ACTIVITY: 1. The Other Gender is...Opinions and Feelings Concerning the "Opposite" Sex
TIME: 100 minutes
SUBJECTS: English, Health, Life Skills
This is a student writing-based activity that explores preconceptions, attitudes, and anxieties concerning the "opposite" gender. Discussion is stimulated by student reading of personal narratives.
• To analyze personal and cultural attitudes toward other gender.
• To clearly and cogently express ideas and emotions in writing.
• To present written work verbally to an audience.
• To improve listening skills.
• To develop healthy, equitable, and realistic attitudes toward the other gender.
MATERIALS: Use student's writing exercise as material for this activity.
It is best if written work is assigned as homework. If written in classroom setting, peer influence may inhibit honest and thorough effort; also, responses may be more self-conscious.
1. Ask students to discuss in writing their feelings and opinions about the "opposite" gender. Give a required length to insure some thought and uniformity for reading time when used as a classroom activity.
Example: 150 words. Students may want to consider the following questions in their essays:
• In what ways are you different from other students in your class?
• How are you the same as other students in your class?
• Is friendship with the other gender different from same gender friendship? How and why?
• Do you change your actions and activities when you're in the presence of the other gender? How and why?
2. Separate students according to gender for presentation of essays. Each student reads his/her paper to the class.
3. Have listeners respond in two ways:
• Write a short response to the reader.
• Offer verbal responses. Ask students to find points they agree with. Explain that responses and viewpoints need to be kept positive.
4. Bring class back together. Have students volunteer to read their essays.
• Allow free discussion. Ask students to consider the following: Was the discussion different with the whole class present? Why or why not?
5. At the end of the discussion, ask students for positive statements about the other gender and record them on the board under male or female headings. Point out commonalities. Ask students to list the statements that could be switched to other gender column.
Student writing may be assessed in terms of effort, creativity, content, and style. Speaking and listening skills may be noted during oral presentations and subsequent discussions.