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### Enhancing School Culture: Strategies for Fostering a Positive and Inclusive Approach to Gender

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Cranbrook, situated in the eastern region of Sydney, stands out as one of Australia’s most prestigious boys’ schools. Recent reports from the ABC’s Four Corners program highlighted instances where female teachers faced bullying from male staff members and harassment from students.

With the school’s planned transition to coeducation by 2028, there are valid concerns regarding the establishment of a safe and inclusive environment for girls at Cranbrook.

In response to these concerns, Cranbrook stated that its existing staff, including female members, strongly endorse the school, its principles, and its ethos. The school also announced the appointment of teacher Daisy Turnbull to spearhead the move towards coeducation and promote the advancement of gender equality within the institution.

To foster genuine gender inclusivity, schools must address entrenched sexist cultures that have been prevalent in many boys’ schools in recent years. These cultures have often perpetuated gender stereotypes, discrimination, and inadequate responses to issues like harassment among students.

Merely transitioning to a coeducational model is insufficient to eradicate sexism or enhance inclusivity within a school. Institutions aspiring to embrace a diverse student body must undertake significant reforms to reshape both the structural framework and cultural norms, both inside and outside the classroom.

The World Health Organization advocates for schools to provide a healthy and secure environment by focusing on teaching and learning, the overall school atmosphere, and collaborations with parents and the community. This holistic approach can be instrumental in promoting gender equity and inclusivity within educational settings.

In terms of teaching and learning, schools committed to gender equality should offer a varied curriculum and inclusive extracurricular activities that are accessible to all students, irrespective of gender. Recognizing the diverse spectrum of skills, interests, and experiences among students, including those who identify as trans or non-binary, is crucial for fostering an inclusive learning environment.

Furthermore, promoting gender equity across various subjects such as English, STEM fields, and health education is essential. Teachers play a pivotal role in challenging traditional gender norms, fostering critical thinking, and facilitating discussions on topics like consent, violence, and healthy relationships.

Creating a supportive and inclusive school culture is equally vital. School leaders must uphold respectful language, enforce robust policies against gender-based discrimination and violence, and ensure that staff members feel valued and secure in their workplace.

Involving students in initiatives promoting gender equality and LGBTQIA+ visibility, ensuring gender-balanced representation in leadership roles, and offering diverse options in school uniforms are essential steps towards building an inclusive school community.

Additionally, establishing partnerships with organizations that advocate for gender equity and diversity, engaging parents as collaborative partners, and providing resources for counseling and teacher training can further enhance the school’s commitment to inclusivity.

While recent attention has been focused on boys’ schools, all educational institutions, including coeducational and girls’ schools, must critically evaluate and address issues related to gender-based violence, sexism, and discrimination. Conducting comprehensive reviews of curricula, school culture, and community partnerships is imperative to create safe, inclusive, and respectful environments for all students and educators.

This article is republished under a Creative Commons license. For more information, please refer to the citation provided below.

“What do schools need to do to have a good culture and healthy approach to gender?” (2024, March 6)
Retrieved on March 7, 2024, from source

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