Thursday, 09 January 2014
Teaching students have been praised the ‘valuable’ nature of the Institute of Education’s ties with Stonewall, which saw a guest speaker from the charity deliver a presentation last week.
Alex Newton, Education Officer with the organisation which fights for equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual people, spoke to undergraduate and postgraduate students about the importance of tackling homophobia and celebrating differences in the classroom environment.
PGCE student Florence Lane explains: “The Stonewall session was great in terms of getting us to think about the care with which we ought to approach and think about different family units in society, and it complemented the inclusive ethos which underpins the PGCE programme.
“Alex used an approach which allowed us to discuss alternative ways of dealing with homophobia and bullying which I found really valuable, and it will no doubt give us greater confidence when we become established in our careers.”
She adds: “It was really helpful to have expert guidance from a leading charity on an issue which we all should be taking seriously and dealing with proactively, and it has empowered us and encouraged us all to challenge homophobic behaviour.”
Jason Griffiths, an undergraduate Primary Initial Teacher Education student, adds: “I found the lecture to be incredibly informative, and I was pleased to be given the chance to cover such a topic because of my lack of experience and confidence in the area.
“I did not realise the kind of effects homophobia has in a primary school setting and some of the statistics in Alex’s presentation took me by surprise and made me realise what a major issue this actually is.
“Therefore, the fact that the University and Stonewall gave us the opportunity to discuss the issue with an expert and our peers was very useful in helping me develop my understanding and my awareness of homophobia and the impact it can have on children from a very young age.”
Hannah MacAskill, also a Primary undergraduate, added: “The lecture was very interesting and gave us lots to discuss once it had finished.”