Saturday, June 11, 2011

Meyer, Gendered Harassment in Secondary Schools (Questions)


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Gendered Harassment in secondary schools:
Understanding teachers' (non) Interventions
Elizabeth J. Meyer

This article is based on six comprehensive interviews, that were completed with a diverse group of Canadian teachers who work in secondary urban public schools. This article written by Meyer, includes an analysis of the teachers perceptions and responses to incidences of harassment in their schools. The goal of this article is to gain a better understanding of the intricate factors that mold how educators view and respond to harassment, so that teachers and administrators can develop more affective solutions to reducing the unfortunate bullying and harassing that is present in schools today.

While reading Meyer's article on harassment in secondary schools,
several great discussion questions came to mind.

1. What are the complex factors that shape how teachers view and respond to gendered harassment?

2. According to Meyer, students report that teachers stand by and allow biased and hurtful behaviors go unchallenged. Why are sexual and homophobic harassment accepted parts of school culture where faculty and staff rarely or never intervene to stop harassment? How come faculty and staff do not consistently intervene to stop these undesired behaviors?

3. Meyer developed a theoretical model that emerged from the interview process. There are four tiers in this model that demonstrate the relationship between the main factors that influence how teachers respond to gendered harassment in school. What are the four main tiers in this model?

4. Meyer expressed that many of the teachers felt that their teacher education programs did not sufficiently prepare them to address incidents of harassment or bullying. The interviewees felt that they did not feel that they had many opportunities to pursue additional training in this area since they were encouraged to do professional development primarily in their area of instruction. How can teachers improve their practice and receive proper training? If it is not offered within their teacher education program, what are some other options that educators have? What resources are available and where can they go to attain appropriate training to prevent bullying and harassment in school?

5. Many of the teachers that were interviewed expressed concerns about their lack of awareness of and attention to the issues of racism, sexism, and homophobia within their schools. They also mentioned concern for their lack of knowledge on school policies such as bullying. Many of the educators did not have a clear understanding of these extremely important policies. As a whole, Meyer believes that there are many structural obstacles that exist and prevent educators from responding consistently and effectively to incidents of gendered harassment. How can we increase the awareness of racism, sexism, and homophobia in schools? How can schools provide clearly stated policies for teachers that indicate exactly how to address various forms of bullying and how teachers should enforce and apply these specific school policies?

6. Meyer states that there is a huge connection between personal experiences and discrimination. Many of the teachers that were interviewed made it clear that the significant influence of their personal identities and their own experiences in school shaped how they perceived and acted in the culture of their school. Although many teachers have experiences that have impacted their lives tremendously, how do we raise the awareness of teachers who have not gained meaningful personal experiences involving discrimination?

I found this article written by Elizabeth Meyer to be very informative :)

Gender and Schooling

Ending bullying and harassment, and promoting sexual diversity in schools.


  1. Hi Melissa, your questions are thought provoking and really connect the research to our own experiences.

  2. Hi Melissa I used the question topic in my blog as well. I found many links for families and teachers on the web for workshops and upcoming events.

  3. Hi Melissa,
    Great questions to discuss in class. We all can think about our classroom/school to investigate what kind of discrimination is there, and also reflect on what we are doing to stop harassment...or not.

  4. Melissa:

    Great questions! It's true--teacher preparation classes do not prepare us for these kinds of things.