Tom Genillard, Sociology and Criminology Subject Advisor, with Ruth Shaw and Kathryn Atherton, Nelson & Colne College
Teachers are always looking for interesting ways to celebrate diversity and inclusion, and Pride Month in June is a great opportunity to try something new. Tom Genillard discussed teaching ideas with Ruth Shaw and Kathryn Atherton from Nelson & Colne College, and in this blog they present some suggestions that you might like to try to inform, raise awareness, and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.
Earlier this year Edurio and The Key released a national review of safeguarding, surveying 70,000 pupils. The findings evidenced worrying differences in feelings of safety between pupils with different sexual orientations and gender identities.
Pride Month is a celebration that is dedicated to LGBTQ+ rights and often sees planned events and parties that bring together people in love and friendship. But it’s so much more than that. It also provides us with a reminder of the famous Stonewall Riots back in 1969 and how the action that the brave people took that day changed the world for so many people.
Nelson & Colne College is a Stonewall College Champion. This means they are a centre who provides a benchmark for LGBTQ+ inclusion. This would be an excellent thing for any college to strive to achieve. When a centre does things like this they are going above and beyond to support all of their students as this story shows.
With more societal acceptance comes more responsibility to get the key messages right in our schools and colleges. So, when delivering any lesson based on this topic, it needs to challenge old views and get students engaged and talking. Here are our suggestions.
It’s essential to get all staff in a school or college on board and encourage each subject area to do something to mark the month. For example, get drama students from your school to give a devised performance on Pride awareness, or if there is budget use excellent providers like Just Like Us.
For pupils to be accepting of everyone then they must be at the heart of everything your school or college is doing. Create an LGBTQ+ student committee that can talk through issues and plan special events such as student challenges, merchandise selling, etc.
At Nelson & Colne, students across various age groups create poster campaigns to mark historical events in tutorial time. These are displayed in reception and communal areas. The Learning Resource Centre supports with book displays and reading lists to stretch and challenge students.
Teach about the importance of representation in media, literature and other forms of art by getting each student to research a famous example and then bringing in an object into school that represents something highlighting their example.
Teach students how to be respectful and supportive of people who identify as LGBTQ+ and help them to understand how to stand up to discrimination and hate. Give students cards including scenarios that include examples of homophobia, transphobia and heterophobia, and ask them to consider what they would say and do in those situations.
Last year Nelson & Colne had a transphobia awareness day which is being followed up this year by looking at trans identity and the support that is available to all students.
When teaching the symbolism of the pride flag, pink triangle or the rainbow flag used within the community, discuss the meaning behind the symbols. At Nelson & Colne all staff and students wear badges with their choice of pronoun rather than just some students wearing them, avoiding the risk of individuals being singled out.
Students could use chalk pens in classrooms to write on windows to express their identity as well as their constructive views.
Students could consider what they would do to improve inclusivity in the UK. They could look at the current legal landscape and the challenges that the LGBTQ+ community has faced in marriage equality, employment discrimination and rights on having children, etc.
Social science students could design a survey using their knowledge of research methods, to find out how inclusive the school really is and to help identify the barriers and possible solutions.
How is your school getting involved this Pride Month? We’d love to hear from you. If you have any questions about sociology, you can email us at email@example.com, call us on 01223 553998 or tweet us @OCR_Sociology. You can also sign up to subject updates and receive the latest information about resources and support.
Tom is overseeing sociology as well as the exciting upcoming criminology qualification. Previously, he was a teacher for 11 years which included various roles in teaching and middle management leading to his last role, as Head of Human Sciences. In his spare time he loves watching crime documentaries and playing with his two sons.
Ruth Shaw and Kathryn Atherton are part of the leadership team at Nelson & Colne College in Lancashire. Ruth is Deputy Dean of Higher Education and EDI in the Curriculum Coordinator and has been teaching sociology for the past 10 years. Between studying, Ruth spent several years travelling the USA and working abroad, and now enjoys being in the outdoors with her son. Kathryn is Curriculum Leader for Social Science and Humanities.