1-326x158This article was first published in the PPTA News – Nov/Dec 2015

Inside Out is a new video-based learning resource to help increase understanding and support the teaching and acceptance of gender and sexuality diversity.

With funding from the Ministry of Social Development, the resource has been a collaborative project between RainbowYOUTH, Core Education, University of Auckland and Curative. The videos feature a wide range of New Zealanders with diverse genders and sexualities.

The resource has been launched across New Zealand in the past few months with events being hosted in Auckland, Dunedin, Wellington, Nelson, Hamilton and Whangarei, with more to come. Alongside these launch events, professional development workshops have been offered targeting teachers that might use the resource in their classrooms.

The resource is aligned with the objectives of the health curriculum including fostering healthy communities, sexual health, sexuality education, interpersonal skills and attitudes. It will help teachers and schools in implementing the new Sexuality Education Guidelines released earlier this year.

The pedagogical approach of Inside Out is based around critical thinking and norm-challenging.

Social ‘norms’ are constructed over time and determine what is considered normal, natural and desirable as well what is not. As the notes for the resource says “while not all norms are problematic, norms that construct other diverse sex, gender and sexual identities as ‘abnormal’ and ‘undesirable’ are the basis for transphobia and homophobia.” The resource is about challenging these norms and constructing new norms that affirm diversity.

In turn, the approach will help students to critically consider the world around them and build empathy.

The resource is freely available online with different formats that target years 7-8 and years 9-13. Accompanying lesson resources, class discussion prompts, and glossaries will help to deliver the content and make teachers more confident with the material.

The importance of teaching this content is captured by the tagline for Inside Out: “we all belong”. Schools can be difficult places for students with diverse genders and sexulities. Teaching our students to celebrate diversity and accept one another is an important part of making our schools and communities safer for all.

– Jerome Cargill – PPTA Rainbow Taskforce Member

Inside Out and InsideOUT

A small amount of confusion may exist around the apparent cross over between Inside Out and InsideOUT. To clarify: InsideOUT is a national organisation working to make schools and communities safer for young people of diverse sexualities, sexes and genders. They work alongside young people to set up queer straight alliance/diversity groups in schools and run awareness campaigns like the Day of Silence. Inside Out is video-based teaching resource discussed in this article. It’s a case of ‘great minds think alike’ and both have an important role in making our schools and communities safer.

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