About our engagement with schools
We know that adolescents often feel pressure to behave in a certain way. For boys, this is often about conforming to masculine stereotypes. We also know that boys (and girls!) who agree with these stereotypes are more likely to engage in harmful behaviours and have poor wellbeing, including:
- Perpetrating bullying
- Performing poorly in school
- Being involved in physical violence
- Abusing drugs and alcohol
- Engaging in risky behaviours
- Having poor mental health, and
- In the case of adolescent boys, engaging in sexual harassment.
Our values and approach
The Men’s Project approaches this work with a curious mind. Everyone can play a role in creating safe, respectful and accountable communities by questioning ingrained notions about gender.
We do not take a ‘blame and shame’ approach: we are all in this together, and subject to similar messages from society, and we all deserve to be treated with dignity and compassion.
We create safe and welcoming spaces where people feel safe and supported. We also encourage everyone to develop greater self-awareness through reflection, supported by our skilled facilitators.
We regularly refine our programs to reflect the most up-to-date research about what works to create gender equality and reduce the use of violence and other harmful behaviours.
Our programs for schools
Our evidence-based programs challenge harmful norms about gender to improve wellbeing, behaviour and safety. Our resources and workshops have been designed to align with the Victorian Resilience, Rights & Respectful Relationships Curriculum.
Our workshops for students, staff, parents and school leaders introduce participants to the pressures boys and men can feel to behave a certain way, the impacts of these pressures, and how to move away from harmful attitudes and behaviours. Our workshops aim to build awareness, open conversation and skills to adopt healthier habits and develop healthier identities.
Our lesson pack ‘pursing healthier identities’ is an interactive and discussion-based unit which looks at gender stereotypes, masculinity, healthier identities, character strengths, healthier relationships and ways to take action. The unit comes with teacher notes, PowerPoint slides and student handouts.
Survey of students’ beliefs and related behaviours about gender
Our ‘Adolescent Man Box’ research survey provides insight into your students’ wellbeing, and reveals how wellbeing is impacted by the pressures students feel to conform to gender stereotypes. Survey results can then be used to tailor curricula and activities to address any challenges highlighted in the survey results.
Modelling Respect and Equality for schools and their community
Our Modelling Respect and Equality program is designed for school staff with a particular interest in role modelling healthier alternatives to the ‘Man Box’. It supports staff to deepen their understanding of what may be driving challenging student behaviour, and increases their knowledge, skills and confidence to lead change.