Using Writing to Improve Relations Among Students Romance in the Classroom: Inviting Discourse on Gender and Power Diane Waff
Issue: Male and female students were not showing respect for each other in the classroom. Examples: *Using derogatory vocabulary *Male dominance of discourse *Acceptance of inappropriate behaviors by staff and administration *Violent confrontations
Solution: Ten minute free journal writing at the beginning of class followed by class discussion and follow-up. Introduced books and poems that addressed the topics presented in the journals. Examples: *Romeo and Juliet *Together by Paul Engle
Process: *Female community leaders formed groups with the female students to empower them to begin talking about their feelings. *These conversations then transitioned into classroom journal writings where students were free to express their concerns with male/female relationships. *These journal writings were used to select text that addressed the issues presented in the writings. *Students responded to the text in a variety of ways in order to fully engage in the material and improve their relations and respect within the classroom.
Outcomes: *Girls felt more empowered to stand up for themselves and speak up against stereotypes and sexism. *Students confronted family and societal norms. *The level of respect was raised throughout the classroom. *The teacher was forced to rethink her own prejudices and stereotypes in regards to gender. Steve and Sara