In the wake of influencers such as Andrew Tate, lots of teachers are struggling to know how to handle conversations about relationships, sex, misogyny and sexual violence.
Our recent research on engaging boys in consent education with the University of Surrey highlighted that boys feel anxious and uncertain about navigating issues of consent and we are often not giving them the space or skills to do so.
Boys can feel alienated from conversations about sexual violence or abuse and thus, ensures that the dialogue is not happening.
This lack of safe opportunities for discussion, gives space for influencers such as Andrew Tate to take the spotlight.
How can schools tackle issues of misogyny and sexual violence?
RSE lessons as part of Personal Development are your most powerful tool, every school has to have them and themes relating to consent, healthy relationships and gender stereotypes should already live within your curriculum. See below for specific practical, evidence based, guidance for schools:
- Utilise a whole school approach to ensure that the messages are consistent and reiterated across the school
- Use a spiral curriculum which builds on the learning year on year, reinforcing important messages throughout schooling
- Ensure safe spaces for discussion, we recommend setting up a partnership agreement with pupils. If you are separating genders for some discussions, it is important to come together and share learning afterwards.
- Apply a holistic approach to consent education in particular which is embedded throughout the curriculum
- Don’t rely entirely on analogies (for example the cup of tea video often used to teach consent). Instead, recognize that young people are already out in the world with opinions and experiences. They see language and images designed for adults online. We need to also talk directly, not talk down to them and present realistic scenarios for them to explore.
- Consider SEN pupil needs. It is possible that some male SEN pupils, for example those with autism, are being especially influenced by Andrew Tate. Address those pupils and their views directly and with literal language, that includes talking directly about Andrew Tate. Depending on behavior individual interventions may be required including involvement of the school education psychologist.
- Present alternative narratives to Andrew Tate and alternative positive male role models
- Equip teachers with skills through training and the resources in order to feel confident guiding pupils through the discussions
- Don’t just focus on Tate the problem is bigger – talk about wider issues of online influencer, gender roles, extremism- remember this problem is not going away with a quick fix. See the Life Lessons online influencer pack for resources on this.
- Help parents to be more aware of the problem, most will be in the dark. Help them ally with you to reinforce messages at home
How Life Lessons can help
Life Lessons have developed a set of 8×15 minute lessons ‘The Life Lessons Online Influencer pack’.
These lessons feature purpose made content designed to help young people think critically about what they are watching online including videos that directly unpick Andrew Tate’s problematic misogyny messaging related to:
- ‘Gender roles’
- ‘Masculinity and mental health’
- ‘The Matrix’
- Definitions of success.
This pack is now available to all Life Lessons schools, contact us to learn more.
In collaboration with UCL, Leicester and Anglia Ruskin Universities, we have created free lessons resources on the broader topic of Sexual Violence, those materials can be downloaded here.
These issues are not easy to handle and so we help schools with all of the above through our resources, training and ongoing support which helps teachers to feel confident and helps pupils to share their opinions.