Healthy Relationships
Curriculum in Action
  Gender Stereotypes and Violence
Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia

Cavalier Drive School Guidance Counselor Judy Farnell has taught Healthy Relationships in English, Health, and Family Studies classes for more than three years. In fact, she contributed a violence survey that appears in the curriculum. She got started by fitting Healthy Relationships into the existing Personal Development and Relationships component of Health and then she introduced it in the other subjects.

Two of Judy's students responded to an assignment about gender stereotypes and expectations as follows:
"Sometimes when we get into a relationship we may expect our partner to fulfill the stereotypes of their sex. One partner may think they have more power by telling the other what to do. Attitudes should be formed after learning stuff about the other person. You shouldn't get into a relationship until you know about what they expect of you and what you expect of them."

"Being a man in our society today may be very unhealthy. For instance, if the woman thinks we should act or smell just a certain way she may be disappointed that the man she is dating is not a 'real man' and is 'outside the box'. If a woman thinks of a man that way it may lead to an unhealthy relationship. It may also be hard to be a woman if a man's expectations of her are not fulfilled. Then he may get abusive."
Judy is team teaching this class with Health Teacher Debbie Young. Debbie offered this observation when asked about the effects of the curriculum: "Some of the girls in the Grade 8 class had boyfriends who are older, who very much control their movements and who get very upset if they spend time with this person or that person. You could hear them discussing it after class. Some of it is sinking in. It kind of sinks in where it's needed. It's the kind of topic that kids haven't been exposed to before."

Next: Newsletter One Update 1997

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