Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Gender equality in schools - the motor aspect in the first grade

The discourse on gender equality is complex and when you enter it into the schools it's even stronger in regard to the representation of boys/girls; man/woman roles in the learning materials; the figures we learn about; the language we use in class, the local culture and more.
I've noticed that even in the beginning of first grade the girls (mainly) were unsuccessful in skills that I usually perceive as critical for plays, and it lessened their self confidence. On the same time some of the boys, and fewer girls were embarrassed, yes! In first grade, to dance, to sing and to move with their body, while simultaneously they felt that they are missing out on the fun. But the embarrassment was stronger than them.

In my class I'm a huge believer in equality and the education for equality- in opportunities, success, experiencing, behavioral. I express my education for equality through my language (Hebrew is a gender based language), by braking cultural rules, in complex discussions and more.
In this post I want to present to you five skills, that in my opinion are important to establish the class' culture of tolerance, peer learning and gender equality and influence on:
  1. The individual's conducts in class- self esteem, involvement, stand up, discourse culture, listening and group work.
  2. Social interactions.
  3. The class' self value- as a group.
The skills are:
  1. Running- it seems that everybody can run, but it's quite a wonder that girls run slower and get tired faster, not because they can't but because they are not used to it. Most of them don’t "run like boys".
    I think it is caused by the environmental feed backs, and I'm working hard to create a free fun running space and games.
  2. Throw and catch a ball (in different sizes) is a weak skill for some of the children, mainly- girls, but not only.  The question is why?
    • Not enough opportunities.
    • Fear from the ball (various reasons).
    • Problems with regulating power.
    The lack of this skill affects their ability to play, to catch and to feel equal. it's very easy to change it- playing a lot of catch games, learning different opening strikes (volleyball, net ball, basketball etc.).
  3. Climbing and jumping- I combine this two actions together, although they require different skills, because they improve our strength, jump abilities, improvisation and creativity, while at the same time they build confidence and posture.
    In our school we have a playground, and we are playing there once a week with various challenge and obstacle course games.
  4. Dancing, creative movement- the age of embarrassment is decreasing every year, and children who even once heard a remark on this subject, or someone has "fixed" their dance, or think by themselves they don’t know how to dance look at their friends with anticipation. The solution is to expose them to a vast variety of improvisations, drumming games, rhythm and music games, while simultaneously giving them reinforcements so they will participate and dance.
    Boys are usually more embarrassed, but when the environment is welcoming and open, the division to boys/ girls territories diminishes.
  5. Willingness to try/explore- some will say that a willingness to try and the opposite- abstaining are character traits; I believe that a big part behind willingness play former opportunities and small/ large successes.
    Success is an interesting thing. Personally I believe  that in the aspect of movement trying and doing for themselves are to be considered as a success.
    As teachers and parents we need to provide the children with a sense of confidence and acknowledgment that their choices are interesting no matter what, and that the different movement ways are the right way.

while working on the movement aspects we need to establish equal space and expectations that will make the children engaged and motivated.

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written by Sharon Michaeli Ramon

All the posts and materials belongs to togi let's play, and the writer © 

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