The Art of Gender: Qualicum Beach teacher offers new course

Students to learn about gender theories, stereotypes, feminism and then express learning with art

A Qualicum Beach teacher will give Grade 12 students the chance to delve deeper into the history and theories surrounding gender, and then express their learning with artwork.

Becky Weiss’s new course, ‘The Art of Gender’, was approved by School District 69’s board on Jan. 22.

“All the trustees were very supportive of it,” said trustee Julie Austin of the decision.

The course came about as a sort of amalgamation of Weiss’s passions, said the CEAP-TIDES and Distance Learning teacher based at Kwalikum Secondary School.

“It’s kind of like the art aspect as well as creative writing and storytelling and the study in gender all in one, and hiking,” she said of the course.

As part of the course, scheduled to be taught for the first time next school year to Grade 12 CEAP and KSS students as an elective (those who have completed English 11 would also have the course available), Weiss plans to use literature, art, gender theories and historical gender norms and injustices from different times and places around the world as ways of giving students a wide-ranging view of how gender is viewed differently in different places, as well as at different times.

The course description also shows a plan to include indigenous perspectives such as Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and delve into First Nations oral storytelling traditions.

It will also look at feminism, queer theory and more.

Some of the big ideas for the course are that people’s behaviour and actions are constantly perpetuating gender roles, and the individual world views shape and inform people’s understanding of gender.

Weiss said she expects students to bring their own beliefs to the class, while they learn about other beliefs, theories and history around gender.

“One of the things that they will need to be able to know is all about feminism and what that means,” said Weiss as an example. “It doesn’t mean that they have to be a feminist at the end of the course, but they have to understand what that is.”

“There will be content that they have to learn. They can do with it what they want.”

Part of the course is having students express what they’ve learned by creating art. That can range from visual art to written stories to oral presentations and/or storytelling and more.

Weiss said that, just as the course itself is an opportunity to delve into the history and subject far beyond what is currently done in other standard curriculum courses, having students create art to express their learning is another way to go deeper.

“From what I’ve seen with my students, the most that they get out of something is when they have to create something to show they are learning,” said Weiss.

“Most of the poetry that I get from students that’s even just their own personal stuff that they do because they love to write, shows so much meaning and understanding about a theme, because they were able to be creative in how they talked about that content.”

Even before the course has been taught, some teachers have expressed interest in it, said Weiss, as well as students.

Asked if she’s concerned about public reaction to the course, Weiss said she would hope [negativity] doesn’t happen.

Austin suggested anyone with questions about the course should first check out the description starting on page 37 of the district’s Jan. 22 board meeting agenda. To view that, go to www.sd69.bc.ca/Board/BoardMeetingAgendasMinutes/Pages/default.aspx and select the 2019-01-22 agenda document under the 2018-19 tab.

If people have further questions, they can speak with SD69’s assistant superintendent Gillian Wilson at (250-248-4241), said Austin.

Just Posted

Stretch of Departure Bay Road to be closed until month’s end for road work

Slope stabilization taking place between Newton Street and Little John Way

Jazz saxophonist touring the West Coast with one of his heroes

Weeds to play the Lighthouse Bistro with New York pianist David Hazeltine on Aug. 20

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Cassidy can’t support airport development

Environmental assessment needed on land overtop of aquifer, says letter writer

Sound mixer stolen from Nanaimo nightclub

Nanaimo RCMP ask for tips about theft of sound mixer from Koncept Nightclub

Memorial for drug overdose victims on display at St. Paul’s Church in Nanaimo

Flags of Hope Overdose Awareness Display at Chapel Street church until Aug. 29

70 years of lifting: Canadian man, 85, could cinch weightlifting championship

The senior gym junkie is on track to win the World Masters Weightlifting championship

Beefs & Bouquets, Aug. 15

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Most Read