Gender Issues Month: How You Can Participate – SHARE HERE!

gisig-issuesmont-universal-cut-banner copy

How you can participate

October 2016 is Gender Issues Month! Yet again, we are holding a month-long online event. This is an asynchronous event, developed with the aim of sharing ideas about teaching English with a conscience, this year through the lens of “Gender”.

We would like to provide a platform where we can come together as a community of educators, teaching English through inspirational communication about real issues of concern to all global citizens.

This is a huge topic, with a wide range of possible topics:

Gender Issues wordcloud

Share here!

The idea behind this month is to share lessons and strategies that raise awareness in your classes and your schools about issues relating to our issues month. We deliberately chose a broad topic to allow flexibility of choice. As long as it’s about Gender related issues (as opposed to, say, a lesson about your family tree), we’re interested.

This is where you can share your ideas, links, experiences, thoughts…

It’s simple. Just leave a comment and/or contribution below. We will be doing a weekly summary of these contributions, as well as those that come through our Facebook page or Twitter using the hashtag #issuesmonth

Here is a grab-bag of ways you – teachers, teacher trainers, writers, classes – can take part.

1. Share an activity or lesson plan

Submit an activity or lesson plan idea to the Facebook page or right here. We’ll be reporting weekly highlights of these ideas here at our website.

2. Inspire us to inspire our learners

Post a link to a picture, video, poem, game or website that links to one of these issues. Please state briefly what you would do with it. Again you can do this right here, or on the Facebook page, Twitter or Pinterest.

3. Share your thoughts, experiences, challenges

What is your personal context, interest, concern when it comes to teaching about Gender? What about your students? What are their experiences, fears and passions around these issues? Share your story, as an educator, or as a global citizen.

4. Teach one of these issues and tell us about it!

Teach a lesson based on one of the resources you see shared during the month and let us all know how it went. We can all learn from each other in this way.

5. Share the knowledge

We’d love to see some short book reviews or film reviews about any of these issues that can inform us as educators. If you’ve read or seen something that inspired you about the theme of gender, please let us know.

6. Do some action research

Your students could perform a survey, create materials or something else. Share the results with us here!

7. Get creative

Make a real or virtual poster to link to the issue. We’d love to gather a collection of classroom-generated poster images in order to produce a feature on this for our website. You don’t need to restrict yourself to a static image; we’d love to see your own videos too (although please be aware we can’t show videos or photos of learners without permission here).

8. Take real action

Begin a related project at your school (e.g. gender equality campaign). Please share with us how it goes.

9. Link up with a non-profit organization

Make links between your class or school and a non-profit organization. Invite a guest speaker, do a presentation, take the class on a field trip. Again, let us know how it goes.

AND FINALLY… Please spread the word!

This event will only be successful if we spread the word about it:

  • If we all made it a point to inform our own colleagues about what we are doing during this month, we could have a lot of exciting and diverse input!
  • Post a link to your school’s website.
  • Show your support by liking our Facebook page.
  • During the whole month of October please come back regularly to this page and Facebook to see what people are saying. We’ll be tweeting about it as well.

48 Responses to Gender Issues Month: How You Can Participate – SHARE HERE!

  1. Dennis Newson September 28, 2016 at 6:42 pm #

    Gender issues for GISIG

    GISIG have thrown out a stimulating, stirring challenge in persuasive language. They write about sharing ideas about teaching English with a conscience, teaching English through inspirational communication about real issues of concern to all global citizens, sharing lessons and strategies that raise awareness in our classes and our schools. They ask us to inspire them and each other so that we can inspire our own learners. They ask us to share our thoughts, experiences and challenges. They urge us to take real action. Spread the word!
    .
    Wow! Wow! Applause, applause for an energizing statement.
    .
    The aims of that exciting manifesto must resonate loudly with any dedicated teacher’s deepest convictions about a cluster of fundamental moral issues – social, philosophical, political, educational, pedagogical. Frankly, my pulse is throbbing, my temperature has risen and I’m fighting back an unruly, disorderly host of comments jostling to tumble out of my head into this posting.

    Restraint, Dennis. One thing at a time. First things first. Be practical.

    TASK | Expressing a personal opinion

    What do you think of this young boy?

    I want to share one or two videos with you and your learners. I’ll make a few simple suggestions as to how you could use this material with a class to initiate a discussion on a topic that will emerge. I’ll also write an afterword commenting on my task and some important reservations about my own suggestions.
    ———————————————

    Watch this video of the young British singer, Ronan Parke, who was the runner-up in the 2011 popular BBC TV program, Britain has talent.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvifyY3a1OI

    1. Sit back and enjoy Rolan’s singing. Be prepared afterwards to tell everyone whether you liked or disliked him and his singing and, most importantly, why .

    2. Can you guess how a lot of people reacted to him, especially on Twitter and Facebook? Do you think they praised him or criticised him?

    3. Watch now one of the several interviews he gave:
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxCyQjQtolI

    4. Finally, get to know him off-stage.

    SO:

    Speak up, though not all at once. What do you think of this young boy?Do you like his singing? Does it bother you that he is probably gay? If you had the chance, would you like to get to know him personally, or would you keep your distance?In both cases – why?

    AFTERWORD

    1. I’ve made various assumptions about the age group of learners for whom this task might be appropriate. I would think it would suit kids from 12 or so through teenagers and up to post-secondary school students.

    2. My aim in choosing these videos of Ronan Parke has nothing to do with points of vocabulary or grammar. I hope he will make his own impact and give the students something genuine to talk about.

    3. I still believe in keeping to the target large as far as possible but I can imagine that there will be opportunities for teachers to use their own bi-lingual knowledge and supply learners with words and expressions that they may not know.

    4. What worries me in general about enabling pupils and students to learn a foreign language through dealing with real issues is that there is a real danger of neglecting our primary duty as language teachers – to facilitate language learning. There is always the danger that the subject matter will dominate and the learners simply will not have the language they need to express their thoughts or any way of acquiring them.

    5. Even more worrying is the thought that discussing such personal matters in the context of a classroom of young people and one adult could go seriously wrong. The chances are that in any group there are going to be young homosexuals, bullies and the bullied.Will they really feel confident enough to speak openly? Won’t they be scared of what their classmates might say and do to them outside the classroom?There are even people, I’m sure, who feel that such delicate and intimate topics are best attended to in the mother tongue.

    6. The hoped-for outcome of this task is that participants will feel motivated and engaged enough to express their comments and opinions in comprehensible English. If evaluation is necessary it should focus on matters like confidence and effectiveness, not necessarily formal “correctness.”

    • Bill Templer October 5, 2016 at 7:01 am #

      Ronan has gotten a lot of hate mail attacking him for being ‘seemingly’ gay. Also verbal attacks on FB. His concern with bullying probably springs from that too.

      Students may know about bullying going on at their own school against pupils who seem ‘gay’, esp. boys. Maybe some of that could be outed in a class discussion, verbalized. Or perhaps writing an anonymous little ‘essay’ in English (or L1) about what a student thinks about guys or gals who are not heterosexual. Those little essays could be collected, maybe then distributed, and kept anonymous (i.e. not trying to ‘guess’ who wrote it. Perhaps breaking into small groups of 3-4 and encouraging sudents to discuss attitudes toward ‘gayness’, other aspects of LGBT is possible.This interview Dennis mentions is about bullying: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxCyQjQtolI

      Here some videos about LGBT bullying, humilaiting and ridiculing — and sexual orientation that students might explore, discuss: http://goo.gl/tQOS5k

      This a good introductory video about sexual bullying: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ek3-QOypj4M also language, like being called ‘faggot’, ‘dyke’, ‘lesbo’, ‘queer’, ‘gaylord’, ‘homo’,

      See also The Trevor Project, introduce that to students: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/

      waTch the film TREVOR: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/pages/history

      • Bill Templer October 5, 2016 at 3:10 pm #

        Ben Smith is completing his 401st marathon in 401 days raising funds for two anti-bullying NGOs, Stonewall and Kidscape, running in Bristol 5 Oct. Ronan also has been involved with Kidscape. Ben was bullied for years as a gay, and is making a strong statement here, wedged into the public eye. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/the-running-blog/2016/oct/05/man-set-to-complete-401-marathons-in-401-days-in-bullying-fundraiser

        This is a British ‘event’ but is relevant anywhere. It adds a special dimension to focusing on bullying targeting the young for their sexual orientation.

        As Ben says: >”I’m doing this to raise £250,000 for two anti-bullying charities. I was bullied for eight years of my life at school. It affected my confidence and self-esteem and that led to me trying to take my own life when I was 18.” Smith, who decided to complete the challenge after coming out as gay, added that the objective of the challenge had been “to involve as many people as possible and create opportunities for children, young people and adults to discuss the difficult topics of bullying and sexuality.”<

        How do students see this? What is the meaning of 'challenge' here?

      • Bill Templer October 18, 2016 at 11:16 pm #

        Putting books to work: transgender pioneers http://www.literacyworldwide.org/blog/literacy-daily/2016/10/12/putting-books-to-work-transgender-pioneers

        This article fromthe ILA has a range of ideas for classroom use. The focus deals with celebrities who have been transgender.

  2. Bill Templer September 29, 2016 at 5:58 am #

    This recent brief video statement by UK feminist and writer Emily Hill is worth showing to intermediate-level students: http://news.sky.com/video/the-point-wolf-whistling-not-a-hate-crime-10597617 Emily criticizes fellow feminists for losing sight of what real equality for women is about. New legislation being introduced in some UK towns making ‘wolf whistling’ a ‘hate crime’ that can be reported to the police is part of her complaint. She thinks that is foolish. What is ‘wolf whistling’/ Is it a form of public on-the-street sexual harassment? Listen to Emily’s brief rap and ask students what they think. What do you as a teacher think, whatever your gender identity?The brief video was aired recently on Sky News. She makes some controversial points.

    Regarding the broader question of ‘sexual harassment at school,’ I put an eLesson Inspiration on our GISIG eLesson site: http://gisig.iatefl.org/elessons/sexual-harassment-at-school There are many ideas about encouraging students to think about, discuss and write about this issue they may well have experienced themselves.

    It is a form of ‘gendered bullying,’ and part of what a gay guy (see Dennis’ remarks above) may face again and again. Point #5 that Dennis raises goes to the beating heart of what this Issues Month seeks to stimulate: namely talking about (and/or writing or doing a dramatic skit about) controversial, sensitive (even personally sensitive) issues that students really face.

    One way to circumvent some natural resistance and reticence to ‘speaking up’ in class is to ask students to write comment anonymously (perhaps even at home as an assignment, and ptinted, not handwritten) — but then leave it UNSIGNED, and circulate in class, anonymous input that can also be discussed. Experiment in your own teaching ecology. :)

    I coauthored a brief article with a Malaysian student about ‘sharing a problem in class anonymously’: http://hltmag.co.uk/oct11/less03.htm We make very concrete suggestions about getting students who live in the swirls of ‘liquid modernity’ talking and writing about things pretty personal. As we say there: “Writing and talking about problems they feel flooding in on them in a perpetually changing world is therapeutic, also gives insight into one’s self. It restores confidence in one’s own voice, and is a good antidote to ‘mute English’.”

  3. Bill Templer September 29, 2016 at 12:09 pm #

    ‘Sexist language’ Terms of address women don’t want to hear in Britain

    Watch this brief video:
    https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/video/the-words-women-dont-want-to-hear/vp-BBwLH13

    A recent survey in the UK suggests these are pet names that many women would like to see ‘banned’: bird doll babe chick queen bee Esp. bird, doll, babe and chick as terms of reference used by men. As terms of address, esp. by a stranger on the street who walks up to a women, are these words offensive?

    Watch the video again. What terms of ‘friendly address’, even by their husbands, are women objecting to as ‘sexist’, patronizing, offensive? Hint: ‘love’, ‘hon’, ‘beaut’, ‘mumsy’. ‘my dear’. What do the somewhat older women interviewed say about the oral terms of address ‘my dear’ and ‘mumsy’?

    SEMANTICS What does ‘patronizing’ mean applied to a term of address or some bit of discourse? What does ‘derogatory’ mean?

    How would you feel if your (male) teacher referred to you talking to a friend as “that babe in my class in the red dress, what’s that chick’s name?” Ask students: what other terms or adjectives they can think of like this in English.

    What about lexis in their L1? Equivalent terms to ‘chick’, ‘babe’, the term of address ‘love’ (or ‘luv’)? A term sometimes applied by women to refer to an attractive man in the US is ‘hunk’. Is that derogatory?

    RACIST LANGUAGE The best-known derogatory racist term in the US is probably ‘nigga’, in particular as a term of address [!] with strangers, but also as a general term of reference. ‘Negro’. once was a very common word, and is now considered offensive and taboo. It is deemed ‘politically incorrect language’. What is the meaning of that, ‘politically incorrect’, a phrase often heard these days? Many East European languages have especially derogatory racist terms of reference for Roma men and women, and even school kids.

    NOT JUST NOUNS Watch the video again. One girl interviewed talks about an adjective she doesn’t like to hear applied to women. What is it?

    • Linda Ruas October 3, 2016 at 8:43 am #

      This is really interesting – my ESOL learners hear all these terms around them, pick them up, and use them – often inappropriately – so it’s a great idea for a lesson – thanks!

  4. Rachael Roberts October 3, 2016 at 9:12 am #

    I’ve designed a lesson on my blog based around a short video about the different labels given to women in the workplace- e.g. a man is persuasive, a woman is pushy.

    https://elt-resourceful.com/2016/10/03/labels/

    • Linda Ruas October 4, 2016 at 2:50 pm #

      Great lesson (like all your elt-resourceful lessons!) – thanks a lot Rachel! This lesson could link in to Bill’s video and tasks above on ‘terms of address’.

    • Patricia Santos October 5, 2016 at 3:04 pm #

      Than you so much, Rachael.

  5. Bill Templer October 4, 2016 at 4:03 pm #

    Girls as young as seven feel judged on their appearance
    Young women are “persistently judged on what they look like”, with a survey suggesting this impacts girls of primary school age.

    FOCUS ON APPEARANCE FOR GIRLS ALSO INTERIORIZED AS THEIR OWN SELF-IMAGE BEAUTY PRESSURE BODY IMAGE BODY CONFIDENCE AND ITS CONSTRUCTIONS ALSO PRESSURE ON BOYS RE BODY IMAGE.

    In the UK, “The Girls’ Attitudes Survey, the largest research of its kind, found there has been a steep decline in body confidence over the last five years among girls and young women aged seven to 21.” “Girls now feel under pressure to look perfect from the age of just seven with a third saying they are made to feel it is the most important thing in life, according to a new poll.”

    ALL THIS CAN BE ADDRESSED IN VERY INTERESTING TEACHING UNITS, BECAUSE ALTHOUGH SELF-IMAGE IS HARD TO DISCUSS OPENLY, IT IS A CENTRAL TOPIC IN GENDER SOCIALIZATION . ALSO RELATED TO SEXUAL HARASSMENT AT SCHOOL.

    Here two articles:
    http://goo.gl/rt1V93
    http://news.sky.com/story/girls-as-young-as-seven-feel-judged-on-their-appearance-10604844

    Sky News in Britain has had a whole excellent discussion of this: ”Beauty pressure — Are girls defined by their looks?” (4 Oct. 2016 afternoon) that will perhaps be available soon on video, I will post link if it appears.

  6. Julietta Schoenmann October 5, 2016 at 9:00 am #

    Happy World Teachers’ Day to everyone! But especially to women teachers (in keeping with our Issues Month theme….)

  7. Patricia Santos October 5, 2016 at 3:10 pm #

    I also prepared a lesson plan on the gender pay gap and if you would like to share it, feel free to do so.
    https://teacherpatsantos.blogspot.com.br/2016/09/gender.html

  8. Bill Templer October 7, 2016 at 1:42 pm #

    Child marriage.

    Where you live and teach, marriage of very young children, or among tweens and teens under the age of 18, may be uncommon or even unheard of. But in some societies this is a widespread and increasingly controversial phenomenon.

    That is the case in many areas in India, also in Nepal. Here an article on Nepal: http://www.unfpa.org/news/astrologers-shamans-and-priests-mobilize-against-child-marriage-nepal and efforts to combat this. Students can read the article. What do they think?

    In India, the legal national age for girls to marry is 18, for boys 20, but many marriages are performed, both civil and religious, between couples far younger, especially in the rural countryside. “India ranks sixth in the world in the number of child marriages that happen every year. According to the Census report of 2011, nearly 17 million Indian children between the ages of 10 and 19 are married. 76%, or 12.7 million, are girls. Though the legal age for girls to marry is 18, this regressive practice is rampant in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan.”

    In effect, these are marriages between families. Families arrange, families decide. In particular, two fathers. It is closely tied to patriarchy. What is a patriarchal society, patriarchal traditional power? It is also in some sense tied to religious social tradition, that is important.

    BALIKA VADHU (Child Bride) is a very popular Indian soap opera, set in rural Rajasthan. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balika_Vadhu TheTV drama series focuses to some extent specifically on child marriage and its terrible downsides. “Balika Vadhu very sensitively portrays the plight of children who are unwittingly forced into marriage, in the name of tradition, and have to bear the repercussions for the rest of their lives.” Hwat does ‘repercussions’ mean?

    Maybe students know the series where you teach, dubbed in the national language. It is in Hindi and some English in the original. BALIKA VADHU is very popular where I live in eastern Bulgaria, translated as LITTLE BRIDE.

    Here article on child marriage in Rajasthan, plus video: http://goo.gl/8Q5fvN
    Certainly all your students will have ideas about what age is proper for considering marriage, that can be broached and discussed. Child marriage relegates the girls involved to extreme hardship in particular, since they may become a kind of ‘domestic servant’ living with their new family as a ‘daughter-in-law.’

    In traditional Roma culture, esp. among certain clans in the Balkans in Europe and perhaps in Turkey, early marriages are still arranged. Some Roma mothers I know were married at age 13, I also know their sons and daughters.This practice is declining but still occurs among Bulgarian Roma, for a variety of reasons. The girls then drop out of school and may soon become proud but burdened mothers.

    Ask students what age their parents were when they married. If they don;t know, they can find out. What avbout their grandparents? They may discover their grandparents married at a quite young age.

    Ask your students to imagine they find themselves married to some ‘stranger’ at an age of 12 or 14. How would they feel? Would this change their idea of the education they might want to pursue, a career? Why in some societies is early marriage, even marriage at the age of 3 or 4 years old, a respected practice? In Nepal I had a respected colleague at the main university in Kathmandu who was married about that age, maybe 3 years old. he remembered he’d been married since he was a very small boy. And was still married to his childhood bride.

    It is much less fair to girls than boys. Why? What reasons beyond tradition can a family have for seeing their daughter married at the age of 13, on the brink of puberty? In some societies, and most certainly among Roma, it is done in part specifically to ensure the virginity of the bride, very central for Roma marriage. So this is social engineering to avoid promiscuous sexual experimentation among teenagers, maybe quite common where you teach. Is that justifiable, deemed proper?

    This raises the ‘sensitive’ topic of what sexual activity young teenage pupils may be having, a difficult subject to discuss in a mixed class of boys and girls. Yet a key ‘issue’ in maturation and thus in relations between the genders anywhere. Many societies frown on free sexual relations before marriage. As do most currents in Christianity, Judaism, Islam and other faith communities.

    The article on Rajasthan states: “According to a UNICEF report, Unite for Children, over 700 million women alive today were married as children, 1 in 3 girls in the developing countries of the world were married before 18 and entered sexual union, and if we do not take arms against this evil social practice then by the end of the decade an estimated 142 million girls will be married as children.”
    (see http://goo.gl/OJIcQm ). Do students agree this is an “evil social practice” – and if so, why?

    In any event, a loaded topic, and quite germane more broadly to ‘growing up sexually’. Perhaps some colleague can put together a lesson plan. Many ways to broach this topic in class, depending on your teaching ecology.

    • Julietta Schoenmann October 11, 2016 at 12:54 pm #

      This is really interesting Bill – thanks for raising this issue and providing concrete examples from around the world of this practice which goes on amongst many communities.

  9. Linda Ruas October 9, 2016 at 10:14 am #

    Has anyone done anything in class yet on the sexism related to Trump and Clinton? – lots of material around …

  10. Bill Templer October 10, 2016 at 7:43 am #

    Here a brief introduction to the work of the Good Lad Initiative and its notions of ‘positive masculinity’: http://news.sky.com/video/what-is-positive-masculinity-10609507 Some of the points raised are relevant to how men and boys talk about women and girls among themselves, and how they boast about sexual conquest, for which Trump has had to apologize, what he called his “locker room talk.”

    Turning to university in the UK, classes on ‘sexual consent’ have been introduced at some universities for first-year students (‘freshers’). Some think these classes should become compulsory. This report (7 Oct 2016) states that 20% of girls suffer sexual harassment during ‘fresher week’ alone: http://news.sky.com/story/fresh-but-not-naive-row-over-sex-consent-classes-10609327

    University and high school students can read the article, watch the brief video there and discuss. I put both these bits also as comment on the eLesson Inspiration on ;’sexual harassment at school’ (http://gisig.iatefl.org/elessons/sexual-harassment-at-school), an eLesson also very timely and germane to the broader context of what is swirling around Trump as a supposed women-harassing ‘misogynist.’

    • Bill Templer November 3, 2016 at 5:51 pm #

      An article from a scholar, psychology prof., at Durham U in the UK addressing questions of sexual harassment and assault among students on campus.

      Sexual violence on campus: time to put an end to doing nothing. From calling out sexism to empowering students, we must be far more proactive in tackling offences, argues Graham Towl

      https://www.timeshighereducation.com/comment/sexual-violence-on-campus-time-to-put-an-end-to-doing-nothing

      He says inter alia: “Tackling what has become known as “everyday sexism” may well also help in establishing an environment where it is no longer acceptable to behave disrespectfully towards each other, either sexually or otherwise. The net impact of all this may very well be fewer sexual offences, while those who do perpetrate such crimes will be more likely to be imprisoned. That will be especially true if the police, victim support charities, university counselling services, student representatives, health providers and university leaders all work together: my experience of working with sex offenders makes abundantly clear the need for such a multi-agency approach.”

  11. Bill Templer October 10, 2016 at 3:17 pm #

    “#NotOkay: Women react to video that forced Trump to apologise.” The leaked footage inspires women to share stories about sexual harassment – with thousands being posted in just one hour.
    http://news.sky.com/story/notokay-women-react-to-video-that-forced-trump-to-apologise-10610182

    At one level this is of course about discourse, which is behavior, a deed, directed at others. Interesting in the above article is a whole chain of responses from different women about their own experience with verbal sexual harassment. Certainly teens can be encouraged to discuss this or at least write about it, anonymously if that’s a better option. Someone can cobble together a teaching unit or the outline of one. Listen to DeNiro’s attack on Trump as a video in the article, it is truly searing.

  12. Bill Templer October 11, 2016 at 7:22 am #

    Never have the North American media been filled with such a storm of critique of sexist discourse, a ‘perfect gender storm’ for the Trump campaign.

    Democracy Now has a tape of the Oct 9 debate and includes comments by Jill Stein, Green Party candidate for President.

    Here some of Jill’s comments: “This—this debate, so-called, is really a sad commentary on what our political system has become. This debate is indeed a sham debate. The League of Women Voters called this process established by the Commission on Presidential Debates a fraud being perpetrated on the American voter. What we’re hearing, as this debate opens, is the candidates go at it about their personal histories, about Hillary’s emails, about Donald’s despicable, abusive behavior and language towards women. And yes, this is all, you know, fair terrain, but it’s—it’s shameful that this has to be the focus of the discussion here. The American people have very serious issues before us, and we need to get past this debate over whether Hillary or Donald is more corrupt, who has the more offensive history. …”

    You can find more of Jill’s ideas and campaign at http://www.jill2016.com Few students outside the US will be aware of the voice of the US Green Party.

    Here Democracy Now! with excerpts from the debate and Jill Stein responding: http://www.democracynow.org/2016/10/10/expanding_the_debate_jill_stein_debates_clinton

    • Julietta Schoenmann October 11, 2016 at 12:59 pm #

      Talking of politics.. has everyone heard of Britain’s very own Women’s Equality Party? Follow this link to find out more:

      http://www.womensequality.org.uk/

      Interestingly, this party isn’t only for women! This is what its members believe:

      The Women’s Equality Party is a new collaborative force in British politics uniting people of all genders, diverse ages, backgrounds, ethnicities, beliefs and experiences in the shared determination to see women enjoy the same rights and opportunities as men so that all can flourish.

      Do other countries have something similar? If so, do please tell us about it!

      • Bill Templer October 13, 2016 at 1:36 pm #

        This recently released by the WEP in the UK: “WE condemn universities for failing to act on endemic sexual violence” http://www.womensequality.org.uk/universites_sexual_violence

        Julietta asks “Do other countries have something similar?” The Peace and Freedom Party in California is a ‘feminist socialist political party’: http://www.peaceandfreedom.org/home/ It has endorsed Gloria La Riva of PSL in the states as its presidential candidate this year (this on PSL: http://www.glorialariva4president.com/ ).

        The PFP states: “As a feminist party, the Peace and Freedom Party actively supports the struggle to eliminate oppression and discrimination based on sex or sexual orientation. Sexual oppression, abuse, and violence in our personal lives are intimately related to authoritarianism and hierarchical institutions, oppression and abuse on the job, and to the violence of war. The struggle against sexism and the struggle for democratic and nonviolent human relations cannot be delayed but must be pursued actively at the same time as the struggle to eliminate oppression and discrimination based on class, race or nationality, age, or physical disability.”

    • Linda Ruas October 11, 2016 at 2:39 pm #

      All great links – thanks Bill.

      In the end, I did a very simple warmer to bring up the Trump/Clinton sexism.

      I often do this with my Upp Int / L1 ESOL class:
      -groups of 4 have 3 mins to think of 4 stories they think will be on the front page of the newspaper for that day
      – groups share the stories they predict
      – then I project the BBC online front page to check
      – groups get a point each for every story they predicted that’s there. (This warmer works better the more I do it … learners start checking news stories before every lesson in case we do that warmer, as they want to win).

      On Monday, of course the Trump/Clinton sexism came up, – the group read and discussed it in the BBC article, then they discussed in groups how acceptable this would be for a leader in their country … very interesting!

    • Bill Templer October 13, 2016 at 1:20 pm #

      VOA Learning English has published an article in Simpler VOA Special English on Trump and his problems with sexist discourse: http://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/3548050.html This article is also in MP3 audio. It can be used with students at high beginner/lowest intermediate level.

      The MP3 is read at a relatively slow pace, ca. 100 words a minute. This is a balanced article on some aspects of the presidential race in the U.S.

      Some people on the progressive left in the U.S. have argued that the centers of political and economic power and their elites in the US are determined to make sure Trump’s candidacy is defeated and Clinton is elected, and that these corporate elites are using Trump’s penchant for at times quite offensive discourse as a weapon to ensure that Donald loses in November, in part by heavily concentrating media attention on these aspects of his talk and banter. Others on the left disagree.

  13. Bill Templer October 12, 2016 at 11:36 pm #

    Technology and sexting, its dangers for young learners. Children under 10 being pressured into ‘sexting’ One police force in the UK says it is handling cases of kids being pressured into sharing explicit images on an almost daily basis.

    SEE: http://news.sky.com/story/children-under-10-being-pressured-into-sexting-10614193
    Listen to the British girl interviewed in the video there, read the brief article.

    From Scotland Yard: “Virtually every day we’re seeing examples of very young children, I’m talking about 10 or sometimes even a bit younger than that, being asked to supply imagery online. … It is very under-reported. … it’s a really hidden crime.”

    “There are examples of teenagers being compelled by threats to provide explicit images.” “37% of young people admit to sending a naked photo of themselves” in one recent UK survey.

    Probably in the main girls are being pressured to share some explicit image, a clear form of ‘photo-sexual harassment’. “Some 63% of teachers in the NASUWT union said they were aware of 14-year-olds sexting during a survey in March. A handful of teachers said seven, eight and nine-year-olds were involved.”

    How much of this can be verbalized, or written about, even anonymously by learners? Will kids share their concerns — and actual experiences? Can such aspects of “sexting” be broached within a class, at a school? With quite young learners, tween, teens? Even 7- to 9-year-olds?!

    This insidious danger, with soaring access to smartphones, has to be confronted, countered. The risk of being targeted, and of having your explicit photos distributed on Internet is mounting rapidly.

    Any experience with this among your own pupils, students, or input from other teachers, friends? Any research on this ongoing where you are?

  14. Bill Templer October 14, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

    Teaching and Learning Like a Feminist
    Storying Our Experiences in Higher Education (Oct 2016) is a new book by an expert in feminist Studies in Australia, Elizabeth Mackinlay.

    It is constructed as a “conversation between academics in Women’s Studies and Gender Studies about the politics of pedagogy in higher education. What does it mean to embody feminism in universities today? Written in a creative narrative style, Mackinlay explores the discursive, material and affective dimensions of what it might mean to live the personal-as-political-as-performative in our work as teachers and learners in the contemporary climate of neo-liberal universities. This book is both theory and story and aims to bring feminist theorists such as Virginia Woolf, Hélène Cixous, Sara Ahmed and bell hooks together in conversation with Mackinlay’s own experiences, and those of women she interviewed, in their diverse roles as ‘feminist-academic-subjects’.”

    Here a preview of the book’s beginning, some 37 pages:
    http://www.sensepublishers.com/media/2929-teaching-and-learning-like-a-feminist.pdf

    Some of you will have an interest in such a book on feminist pedagogy and the whole field of Women’s and Gender Studies, written inventively as a kind of teacher’s self-narrative.

  15. Bill Templer October 15, 2016 at 5:36 am #

    The International Day of the Girl October 11 was observed in a number of countries. An article in VOA easier Special English deals with this: http://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/international-day-of-girl-brings-attention-to-child-marriage-education/3551265.html

    The VOA article also has an MP3 recording (6:55 minutes) of the text. Students can also leave their own comment there online at the VOA site.

    Students low intermediate and perhaps strong A2 level can listen to the article as audio, read it and discuss important points. What does Michelle Obama say about her own family? Why are Rwanda and Qatar mentioned? Was the day observed in your own country? Students can try to find out.

    President Barack Obama’s wife, Michelle, led an event at the White House. She held discussions on the need to expand girls’ education. Save the Children also released a new report Oct. 11, EVERY LAST GIRL: FREE TO LIVE, FREE TO LEARN, FREE FROM HARM http://goo.gl/o80E4K Teachers can read the report and use its data.

    The STC report discusses questions of education, child marriage, health service and girls’ political voice – and ‘voice’, influence in general. Save the Child says child marriage is among the most severe issues facing female children today. Each year, 15 million girls are married before the age of 18. Some of them are as young as age 10. The organization estimates that 700 million women alive today married in childhood.

  16. Julietta Schoenmann October 17, 2016 at 10:36 am #

    I’m currently developing lesson plans for Junior Secondary School teachers in Sierra Leone and thought it might be interesting to share one I’ve done on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. This play has gone from being vilified as the bard’s worst example of misogyny to lauded as a brilliant example of feminist triumph over adversity!

    Anyway, do by all means try it out in your classrooms if you’d like to – feedback very welcome. Please bear in mind it is intended to be used in low-resourced environments so if you have access to such luxuries as an electronic whiteboard and photocopier then adapt the plan as you see fit.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0sA3FlW62_7cHFIbWZTV0toYUk/view?usp=sharing

  17. Bill Templer October 18, 2016 at 9:31 pm #

    Interesting lesson plan.

    Simpler Shakespeare is always needed:
    This is a simpler graphic version of the play TAMING OF THE SHREW,
    here a sample extract: http://www.sdlback.com/content/sa1559.pdf

    Here the book: http://www.sdlback.com/the-taming-of-the-shrew/ Graded readers from the Saddleback series are affordable.

    As in part presented in the lesson plan above, Kate’s final monologue performed by Elizabeth Taylor from 1967 movie with Richard Burton, beginning ‘Fie fie! Unknit that threat’ning unkind brow’:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ti1Oh9imI8I Even in a relatively low-resourced environment, with a laptop and projector a class could be shown this. I’m not sure this monologue is a ‘feminist triumph over adversity’ but it sure is a fie fiery speech.

    The great early sound film THE TAMING OF THE SHREW (1929) starring Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks is online in full: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6janVbUFOE Students can compare Kate’s final speech there (beginning at 1:03:56), and delivered by Pickford in a much more mocking, ironic tone, particularly her facial and hand gestures. Famous in cinematic history is the wink directly into the camera when Kate says “for they are bound to serve, love and … obey” at 1:05:15 min., in effect negating what she is professing. One of the other women seated next to Kate’s husband Petruchio (Fairbanks) understands Kate’s sly ‘wink’ and nods into the camera. The film then ‘happily’ ends with a kiss and much song and drink, the ‘battle of the sexes’ probably still going strong. If I were teaching this play, I would endeavor to get students to watch this truly classic movie in full. It is also one of the very first talkies.

    Here Act 1 performed in Ohio on stage:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmicjshWq4U

    Although a number of Shakespeare’s plays are available in quite simple full versions as graded readers with Penguin or Pearson, THE TAMING OF THE SHREW is not (as yet). At U of Malaya, I used Penguin graded reader ROMEO AND JULIET in teaching approaches to literature for future teachers, a simple Level 3 (pre-intermediate, 1200 headwords). Students appreciated although their English proficiency is Advanced Level. We also read excerpts from the original. There are many issues of adultism and control of children by parents evident in the play, we discussed this is particular.

    What I would recommend in introducing Shakespeare are the versions from Classical Comics both in the ORIGINAL as graphic tale and in PLAIN ENGLISH, which is fairly simple, lower-intermediate level. Students can compare the two versions directly. Like MACBETH: http://goo.gl/CR99QF Quite affordable for teachers in most places.

    Here many ideas for teaching the original play Taming of the Shrew: http://www.penguin.com/static/pdf/teachersguides/tamingshrew.pdf

  18. Julietta Schoenmann October 19, 2016 at 11:04 am #

    Fabulous links Bill – thank you so much for elaborating on this. The jury’s out on Shakespeare with 11 year olds, probably because of my own dreadful experiences in school. However, I do agree with you about showing plays/scenes to students in order to bring the whole thing alive – so much more motivating than having students laboriously read it out around the class! It’s great that you have had your own successes with teaching Shakespeare and appreciate your suggestions for techniques on how to make the language more accessible.

    • Bill Templer October 19, 2016 at 12:30 pm #

      Thanks for response. The flick with Pickford and her (then still) husband Douglas Fairbanks is really a classic, and very funny as a comedy, a good introduction to the play in its more original traditional form, with two of the all-time greatest American actors. Fairbanks plays the supreme macho there. So this a very gender-relevant play from the great drama heritage.

  19. Bill Templer October 19, 2016 at 5:18 pm #

    • In thinking about Shakespeare and women, we should note the poem by Carol Ann Duffy (former Poet Laureate of the UK, from 2009), titled ‘Anne Hathaway’ (see below).

    Ms. Duffy is the first woman, the first Scot, and the first openly LGBTperson to hold the position of Poet Laureate of GB. The poem is from her 1999 book THE WORLD’S WIFE, that features, from her feminist perspective, poems by wives (as Carol writes them) long obscured by their husbands. Their ‘voices’. This is gendered material in English literature as a certain focus. Other poems in that book also of interest.

    See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World%27s_Wife

    Anne Hathaway Poem

    ‘Item I gyve unto my wief my second best bed…’

    (from Shakespeare’s will)

    The bed we loved in was a spinning world
    of forests, castles, torchlight, cliff-tops, seas
    where he would dive for pearls. My lover’s words
    were shooting stars which fell to earth as kisses
    on these lips; my body now a softer rhyme
    to his, now echo, assonance; his touch
    a verb dancing in the centre of a noun.
    Some nights I dreamed he’d written me, the bed
    a page beneath his writer’s hands. Romance
    and drama played by touch, by scent, by taste.
    In the other bed, the best, our guests dozed on,
    dribbling their prose. My living laughing love –
    I hold him in the casket of my widow’s head
    as he held me upon that next best bed.

    Carol Ann Duffy

  20. Bill Templer October 20, 2016 at 11:29 pm #

    A highly sensitive topic in Gender Identity is TRANSGENDER, a person whose gender identity does not correspond to that person’s biological sex assigned at birth: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transgender “Transgender people are sometimes called ‘transsexual’ if they desire medical assistance to transition from one sex to another.” This is also termed ‘gender dysphoria.’ Such medical assistance can by psychotherapeutic, and also involve body change through surgery.

    Teachers may have students grappling with this transition to a different gender identity and physical body, in confusion, perhaps fear, facing extreme bullying, discrimination, often experiencing despair to the point of suicide. Students may know such youngsters (or even young adults) directly in the neighborhood, the city. Ask them.

    Chelsea Manning, WikiLeaks whistleblower in prison, is one of the better-known transwomen. In September 2016, Chelsea went on hunger strike in prison complaining of ‘high-tech bullying’ by prison and military officials and the US government (in part for growing longer hair against US military prison regulations), and requesting the possibility for gender transition surgery. She ended the strike when authorities agreed that Chelsea could undergo the surgery she desires.https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/sep/09/chelsea-manning-hunger-strike-bullying-wikileaks

    As Chelsea recently stated: “I needed help. Yet, instead I am now being punished for surviving my attempt [at suicide in July 2016]. When I was a child, my father would beat me repeatedly for simply not being masculine enough. I was told to stop crying – to ‘suck it up’. But, I couldn’t stop crying. The pain just got worse and worse. Until finally, I just couldn’t take the pain anymore. I needed help, but no one came then. No one is coming now.”

    Here a new book for teens (and their parents) on transgender transitioning:

    REAL TALK FOR TEENS: Jump-Start Guide to Gender Transitioning and Beyond

    Its author Seth J. Rainess discusses the book a bit in this VIDEO: http://www.sethrainess.com/whybuybook.html

    Link to book:
    http://transgresspress.bigcartel.com/product/real-talk-for-teens-jump-start-guide-to-gender-transitioning-and-beyond.

    For starters, a teacher can show this video message from a transgender teen, all on notecards: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0v_idyvjco It deals also with how she began her transtion from ‘boy’ to ‘girl’

    There are 27,101 comments on this youtube video [!], published in June 2016, gone viral with over 1,054,000 views to date. Students can also read and discuss a selection of the comments. Or as an assignment find 5 comments they agree with, five they strongly disagree with. And discuss this in class, or in some written form.

    They can also watch this video with Jazz Jennings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WA5n9YW4MVk It has had over 1,166,000 views since its posting four months ago. Ask students to compare the two videos.

    One topical way to broach the topic of transgender with students is to point to the case of Chelsea Manning, under a fresh media spotlight. How do they see Chelsea? The progressive left in the US has been campaigning for several years for her release from prison: http://www.pslweb.org/chelsea_manning_sac_pride

    There are a range of videos on youtube, just search ‘transgender’.

  21. Bill Templer October 21, 2016 at 7:14 am #

    Emma Goldman wrote a great deal about the “sex question” as an anarchist-socialist feminist, but essays scattered in many different periodicals. Now a new book, published this month. brings them together. Emma Goldman, Anarchy and the Sex Question. Essays on Women and Emancipation, 1896-1926 http://goo.gl/YuDkfB

    From the blub: >”The Sex Question” emerged for Goldman in multiple contexts, and we find her addressing it in writing on subjects as varied as women’s suffrage, “free love,” birth control, the “New Woman,” homosexuality, marriage, love, and literature. It was at once a political question, an economic question, a question of morality, and a question of social relations.<

    The socialist-anarchist movement has struggled for social, cultural and economic transformation and liberation of the individual for over 150 years, and is alive today. PM Press continues to be a major publisher of anarchist analysis, low-cost books. Many students and teachers are not too aware of this vibrant current within social justice thinking, action and education. Feminist scholars from the 1970s have taken renewed interest in Emma’s pioneering thought as an anarchist feminist.

    Emma (1869-1940) was born in Kovno in the Russian Empire and emigrated at age 16 to the U.S., where she soon became an activist in the anarchist movement. She was deported in 1917 back to Russia for her radical writings and open opposition to American involvement in WWI, encouraging young American men not to register for the draft into military service. Emma was banned from reentry to the US for life. After her death in exile in Toronto, she was buried just outside Chicago. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma_Goldman

  22. Bill Templer October 23, 2016 at 10:04 am #

    Here an article on sexual harassment and abuse from the US that teachers should read as background material on Gender as an issue: http://goo.gl/yHOL5H

    After discussing media coverage of Trump’s discourse and women’s accusations, the article has toward the middle a broader analysis, beginning: “To talk about the reality of sexual harassment and abuse in this country would mean talking about racism, poverty, inequality (…) Sexual violence cannot be divorced from the social context in which it takes place, and the toxic sexism that we are witnessing right now cannot be divorced from its very material impact on women’s lives. (…)”

    The author notes, for example, “Agriculture, a male-dominated industry, is another place where women face rampant levels of harassment and abuse. In one California study, (http://goo.gl/objFPB) as many as 80 percent of women reported being abused or raped in the fields. Due to the nature of the work, these women face particularly appalling levels of violence, which is often perpetrated by armed men in physically remote locations. Because many of these workers are also undocumented immigrants, speaking up can mean risking deportations and losing one’s children.”

    And also: “A National Sexual Violence Research Center study (http://goo.gl/X25qjq) found that 50 percent of rape victims lost or were forced to quit their jobs in the year following their rape because of the severity of their reactions. Some 21 percent of women who were abused by an intimate partner lost time from work as a result.”

    WELL WORTH READING, even excerpting to read and discuss with MID-INTERMEDIATE LEVEL students, the excerpt would be about about 600 words. It deals with questions of female inequality, harassment, abuse and rape far beyond the US.

  23. Leo Marin October 24, 2016 at 11:04 pm #

    Poem (Taken from Shannon PerryCrawley 1996 – writer. poet. various published books. intersectional feminist. mental health advocate. animal rights activist. singer. theatre lover. bookworm.

    Equality (He For She)
    Females and males are one in the world,
    although that is not the belief that has been furled.
    We are told that one gender is better than the other,
    it seems it’s just one stereotype; one after another.

    Equality can become realised if only we believe
    and take the initiative to take action and achieve.
    Why shouldn’t men and women be treated the same?
    To have equal rights and equal pay, that should really be our aim.

    Men, gender inequality is your issue too,
    although you may not agree, I’m afraid it is true.
    You should have the right to express your emotions and be what you please,
    You should not be pulled back by stigma, but instead be who you are at ease.

    Instead of fighting, we should be pulling together,
    and make this journey a joint endeavor.
    We are of equal value if only we open our eyes,
    at the heart of change is where we become most wise.

    Now or never? If not us then who?
    the interest in this movement must come through.
    Equality is not a privilege but a human right,
    all genders on the spectrum should be able to shine bright.

    • Dina January 3, 2017 at 5:20 am #

      Walking in the preesnce of giants here. Cool thinking all around!

  24. Bill Templer October 25, 2016 at 10:24 pm #

    A great poem relevant to the issues.

    Nancy Fraser, “Capitalism’s crisis of care” is a strong reflective interview with a major feminist social theorist well worth reading in the context of GENDER as a global and local set of issues. Just published:
    see DISSENT 2016, here online: http://goo.gl/IMbNNl This new interview with Nancy is in a special issue of DISSENT on feminism, here the link to some of the articles: https://www.dissentmagazine.org/issue/fall-2016?src=mailchimp .

    The interview lays out some of her ideas about the nature of social reproduction over against production in capitalist societies in the past and today, and how social reproduction (not just birthing and child care, but neighborhood relations and much more), can be reimagined. “Social reproduction” involves “a key set of social capacities: those available for birthing and raising children, caring for friends and family members, maintaining households and broader communities, and sustaining connections more generally.” In her work, Fraser advances a very distinctive critique of capitalism and a radically different vision of feminism, centering esp. on gender justice. Her recent essay “Contradictions of Capital and Care”* is online:*** https://newleftreview.org/II/100/nancy-fraser-contradictions-of-capital-and-care If you combine reading the interview and her recent essay in New Left Review, you’ll have some strong sense of Fraser’s framework of analysis inside contemporary feminist theory.

    See her book, one among several: Unruly Practices: Power, Discourse, and Gender in Contemporary Social Theory http://goo.gl/qGmPwe

  25. Gergő Fekete October 27, 2016 at 1:23 pm #

    The other day, one of my friends on Facebook shared Lady Gaga’s song “Born this way.” I clicked on it just to have some background music, and then I realised how well the lyrics fit our Gender Issues Month. It’s all about accepting who you are and learning to love yourself. Considering how controversial Lady Gaga is – with her scandalous dresses and sometimes shocking video clips – I think it would be interesting to ask students what they think about the song and the message it is supposed to convey. There are so many issues in this one song, and I think they would all trigger some thought-provoking conversations. You can check out the lyrics and the video here: http://www.metrolyrics.com/born-this-way-lyrics-lady-gaga.html

  26. Bill Templer October 30, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

    Some of you may have seen the EL Gazette (Feb. 2015) front-page report “Thai rape arrest sparks warnings” (http://goo.gl/BdLcGe): “THAI POLICE have issued warnings over the safety of English language students and the risks of ‘hiring a native English tutor after the arrest in November of an expatriate teacher wanted for multiple rapes.”

    We wish here to raise an issue in the context of ISSUES MONTH GENDER that is generally under-researched and colleagues are hesitant to acknowledge in the field of ELT, namely SEXUAL PREDATION OF STUDENTS BY ELT TEACHERS (who may also prey on non-students in the locale that they are in, most especially if these locales are ‘sex-tourist’ spots), and related sexual exploitation facets. Some of you may be aware of such cases that have surfaced in the media where you are teaching, particularly in SE and East Asia, as in the brief report from Thailand above, and this revealing article on sexual predators teaching English in China’s schools: http://goo.gl/2ajYFI But the phenomenon can be anywhere. Perhaps there are various cases, incidents, even rumors you may know about in your own teaching geographies.

    I am grateful to my colleague Dr. Vaughan Rapatahana, who has partially inspired and co-authored this somewhat extended comment. Recent books he has edited include: English Language as Hydra: Its Impacts on Non-English Cultures. (MLM 2012) http://goo.gl/QXaTtU and Why English? Confronting the Hydra. (MLM 2016) http://goo.gl/SDaVWW

    In a new article, as yet unpublished, Dr. Rapatahana) notes: “If we judge the burgeoning number of internet reports over the last few years, unfortunately, the TEFL industry would seem to have a disproportionately high number of reported incidents of sexual predation by expatriate ‘teachers.” He stresses: “The continued and increasing number of reported cases of sexual predation by English language ‘teachers’ who have been hired from overseas to teach English in developing countries (especially in Asia) should be a major cause for concern in the English Language Teaching (ELT) profession. While there may be dozens of general web pages, news reports and blogs on this distressing form of sexual predation, […] there has been next to nothing written on this issue in the relevant ELT academic literature.”

    Such largely male offenders are adept at going on the run if identified and reappearing elsewhere, they are what some call “professional perpetrators,” seeking through their professional skills positions (in schools; children’s organizations; as freelance tutors) that open the door for sexual abuse. Rapatahana observes that they are “quite capable of changing their names, using false passports and falsifying university credentials in order to obtain teaching or tutoring positions: commonly reported facets of their behavior.” This can involve sexual harassment (and abuse) of students across a wide range of age and gender identities, including quite young kids, the target of pedophiles, and tween/teens, the target of hebephiles. Moreover, while same-sex misconduct in some research in the US schools on pupil abusers is reported to range from 18 to 28%, predators within the TEFL industry would seem to be almost exclusively male and very often homosexual. This US survey is an important report on educator sexual misconduct by Charol Shakeshaft from the US on Educator Sexual Misconduct: http://goo.gl/KkUQB Download as pdf — take a look. Ms. Shakeshaft is well-known for her research on sexual abuse by teachers: http://goo.gl/sIqms, though not concentrating on EFL.

    A related broader area is sexual exploitation and malfeasance by staff connected with NGOs. Part of the problem is of course power of educators over their learners, people using their position for sexual ends. And the huge boom in ELT and the genuine and engineered desire to learn English creates a particularly attractive space for such potential malfeasance and predation. As Rapatahana stresses, some in the huge expanding field of TEFL across the planet are “all too free to stroll in and sexually molest at-risk, poor and disadvantaged students, themselves striving to attain some measure of English language competency in an effort to escape penury.” From a recent (2015) search just on internet, Rapatahana identified “18 Western sexually predatory males ‘teaching’ English in Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, PR China, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Egypt, India, Nepal, Nicaragua.” These are only a handful of actual cases out there.

    A separate and different, yet related dimension to this is what is called akogare (desire) in Japan, for example, whereby, as Rapatahana comments, “supposedly sensitive and refined Western male English teachers are often seen as objects of desire by adult Japanese women students, precisely because their ‘acquisition’ of such an English-speaking gentleman could open the doors to the West.” This is again the ‘power dimension’ especially associated with English as a proselytized super-inflated lingua franca of social advancement. Rapatahana discusses a range of examples that show “how TEFL opens the door for inherent ideologies that support abusive relationships, given – of course – that not all such adult tutor-pupil relationships in akogare are so.”

    There have been similar adult-level cases reported from the PRC: for example, Phiona Stanley, A Critical Ethnography of ‘Westerners’ Teaching in China: Shanghaied in Shanghai (Oxford: Routledge 2013). She quotes one interview (p. 179): “The guys that come to Asia and perceive that class, that room of females who are generally 21, 22 [years old], as sexual objects and that happens a lot, there’s no protection for the students, there’s no safeguards.” She also writes (p. 177): “there is also a culture among some of the younger Western men of objectifying their female students and other Chinese women, and of having casual sex with a series of women, including their students,” through seduction, power manipulation. Some of the interview material with Western EFL teachers in Shanghai that Stanley reproduces is a lot worse than the all-too-common “locker room talk” Trump has been attacked for (pp.170-90 and passim). However, Stanley would also definitely stress that these cases in Shanghai were not mainly the case where male teachers were preying on female students, because often also, it is the young female students who are experimenting sexually. It is important to repeat here that it is the predation by men on young children/schoolchildren that is the most heinous aspect of predation in the TEFL industry, as – for example – in PR China. Read this article 2013 on sexual predators in China’s schools: http://goo.gl/2ajYFI and this http://goo.gl/uRxMLf This also an illuminating report on the PRC
    http://goo.gl/JH1qXB

    A third related striate that Rapatahana looks at more esp. within Asian TEFL zones, in particular Japan and South Korea, is “when white women expatriate teachers of English have been seen as ‘easy’ sexual fodder for Asian males and in some situations, have been assaulted, raped and in a few severe cases, murdered.” So this is reverse victimization of female teachers by colleagues, perhaps even older students. Rapatahana continues to point out the big picture here: it is precisely because English language is deemed to be so hugely important and is often forced onto traditionally ‘non-English as first language communities’, that such predation – of whatever ilk – takes place. In other words, agents of the English language are opening the door for sexual misconduct, all too often of the most serious kind, while even the potential exploitation of women schoolteachers and adult Asian women by their expatriate teachers couldn’t thrive without this industry.

    One reason people can get away with this is that, as Rapatahana notes: “Standards of recruitment and background checking are lax, because the majority of these predatory men are generally not recruited by Western agencies, but source their positions once in-country, where they obtain employment far more easily.” He quotes a Chinese newspaper article that states it is all too easy to “become a native English teacher in China, no questions asked. The insatiable demand for English language tuition has made finding a job for most native speakers, particularly those with white skin, little more than a formality.” And even if there are grounded suspicions, cultural taboos may suppress complaining about ex-pat foreign teachers.

    Rapatahana stresses:”because the foreign teacher is further empowered as he/she is teaching the perceived Holy Grail – the English language, English language proficiency is frequently seen to be some magical pathway to fiscal and social potency and its proponents as akin to potentates.” Moreover: then there is denial. Many educational institutes – again, especially in China – tend to overlook reports of sexual malfeasance by foreign English teachers, partly to protect their image as a school, partly because they just don’t believe it is occurring. And because there are so many job openings around in EFL, sexual offenders can move from one country to another.

    Associated with this in the ‘background’ is also a massive and growing sex tourism industry (including child sexual tourism) feeding on the devastating poverty in many areas in SE Asia and elsewhere, read this: http://goo.gl/ApdUCQ Of course, some measures are being taken to combat this, esp. at governmental level (perhaps also where you work), but not enough. Some universities in the PRC will today not hire an ‘older’ (i.e. aged 40+) SINGLE ex-pat male teacher, because of past experience they have had with older males on staff, unmarried.

    All this is a complex and multi-faceted sexualized area. We have to be better aware of it, encourage students to speak out about it, school directors, and language school firms to be more watchful – and depending on the teaching ecology, to have our eyes wide open and not wide shut. As Rapatahana again stresses: “We educationalists have agency: we should be exercising it far more than we are. There should also be far more research done.” This is not just some TEFL in Asia problem. It exists directly in the UK, US, in Eastern Europe, elsewhere.
    Rapatahana writes: “Moreover, the individual teacher of English language, wherever he or she may be, has not only a duty to report and to publicise sexual predation cases they may know about, but – just as importantly – to confess, illuminate, repeat, denounce all the iniquities involved in the massive language grab” that the spread and uncritical celebration of EFL entails. Many of us certainly can agree.

    I think raising this whole issue of predation in its varying modes and degrees in some way within IATEFL is important, perhaps at the Glasgow conference or other conferences, some journals. Others may disagree that it is an issue a major teachers’ association should address.. Of course, journal editors may be reluctant to publish anything too specific, fearing libel charges, etc. If you have relevant input or comments you would like to pass on to Vaughan Rapatahana who is working on a book regarding this whole highly sensitive complex, contact me at templerbill@gmail.com and I will put you in touch with him. And please comment here if you wish.

  27. Linda Ruas October 30, 2016 at 1:17 pm #

    Thanks very much for this, Bill – such an important area of concern, and so relevant. I’ve just been talking to my co-CELTA tutor about bringing this into our ‘jobs talk’ at the end of the CELTA course. And I think we need to publish more about this – starting with our next GISIG newsletter?

  28. Bill Templer November 13, 2016 at 5:13 pm #

    India’s slave bride trade A truly powerful documentary http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/101east/2016/11/india-slave-brides-161108114930893.html Young girls trafficked into marriage often far from home, some at the age of 10 or 11.

    >Decades of sex selection favouring male babies have left some Indian states with vastly more men than women, creating a lucrative and growing market for traffickers. In the patriarchal and feudal state of Haryana where there’s a shortage of women to marry, it’s normal for men to buy young girls trafficked from other states. Known as ‘paros’, a term implying they can be purchased, they are regularly raped, forced into marriages and made to work as bonded labour. Their uneducated families are often tricked into agreeing to send them away, lured by the idea of a happy marriage for their daughters. But tragically, there is no ‘happily ever after’.<

    This is extreme oppression of girls, embedded in part in village culture in some Indian states. India has no strong laws to counter this effectively. Students can wonderwhat their lives might be like if trafficked into marriage at a very young age, a child bride stolen from her mother and father.

  29. Bill Templer November 20, 2016 at 10:30 pm #

    ‘The Reality of Prostitution’, an interview with Rachel Moran, an Irish woman who was prostituted and leads a struggle against it as commercialized rape. She gives much insight into the psychological reality of what prostitution does to a woman’s mind and body. A certain segment of the progressive left thinks prostitution must be fully legalized, as in New Zealand, a position Amnesty Int. also espouses. Rachel argues against that. Her interview with Chris Hedges: https://www.rt.com/shows/on-contact/367571-reality-prostitution-law-sweden/ Her book: PAID FOR: MY JOURNEY THROUGH PROSTITUTION (2013) http://goo.gl/U0YZO1 is readily available in low-cost copy. Some see her work and book in the tradition of anti-slavery literature, denouncing (based on her experience) sexual slavery disguised by society as ‘sex work’.

  30. Bill Templer November 25, 2016 at 11:59 am #

    Today Nov. 25 is not only ‘Black Friday’ but also the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, organized by the UN http://goo.gl/rHvybb

    Certainly relevant in terms of Gender Issues and more generally. The article linked above is basic.

  31. Bill Templer November 29, 2016 at 4:15 pm #

    Speaking of culturally anchored violence and marginalization, this article on the Perna caste of sex workers in India is indeed mind-boggling, and I invite you to ponder the existence of such perversions of justice in the lingering caste system of what is the world’s largest ‘democracy’. Most likely nowhere other than in parts of northern India. “The Indian caste where wives are forced into sex work
    For girls and women from the Perna caste, entering the sex trade is a normal next step after marriage and child” http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/11/indian-caste-prostitution-hereditary-161122124031163.html

    These are the DNTs (de-notified tribes), the so-called ‘criminal castes’, whose legacy still is perpetuated. “Perna caste belongs to Denotified and Nomadic Tribes of India, who were classified as Criminal Tribes by British colonialists.” As the article states: “Historically itinerant traders, entertainers, and folk-craft practitioners, DNT communities are often compared with the Roma in Europe.” I.e., ethnic minorities in a sense defined as being nomads, somehow radically and irretrievably external to normal society. But the situation of their women is truly beyond all rational belief.

    This example of social marginalization here & now is probably inconceivable in most countries anywhere, even in the more distant past. Of course this too is part of humanity’s dubious legacy, the ‘cultural storehouse’ of our species. Read the article for yourself: How do some of you see this?

    How can Indians justify these abuses and abominations affecting Perna women in the main, part even of the very baggage of historical Hinduism in its worst social-exclusionary aberrations 2016?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Gender Issues Month – Week 1 summary by Linda Ruas | Global Issues SIG - January 5, 2017

    […] had a lot of great contributions in our first week, both on our GISIG website and on the linked Facebook page, and are very lucky that MAWSIG are supporting our Issues Month […]

Leave a Reply