Author: Kalkidan Tilahun | Published on 1 March 2024


Question: How can we explore the topic of gender in our classroom with our learners?

Answer: Through giving typical lesson activities a gender twist.

Ways in which to explore gender include:

Establish Ground Rules

Begin by setting ground rules to ensure a respectful and safe environment. Encourage open-mindedness, active listening, and respect for the different viewpoints of both boys and girls in the same way, praise equally, ask open questions rather than closed questions, etc.

Video or Reading Materials

Show videos or provide reading materials that explain the complexities of gender, its cultural and societal influences, and the experiences of different gender identities. For example: the video The Social Construction of Gender by Sociological Cinema provides an overview of how gender is not simply a biological fact, but rather a social construction that is shaped by cultural norms, expectations and power dynamics. 

Guest Speaker/Panel

Consider inviting a guest speaker who identifies as transgender, non-binary, or gender non-conforming to share their personal experiences and insights. This can provide a more personal perspective on the topic. If possible, organize a panel discussion with experts or activists in the field of gender. This can provide a well-rounded perspective on the topic.

NB: Be careful when inviting a speaker who identifies as transgender, non-binary or gender non-conforming. Prepare how the topic will be discussed beforehand and define the boundaries of the discussion.

Discussion and Sharing

Encourage students to share their thoughts, questions, and experiences related to gender and accept all answers equally. We can use open-ended questions to stimulate discussion, such as:

  • What does gender mean to you?
  • Have you ever felt restricted or empowered by your gender?
  • How can we challenge gender stereotypes and biases? 

Gender Identity and Expression Activity

Use a hands-on activity where students can explore their own understanding of gender identity and expression. One activity is to provide magazines and ask students to cut out images or articles that represent different aspects of gender identity and expression. They can then create collages or posters to express their own understanding. Explore gender responsibilities by discussing who does household chores, who can be soldier or a secretary, etc.

Case Studies

Present case studies or real-life stories that highlight issues related to gender discrimination, bullying, or inequalities. Let the learners discuss the consequences of such actions. For example: students can think about what has happened to themselves or to friends or they can come up with a case from their parents to discuss in the class. 

Role-Playing or Simulation

Create scenarios or role-play situations where students can experience the impact of gender bias. For example, have them act out a job interview with different gender identities and see if there are differences in the way they are treated. 

Group Projects

Divide the class into small groups and have them research and present on different aspects of gender, such as gender identity, gender inequality, or gender in history, including achievements by both genders. 


Encourage students to write reflective essays or journal entries about what they've learned and how it has impacted their understanding of gender. 

Continued Education

Keep the conversation going throughout the school year. Dedicate a portion of each class to discussing related topics or current events. View typical topics from a gender perspective, develop subtopics by breaking down the main topics into subtopics that allow us to delve deeper into gender-related aspects. By incorporating gender perspectives into typical topics and maintaining a sustained focus throughout the school year, we can foster a deep understanding of gender issues and promote critical thinking and empathy among our students.