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Diversity Discussions at My School

4 posts in this topic

I had posted this in the Asexual Musings and Rantings forum, but was informed to bring it over here:

This yesterday morning I and the other full IB students at my school put on a little presentation about diversity. We had an auditorium session where we read statistics about groups who are discriminated against. We asked people who identify with those groups to stand. (The lone person who stood when transgender was mentioned got a huge round of applause! I love my school.)

After that we broke into groups for discussion, with each of us IB students leading a group. I heard some groups did better than others, but mine did pretty well. Afterwards, we "debriefed," talking about what went well and what didn't. We eventually decided that, in order to make people more comfortable with talking about issues of diversity, discrimination, etc. we would continue the discussions as a regular thing.

Now, I haven't talked to any of my fellow students yet but we're putting together an outline/proposal to present to the faculty next week, and I want to include asexuality on the agenda.

My school is tiny - about 300 people, give or take - so given the 1% statistic I know it's unlikely that many other people will identify as asexual. I still think it's worth it, though, to get awareness out there and get people thinking about the possibilities.

Thoughts? Any materials or activities I can use? I'm hoping these discussions develop in to something really good, and I want to be prepared.

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I think it's really wonderful that your school is doing something like this! I think you should definitely include asexuality.

I'm a bit sleepy right now, so please forgive me. I just have several questions to ask, to better understand what exactly you're looking for.

  • When you say that you're putting together an outline/proposal, is this a proposal to have regular discussions (so you just want to include a list of topics that might be touched upon in these discussions), or do you need the actual material you wish to present, because it needs prior approval from the faculty before it can be presented to students? -- just to get an idea of how much time you have to gather materials
  • What kind of format are you hoping/planning to use in these discussions (e.g. media, time limitations, free-flow discussion versus lecture followed by group discussion versus Socratic method)? -- this has an effect on the type of material that might be best
  • I'm assuming that asexuality will likely be one of many topics... but will it be a recurring topic? That is, would you have the chance to assign "homework" between discussion sessions? If so, you might ask that the participants look up their own material online as prior reading -- and you can choose to give them specific URLs to read (you could also do this during the session if you have computer access, but that would cut down on discussion time...)
  • Thought experiments are always fun. One analogy for sexual attraction that I've always enjoyed is the one about the invisible elephants. Maybe you could get them to come up with similar analogies for different types of experiences?

Anyway! Can't wait to see where you decide to take this!

(Also, I was in full IB as well, but we never got to do anything like this!!! *pouts* ... On the other hand, my high school consisted of about 3000 students, and there were only about 40 full IB students in my year (twice as many as the average year... no one knows why...))

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In answer to your questions:

  • We are proposing to have regular discussions. The purpose of our meeting with the teachers is to inform them of our plans and coordinate with them - we've had issues in the past with them not being informed, due to administrative failures, that anything was happening until the day of. We want to put together a general outline of topics and ideas in order to appear more professional and put together, thus increasing the likelihood of approval.
  • I'm not certain about what format we're planning on having the discussions take. In the past we've had a 30-40 minute time slot to work with (I think) in which we started with an auditorium session in which the issue was presented and discussed a bit, and then broke into discussion groups, which we mediated. We've been discussing alternative formats and haven't settled on anything yet.
  • I'm not sure about recurring topics. It *would* be nice to have planned events to the extent that we can say what we'll be talking about the next time and ask students to do research and think about it beforehand...but that would require organization and planning! Which we're working on. <_<
  • We did discuss better ways to engage our groups in the conversation - our most recent discussion was a little awkward and uncomfortable for everyone, as opposed to the previous one which was centered around an activity and went pretty well. Coming up with metaphors sounds like a good activity & and one that would encourage them to think...also, I LIKE the elephant metaphor! :D

The flip side of having the opportunity to do these discussions like this is that the administration at our school is utterly fail, so we have to do everything from organizing to scheduling to coordinating and letting everyone know what is going on by ourselves - in addition to doing our normal IB coursework, which I'm sure you know is immensely challenging, and in which we also have no support, by the way. Our "IB coordinator" does not do her job. At all.

I suppose the flip-flip side of this is that we're gaining lots of experience that we wouldn't otherwise...

...ok, gripe session over. Thank you for your input, hope my response helped you understand, and I'll try and update on our progress!

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I did a 'Sexuality Awareness Week' at my school; We had a presentation on Monday, and my Gay-Straight Alliance members made powerpoints on various sexualities. (I did Asexuality.) Everyone presented their powerpoints. You could do something like that as an intro, or just have one sexuality per meeting, maybe with a powerpoint and discussion. We talked about things in our powerpoints like What is ___, Common misconceptions, Famous people of that orientation, etc. For asexuality, I talked about the community briefly, the common symbols (Cake, flag, ace, black ring.)

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