There are many issues brought up in this document pertaining to gender and sexual diversity. Canada values equality and human rights and that is evident within legal documents and aspirational documents. One thing that was surprising to me is that in Saskatchewan, it is illegal to discriminate because of sexual orientation or sexual identity. This happens all the time and up until I read this article, I did not know it was illegal. That says something about the awareness in schools because it was not handled in the right ways and it still happens, especially in schools. It is disappointing to know that schools are not aware of this and it leads to overlooking this issue which can be problematic. Another thing that caught my attention is the fact that people still do not understand the difference between gender identity and sexual orientation. Gender identity is a persons’ sense of being (female, male, neither, etc.) and sexual identity is what type of person they are attracted to. Although I do not know everything about these two topics, I think it would be important to talk about this more and pronouns and everything that is involved with these issues. These are heavy issues containing a lot of matter that people are not aware of and educators should be taught first hand. There are many reasons why people should understand this is schools and communities. The first is for student safety. This is a major point because children should be allowed to feel safe at schools and in communities and to not be harassed or bullied. Other reasons include school culture, physical and emotional health, student engagement and academic success, and diversity and equity. Another thing I learned is the meaning two-spirited. This term comes from the language of First Nations and it describes a person to embody the characteristics of both genders and this was highly valued in the communities. This term has been stigmatized because of the impact of the European influence. One thing I still question is that why do schools not enforce the law on sexual orientation and identity. Upcoming educators should be taught these issues in order to have save environments in the school. One thing I still find problematic is the stigmatized terms the Europeans influenced on us. Today, there are numerous terms tuned negatively and that is because of society and what people have been teaching.
Document found here.
I found this reading quite interesting because there is the debate about the line between bullying and sexual harassment that causes discrepancies in schools. By using a highly watched TV show and demonstrating the ways in which bullying is presented challenges viewers to think about the difference between bullying and sexual harassment. Glee was a show I only knew about a few years ago and it never caught my attention until I read this article. I agree and just learned that some incidents of violence in schools is identified as “bullying” when, in fact, it is defined as sexual harassment. I know when I was growing up there was absolutely no talk about homophobia which would lead to students standing up for themselves rather than relying on teachers in the school or anyone else. Learning about these issues in classes today, makes me feel like we are doing something right as we become future educators. It is also a way for the general public to be educated as well and to know what things are changing. In addition, it is upsetting to learn that some magazines feature bullying in schools when it leads to homicides, suicides, or law suits to get more money from the public. Social media is a huge influence when it comes to subjects like this. Instead, the magazines and other social media platforms can easily promote the awareness of bullying and sexual harassment. It is interesting to also learn that some U.S schools that have organized a student-led club called gay/straight alliances (GSAs), which works well when there is strong staff and administrative support, as well as the student body. One question I still have is one the article stated as well. It said, “why do so many school administrators and teachers, real and fictional ones in shows such as Glee, claim their schools are safe for children while homophobic harassment remains prominent and obvious?” I think with the new generation of teachers, it is important to talk and learn about this issue to help those who seek a safe place to talk to someone outside of the home or any situation. What I still find problematic is that why has it taken so long for issues like this to be taught in classes. Now that I am in university I have only learned about this subject in my education classes and that’s it. When I was in high school it was not talked about either. Looking back, I find it disappointing because my high school had some mandatory presentations that included drugs and alcohol. Although that subject is important, throughout my four years there, the presentations had been the same. There was only the casual new one once in a while with guest speakers and their personal journey. I think it is time that people go to schools to present about sexual harassment because it was evident in my school and because teachers were not educated about it, they classified it as bullying.
It is great to know that Canada is creating many ways for inclusiveness to happen. Although we not near the goal of inclusive education, provinces are making progress on their own. I learned that students are included physically, however, many classrooms do not have the necessary assets for then to be included with peers or socially and academically successful. During my field experience, I was in a classroom with an autistic student and he was not in the classroom that often because he did learn differently so his teaching assistant would take him out of the class and help him. There were times where he would be included in groups to read and write, but other times it was spent outside of the classroom. In addition, there are many universities and other school institutions that have accommodations towards students such as the Three-Block Model and student leadership. The Three-Block Model is a program that involves “students’ self-concept, valuing diversity, belonging and social inclusion, in addition to instructional practices that support academic inclusion” (47). At Queen’s University, students are working on programs to welcome and create a sense of belonging and inclusion for all new students to promote social well-being. It is important that school environments are able to meet the academic needs these students need to involve them in the school and to succeed. There are areas that do need more attention and I learned that teacher education is one of them. I completely agree with this because there are no courses on how to teach students with diverse needs and I think this is something all teachers need to help their classrooms be more inclusive. I think learning about students with diverse needs is crucial in order to have an inclusive classroom. Not only should upcoming teachers be taught, but students as well so that they know how to interact with diverse kids. It is also a way for the diverse kids to be more interactive with peers. Another moment during my field experience, the TA was not there and it was a sub that day also. My partner and I did not know what to do and we were not sure how to interact with him, but thankfully a fellow student new how. She took him under her wing and was letting him learn with her and made sure he was not left out. One question I still have is that why is each province and territory responsible for their own education curriculum and policy? One thing I still find problematic is that is has been thirty years since the promise of equal rights and benefits for the students. It may not be a long time, but studies show we are nowhere near that as a reality. The curriculum needs to change in order for these changes to occur.