We have a fantastic group of boys in our class this year. As the year progresses, the level of leadership we are seeing is impressive with many of our boys taking on important roles around the school and in the wider community. A big part of this development involves us thinking about who we want to be. How do we want to be seen in our community? What type of men do we want to be when we grow up? Many of our conversations build on the work started by our boys group last year. We have spent a lot of time breaking down stereotypes and challenging ideas of masculinity and ‘respect’ in our world. The boys have engaged amazingly well in this topic and have begun creating a new set of images to add to last year’s #WeStandTall project. Our hope is that their images will encourage further conversation in our school and wider community.
It’s been a bit of a journey for us over the last year. Being connected is a big part of learning in our classroom. Through this, we came across an article in our local paper focussing on some of the issues that we were discussing as a part of our learning in the child protection curriculum. We reached out to the reporter through Twitter and gave some of our thoughts. After some ongoing discussion, this reporter asked to come and write a story about our learning.
This was a powerful experience for our boys. A week later we were contacted by ‘Today Tonight’ who were also interested in the story and again, our students were in the spotlight talking about their learning.
It became very important to the boys to encourage this learning with other students. The images we created last year were our way to try and do this.
This year, some of the boys from last year’s boys group are in our boys class and have led this learning with students who are new to this topic. Being very aware of the negativity that floods our online spaces, we wanted to continue the process of sharing our thoughts and promoting positivity in our class, school and wider community.
The boys have been sharing the images and messages that they have created so far and already, some other schools are coming on board to create messages of their own. Last year, our local member of Parliament, Corey Wingard joined us by creating an image. This year, we are encouraging as many of our school community to get involved as possible. We encourage others to get involved by creating their own images and statements. If you would like to join us, we’d love to have you on board! Remember to share your images with the #WeStandTall hashtag and let us know. The images we have created so far this year are below. A HUGE thank you to Kelli Dudley for giving her time and expertise to take photos for this project.