educating, Sex education, workshop

Make It Normal – Inferences

Conducting our workshop was a great experience for us. We had a lot of fun interacting with the students, finding out what all they know about sex and sexuality and see them slowly come out of their shells.

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The ice-breaking video made the class 8 students very shy. They felt uncomfortable in coming to the front of the class and describing words from ‘Describe It’ by themselves. Seeing them refrain, we had to describe a few words for them ourselves.

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Class 8 students while their Biology teacher was present in the class

The presence of their Biology teacher also played a part in making them feel awkward, and while she was in the class their interaction with us was limited. However, after she stepped out, the students gradually opened up.

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Class 8 students after their Biology teacher stepped out of the class

Playing ‘Myth & Match’ proved to be a big success. The students started talking to each other about the myths and were eager to find out whether their guesses were correct or not.

Class 11 students were much more comfortable with the workshop in general. In an attempt to make the experience more open and casual, we removed all the tables and made them sit in a cluster. They were laughing away while the ice-breaking video was playing, were familiar with the words from ‘Describe It’ and keen to go in front of the class and play the game. They could quickly guess most of the words and enthusiastically took part in the discussions that these words sparked. Even while playing Myth & Match, most of them made correct choices or guesses while deciding which statements were true.

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A class 11 student trying to describe ‘puberty’ through drawing

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Class 11 students sitting and conversing with us in a cluster

The anonymous question answer session was very interesting for both classes. This activity made us realize that they do have a lot of queries regarding these topics. The questions ranged from vague queries to specific ones. It reinforced the fact that the students had a variety of opinions and doubts about sex and sexuality, doubts that they could not ask everyone around them. Their sources of information had been their peers and the internet. Hence they welcomed any assurance from someone older yet close to their age and preferred talking to young adults like us or their friends over teachers or parents.

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Anonymous questions from two different sets of students (above and below)

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The fact that speaking to the adults around the students (parents and teachers) was difficult for them also reflected in the feedback forms. More than half of the students said they preferred speaking to young adults and/or their peers about sex and sexuality over their parents. The feedback we got was very positive too; it was a huge boost for our confidence! All students said that they learnt something new and almost all of them said that the workshop was fun.

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A few of the feedback forms we received

There was stark difference in the students’ behaviour between the start of the workshop and its end. From shying away from even saying the word ‘sex’ out loud to asking questions about it without inhibition in a matter of one and a half hours told us that they were eager to know more; that they believed in the benefits of sex and sexuality education. The most satisfying bit for us, was sensing that the students had started trusting us.

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about sex, educating, learning, Sex education, workshop

Make It Normal – the Structure

We devised a workshop called ‘Make It Normal’ for school students of class 8 and 11 separately, with the objective of starting a conversation about sex and sexuality.

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The workshop’s structure

Before holding any workshops we consulted Ms. jamila Firdaus, the school counsellor at Navrachana High School, Vadodara. She helped us segregate our content age-appropriately and told us how to approach the students.

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Discussions with Jamila Ma’am

The workshop would begin with an ice-breaking video just to have a laugh and make the students feel comfortable. The ice-breaking videos for class 8 and 11 respectively are as follows –

The video would be followed by games – ‘Describe It’ and ‘Myth & Match’. Both games involve interactions between students that prompt exchanges of information between them regarding topics related to sex and sexuality, interspersed with us stepping in to provide them with extra information.

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Tools used for our games ‘Describe It’ (the pink slips), ‘Myth & Match’ (the green cards), and the red question box for anonymous queries.

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Cards segregated into separate stacks for the two classes

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A class 8 student describing a word to the class

After playing the games, students would ask us questions anonymously using a question box, which would be discussed and answered by us in front of the whole class.

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Anonymous Q & A with class 8

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The feedback form to be filled by each student at the end the workshop

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