Who is Sam the Snail?

Even today, school represents a social space that is strongly heteronormative.

This creates situations of exclusion and social discrimination where people who do not conform to these norms in the school and classroom contexts are excluded and discriminated against. The current German government has determined that schools must educate not just imparting knowledge, but fighting discrimination as well.

Unfortunately, there is little teaching material on sexual and gender diversity so far. That is why, within the framework of the All Inc! project, Lena Boidol’s bachelor thesis aimed to develop materials and methods for 9-11 year old children to implement the following learning objectives: 

Pupils should:

  • gain awareness and understanding of the restrictive and/or exclusionary effects of heteronormative structures in society;
  • know the meaning of the terms inter*, trans*, heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual, gay and lesbian as well as polyamory through the confrontation with diverse identities and ways of life from the animal world as something natural, and recognise that every person is individual. 

Lena’s project is based on the children’s book Who is Sam the Snail?, by Maria Pawłowska and Jakub Szamałek. In essence, the project day is about creating a protected and trusting space in which the pupils can deal with the topics of gender stereotypes, gender and sexual diversity, as well as the associated exclusion and its consequences, in a completely unconstrained way. 

In order to test the effectiveness, the six-hour project was carried out with a fourth-grade and a sixth-grade class groups. It was descriptively evaluated using a standardised observation sheet, photographic documentation and the teacher’s own observations. The evaluation indicates that the developed material and methods lead to the fulfilment of all learning objectives, and can therefore be sensibly used in class. 

This post contributed by All Inc!’s DE1 team of Franziska and Lena — danke Team!

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