This international Symposium is aimed at developing and extending a dialogue to address what appears both nationally and internationally as a growing concern for youth sexualized identities. This event centres on taking up a critical dialogue that will examine the education tensions in Canada and beyond that are currently emerging as schools gradually acknowledge and develop curriculum that better reflects a changing reality of the complexity of youth identities.
In Canada and Ontario particular schools continue to introduce revised curriculum that addresses the growing sexualized realities of today’s youth. Recent revisions to the Ontario Ministry of Education Elementary Health and Physical Education (2015) curriculum has received considerable media and public attention that reflects concerns and uncertainties about the kinds of knowledge and responsibilities of educators to educate children and in what manner. This international Symposium is an opportunity for moving forward by promoting a dialogue that unpacks the concerns and issues emerging for teachers addressing the changing educational landscape in schools. As such this set of meetings is aimed at bringing together research and policy makers who are addressing issues relating to gender, health, and education.
There is a shift, an unsettling of communities across students, parents and teachers, who struggle to better understand and better explore sexual identities even in the face of public discomfort or uncertainty. Silin (1995) offers a cautionary note addressing the untouchable and unheard curriculum, arguing that “the curriculum has too often become an injunction to desist rather than an invitation to explore [children’s] life worlds” (p. 49). Rather than subscribe to or be oppressed by a public discourse that often maintains childhood innocence and heteronormativity, this event acknowledges what Epstein and Johnson (1998) describe as the “multi-layered complexities of the sexual cultures of school children and [bringing] into question some common-sense assumptions about “protection’, arguing, rather, for a stance which accords children rights---to knowledge, to control of their own lives and bodies, to support” (p. 196). This Symposium and Art Project effectively disrupts the often silenced worlds of youth sexual identities. In doing so this set of events will move the dialogue forward for a critical and deeper understanding of the curricular tensions currently evident across some school and parent communities.
Researchers, practitioners, and agencies will use panel discussion format in this symposium to extend conversations that often occur in silos separate and removed from each other. Each session will be designed specifically to allow for presentations from across agencies, academics, and graduate students. In addition, reserved spaces will be available for local area school Boards and particular outreach will be made specifically to the Thames Valley District School Board Safe School Committee. This Symposium will contribute both to the community at hand but also to larger, public and research community.
Who should attend:
Abstract submissions for panel discussions could address any of the following either singularly or as they overlap and intersect:
University of Auckland University of Alberta
Western University University of London