Gender and power relations are intrinsic to all social institutions, from the family to educational, religious and legal institutions, the workplace and the media. Understanding of gender and gender relations begins at home and at school. School is the second biggest influencer of gender stereotyping after the family. Here, stereotypes are reinforced through teacher behaviour, the curriculum, sports and extracurricular activities.
This training manual, by Karnataka Health Promotion Trust (KHPT), seeks to expand the gender perspective and skills of high school teachers. The methodology is participatory and based on adult learning principles. It includes:
- role plays
- group work
These methods encourage the participants to relax, express themselves freely, give honest feedback and foster a climate of unity and enjoyment through the workshop. Filled with practical exercises, it is designed to convey the varied requirements of boys and girls and the need to respond with equal respect and consideration to students of both sexes.
- To impart gender responsiveness and sensitivity training to teachers at high schools in the intervention site
- To equip the teachers with the concepts, skills and attitude to initiate measures to encourage equal participation of girls and boys in schools
- To assist the school management in mainstreaming gender issues at the school level
Bridging the gap entails sensitising teachers to gender issues and reshaping their attitudes to reject gender stereotypes. Gender sensitive teachers understand and respond to the needs of their students. They realise that girls and boys have different sexual maturation issues. They encourage equal involvement in class activities and ensure equal access to learning materials.
When teachers strive to reduce gender disparities in secondary education, they act as change agents who advance the cause of education for girls. In doing so, they improve educational outcomes for all their students, power relations between the sexes and many other aspects of the children’s lives.