Gender Respect Project 2013-2016

Aiming to help children and young people to understand, question and challenge gender inequality and violence.

Adults modelling respect for each other is so important

At a meeting today Helen suggested I put in writing something I observe in schools everyday.

I consider myself lucky to be in a school where the adults recognise that children observe how the adults in the school interact with each other. There seems little point preparing PSHE lessons in schools where the adults have little or no respect for each other.

It’s pointless the children hearing what is taught but seeing the adults doing the complete opposite. This confuses them and it may result in children starting to copy this behaviour themselves.

Schools that have a mixture of male and female staff have to be very wary that they do not send the message that ‘it’s the male staff who deal with behaviour’.

Behaviour should be addressed by the member of staff who is dealing with it, with other staff in a supportive role offering their presence but not being seen to take over.

Schools are not looking for superheros who come charging in to the rescue undermining everyone else in the process. The child seeing that the female dinner supervisor is dealing with it helps the child understand that all staff, whether female or male, teacher or not, are capable of managing behaviour. This respect for all the adults then influences how the child perceives the different genders in school.

I also think female staff can help male staff by helping to get across the caring side of male staff to pupils and male staff can help by getting across the message that female staff are more than capable of taking a lead on behavioural issues.

Challenging the ‘Wait til your dad gets home’ message, or the threat of ‘If you don’t behave I will send you to Mr….’ is key to challenging gender stereotypes in schools.

These gender perceptions are not healthy for any community and in my experience males in schools don’t want to be perceived as uncaring.

On the flip side I think female members of staff don’t need or want people undermining their authority by children seeing males as the only ones in authority. That’s why I like the phrase TEAM TEACH.

Behaviour should always be managed by a TEAM.

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