Sun, May 08, 2011 - Page 8 News List

Curriculum debate speaks volumes

By Huang Tsung-huei 黃宗慧

Even if they are not actually looking for it, they will come into contact with it in one form or another through the media and become informed — or misinformed, as the case may be — about it in that way. Kids find out snippets of information, like the fact that slim gay men are referred to by some as “monkeys,” while bigger, hairy gay men are called “bears.”

If these terms are not taught through homosexual education they could well become ammunition for bullies making vocal attacks on people with a minority sexuality. If this is indeed the case, I don’t think it is what parents or educators would want to see.

What opponents should really be worried about is whether, after these materials have been introduced into the curriculum, they will be taught properly, and whether elementary and junior high school teachers are up to the job of teaching them.

Such reservations, however, do not mean that it is too early to include these materials in the curriculum, or that we should stop because of them. On the contrary, we should redouble our efforts as a result and give our approval to the teaching of homosexual issues. Teachers should set an example and not shy away from the inclusion of these materials.

If prejudice against homosexuals exists in society as a whole, one can imagine that those teaching this subject in schools would be feel a degree of pressure to gloss over the materials, or to teach them in a perfunctory way. And if this is the case, one shouldn’t hold out too much hope for any real advancement in the teaching of gender equality in schools, even if the ministry does include these materials in the curriculum.

Huang Tsung-huei is a professor in National Taiwan University’s Department of Foreign Languages and Literature.

TRANSLATED BY PAUL COOPER

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