To Thine Own Self Be True: Examining Gender Roles and Stereotypes through a Pre-Adolescent Lens

Dan Barber, Language Arts, Writing, Health, Irwin Academic Center

Final Unit (PDF)

Implementing Common Core Standards

200 Word Synopsis

Pre-adolescence is a difficult and challenging stage of life for many children.  While one is coping with the physical and emotional changes brought on by the onset of puberty, many children also face a difficult transition from elementary school to middle school.  Such scary and unsettling changes are only made more complicated by the mixed messages various delivered to pre-adolescents through a variety of media texts, particularly as they relate to gender roles and gender stereotypes.  This unit is designed to help students make sense of the messages they receive from various societal and media sources and to understand the subtle and sometimes obvious messages related to gender espoused by such media texts.  The underlying purpose of this unit, though, is not merely to assist students in indentifying gender stereotypes generated by media text but also, and perhaps more importantly, to teach students to understand those messages and empower students to speak out or stand up against societal-created stereotypes.  Through this curriculum unit, students will learn that they are not merely consumers of media but also creators of media and, as such, they should not permit other media creators to dictate what role they should play in society.