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SOGI-Inclusive Education: Secondary
SOGI and Social & Emotional Learning
Social justice education at the secondary level begins, as elementary school learning does, with personal awareness, reflection, and responsibility as the roots of more complex social and emotional learning about students' rights and responsibilities as members of a group--first a family, and then a classroom, school, community, and society. In high school, students are learning to navigate highly nuanced relationships and the ways their conduct must respond to both location and audience. Our present era is made more complex by the need for students to also navigate the twists and turns of online conversation whose tones and meaning are difficult to decipher, and to avoid or respond appropriately to online aggression or even bullying--the impact of which has gained great attention in the media.
Social and Emotional Learning can help students to understand the consequences of their beliefs and actions, believe in their own agency, and ultimately, to make choices that are healthy and respectful. SOGI-Inclusive Learning is simply a lens on Social and Emotional Learning through which the onlooker notices how gender constructs are built and maintained, what the impacts of these constructs are on young people, and how to deconstruct the idea that all people fit nicely into two boxes: girl or boy. What happens when we don't fit perfectly into one of the boxes in some aspect of ourselves--our bodies, emotions, tastes, thoughts, or behaviours? When students begin to feel too different to fit in one of the boxes, they can feel alone, isolated, inconfident or even self-loathing--feelings that could be strenghtened when others notice the ill-fitting aspect too. SOGI-inclusive education helps us to see that there are more than two boxes that we can fit into--or no boxes at all--and that if we do, we can still be valued, healthy, and whole, contributing members of a society.
"Schools have a legal, ethical, and moral obligation to provide equal access to education and equal protection under the law for all students. For many sexual minority students, howeer, schools are unsafe and survival, not education, is the priority." (Weiler, 2003, p. 10)
Dignity for All: Safeguarding LGBT Students by Peter Dewitt
Social Justice Vocabulary social-justice-vocabulary-1.docx