The Boys’ Talk lesson (see Secondary lesson plans) was trialled with a Y10 class of 13 pupils (9 male and 2 female), all deemed of fairly low ability.
They engaged well with discussions about harassment and sexual harassment, coming up with good ideas and examples. When looking at the ‘Vital Statistics’ from Everyday Sexism (by Laura Bates), there were some derogatory comments about India.
The script provoked a lot of discussion, with several boys saying this was an unlikely conversation, that boys did not talk like this, that they would not get involved etc. When asked, the girls confirmed that ‘slag’ was the most common word they heard around school attached to girls. The boys seemed to think that a girl was a slag from the way she dressed. A definition was given for the word slag ‘A woman who people disapprove of because she has had a lot of sexual partners.’ (Cambridge English Dictionary) and that this had nothing to do with dress.
For the plenary, comments about what the pupils had learned were:
‘Harassment is very bad and needs to stop.’
‘What sexual harassment is.’
‘The meaning of different types of harassment.’
‘I have learned what harassment is and how to stop it.’
‘I learned today what (slag) means.’
‘You can also in school if it is something of discriminating women.’
‘I have learned what is the importance of women and how to treat them.’
In discussion afterwards, Rebecca felt she needed to do more with them on how to challenge views without escalating into a fight (a concern amongst the boys) and to find ways to give the girls more of a voice and get the boys to see issues from their perspectives. She felt that these pupils were used to seeing issues in extremes, and perhaps a topic like FGM might get consensus on what is ‘wrong’ in gender relations and build from there.