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Our work 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

 

As part of our mission to support boys and men to live respectful, accountable and fulfilling lives free from violence and other harmful behaviour, we partner with schools to deliver evidence-based programs for students in years 5-12. These programs challenge the harmful norms about gender in order to improve staff and students’ wellbeing, behaviour and safety.

In the last 5 years we have worked directly with tens of thousands of students, teachers, and parents. Our programs are rigorously evaluated, and based on research about what works.

For more information about working with us in your school, contact us to set up a no-obligation conversation.

Our programs for schools

Our evidence-based programs challenge harmful norms about gender in order to improve wellbeing, behaviour and safety.

Workshops

For students, staff, parents and school leaders/SRCs

Our workshops 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. Versions of these workshops have been developed for each year level, and we also provide workshops for school staff and parents.

Curriculum resources

Our unit ‘pursing healthier identities’ is an interactive and engaging 10-week unit which looks at gender stereotypes, emotions, relationships and character strengths. The unit includes lesson plans that include teacher instructions and examples, PowerPoint slides, and a student workbook. We provide staff training and ongoing support to ensure staff can deliver these lessons effectively.

Our resources and workshops have been designed to align with the Victorian Resilience, Rights & Respectful Relationships Curriculum.

Survey of student gender beliefs and related behaviours

Our ‘Adolescent Man Box’ survey provides insight into your students’ wellbeing, and reveals how this 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. For more information, please contact us.

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.

Programs to address challenging student behaviours

We have two evidence-based programs designed to address challenging behaviours: “Before It Starts”, for 8 to 12 year old boys, and “Jack’s Hut” for 12 to 17 year old boys.

To find our more, download our School Partnerships flyer.

For more information about working with us in your school, contact us to set up a no-obligation conversation.

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.

Parents tip sheet

The Men’s Project recently collaborated with leading girls’ rights agency Plan International Australia and Promundo, a global leader in engaging men and boys in promoting gender equality and preventing violence, to produce a guide for parents to help boys embrace healthy, positive masculinity.

The guide offers parents nine simple, practical tips to talk to their sons about healthy masculinity, and encourage positive beliefs and behaviours from an early age, including: how parents can use play to define positive values, challenge gender stereotypes, be clear about consent and more.

Nine ways to encourage healthy masculinity

  1. Encourage personal expression with toys. Introduce boys to a range of toys and activities, including those that are ‘gender neutral’ and thought of as ‘for girls’.
  2. Use play to define positive values. Show through role play that being able to express a range of emotions, including being afraid, or compassionate and caring is positive for both boys and girls.
  3. Challenge harmful stereotypes around clothes. Encourage boys to be their authentic selves by allowing them to experiment with fashion and self expression.
  4. Be clear about consent. Let boys know they have to ask permission to touch others, and they have the right to say no if they don’t want to be touched.
  5. Find media with good role models. Choose books, TV shows and media that break gender norms by showing boys and girls who have interests and emotions that challenge stereotypes.
  6. Speak up when you hear disrespect. If family or friends say something problematic around your son, speak up in that moment and have a conversation about values.
  7. Find positive role models. Identify role models in your family, community or media who demonstrate healthy, respectful ways to be a boy or man.
  8. Talk the talk. Help boys feel supported that they won’t be judged for sharing their concerns or fears, and encourage them to empathise and connect with others.
  9. Walk the walk. Challenge your own perceptions of gender roles and model behaviours you want to encourage.

Download the tip sheet Raising sons to embrace healthy, positive masculinity.