As a primary school student growing up in a major agricultural town, I can say with certainty that my school was one of mostly ‘Conservative’ orientation, but with an undercurrent of ‘Liberal’. I believe this largely influenced my identity, and led to a specific construction of child (Jones, 2011).
This essay will discuss how a predominantly ‘Conservative’ orientation unintentionally shaped my childhood and adolescence, affected my views and expectations of sex and gender, and formed my idea of sexuality.
I attended a Co-Educational Catholic School in Moree, New South Wales. Being a student at a Catholic school in a Cotton-growing town, the approach was one that took a majorly ‘Conservative’ orientation – so to fit inside the norms of society (Jones, 2009) and to abide by traditional values (Apple, 2005), along with student preparation for life rather than work (Jones, 2009).
To reach this goal, the school imparted values consistent with the Catholic diocese and our middle-class society (McQueen, 2009), and we were seen as the ‘Romantic Children’ (Jones, 2009) constructed by the idea of ‘childhood innocence’ (Tait, 2013), but still capable of personal development. The ‘Conservative/Liberal’ discourse employed throughout my primary schooling influenced a lot of my learning. We were not segregated by gender; providing all students with choices and opportunities that allowed for our own personal growth, such as textiles, sporting opportunities, music/choir, and discovery through exploration and excursions.
To What Extent Should High School Students be allowed to Exercise Freedom of Speech While on Campus I think that nowadays to deal with an issue of students free speech rights is a tough problem for High School administrators. The matter is that students free speech is protected by the First Amendment. Thus it means that students are allowed to exercise free speech while on campus. But what should ...
Although we were a co-educational school (suggesting ‘Liberal’ orientation) the beliefs of the Church were instilled into us regularly, through Church visits, prayers and Charity works, and an exclusive Christian curriculum (Jones, 2009) transmitted through authoritative figures like the Principal, Priests and school leaders – leading back to the ‘Conservative’ discourse. Having a childhood ruled by Romantic discourse (Kehily, 2004) meant that I was smothered by the idea of ‘childhood innocence’; I was naive, uncomprehending, sheltered and submissive.
This, in-turn, meant that I unmentionable topics such as sex, and personal issues were off-limits until we near-reached secondary schooling. This was when the ‘Liberal’ views were again apparent – sexuality education and topics surrounding personal hygiene were approached in Stage 3; students were able to ask questions and begin to understand themselves. This has led to myself becoming partly an informed-decision maker with malleable opinions, along with holding some traditional values near – Christianity, romanticism of children, and the need to conform to social norms.
As Tait (2013) would suggest, schools establish gender regimes that are conveyed to students through gender-specific roles, gender-specific subject choices, facilities segregation, and gender-specific dress codes. As previously mentioned, my school employed both ‘Conservative’ and ‘Liberal’ orientations, and hence the development of femininity and masculinity was a combination of both discourses. The appearances and construction of gender in my school were mainly confined to elements of facilities and clothing (Gorely, Holroyd & Kirk, 2003).
The conventional articulation of such aspects (Gorley, et. al. , 2003) strictly imposed and controlled. Female students were to wear dresses that were mid-shin, buttons to the neck, sleeves to the elbow; and boys were to wear collared shirts – buttons to the neck, and shorts or long pants longer than the knee, with a belt. This ensured our outward appearances were stringently defined and conformed to the ‘Conservative’ views of the school. Along with these clothing requirements, the expectations of behaviour were similar but more loosely controlled.
The Research paper on Perception on the Nursing Profession and Career Choice of High School Students
According to Wieck (2006), the nursing workforce seems to be at an exciting crossroad of change, both in recruiting and in curriculum. The environment of healthcare has changed and so has nursing, resulting in students asking, “What is nursing?” This question creates a challenge for nurse educators. In order to attract and retain bright, capable students in nursing, there must be changes in the ...
Female students were still expected to conform to the idea of a Christian woman – behave accordingly and modestly, but we were granted the right to freedom of speech, and the privilege of voicing our opinions and having them taken into consideration. Males were definitely allowed a ‘longer-leash’ on these regulations – it was more accepted and typically reinforced (Connell, 2002) that boys would behave and speak more boisterously. The idea that gender is constructed within the institutional and cultural contexts (Connell, 2002) was echoed throughout the gender-specific employment roles of the school.
The prevalence of female teachers (Connell, 2002) including the staff of the office, majority of the teachers, canteen/volunteer parents, librarians, and even cleaners; male staff, however were more relied upon for roles such as principal, groundskeepers, and the specialist teachers (i. e. maths, and physical education).
This ensured that as students we were exposed to both male and female staff, but it was reinforcing the nurturing, ‘traditional’ role of women as teachers, and showing the powerful and more specific roles men can hold in a workplace and society in general.
As younger students the idea of ‘sexuality/sex’ was considered taboo, and strictly off-limits. Topics of sex, any mention, or any inquiry into the idea of sex were gasped at and dismissed by teachers – we were too innocent and vulnerable to know of such things. It was seen as inappropriate to discuss these issues in the school community (Jones, 2011).
It was only in late Stage 3 that the topic of sexuality was approached – through intensive after-school information sessions with parents, and through very limited PDHPE education.
These were very conventional and ‘Conservatively’ orientated, relying on parents to shed light on a topic that was hidden from us for so long – the school was just instigating the discussion of Marital intercourse, Christian beliefs about sexuality, and students body developments; although the ‘push forward’ by the school was very ‘Liberal’. The entire majority of students at the school were from homes with a male and female parent, and so the discussions of ‘sexuality’ always held a great deal of bias – educating about heterosexual love only.
Worldwide, most students attend either single-sex schools or co-ed schools. Is there a difference? Close analysis of both systems of schooling shows that in terms of social, academic and emotional growth, co-ed schools are better. Firstly, it is important to explore the advantages and disadvantages of both systems. Co-ed school provides a superb environment and opportunity for both sexes to mix, ...
This, combined with the idea we were still pure, vulnerable and innocent, meant that the education and discussion of these topics were very sheltered, shallow and brief. The fore-mentioned factors led me to believe that the reference to sex or sexuality was strictly a no-go, and if my friends and I were to discuss it we would be rebelling and seen as delinquent behaviour – hence, we never did. Although guarded from in-depth information and varying opinions of sexuality, my progression through secondary schooling and into adult life was an enlightenment that was definitely needed.
It provided me with a wider opinion and greater understanding of sexuality. It was a time of ‘selfactualisation’ in that I began to understand the impact that sexuality had/has on me – creating a more ‘Liberal’ view (Jones, 2011).
This ‘Liberal’ approach that I have developed has allowed me to more openly accept the sexual world around me, and the views that others may hold. My school-based approach (Jones, 2011) of a predominantly ‘Conservative’ discourse has in-turn shaped my identity, values and beliefs about the world and life.
It has influenced my interpretation of sexuality – previously very Christian-centred; influenced my expectation of male and females in society; and my attitude and treatment of children, and a flexible expectation of children. This ‘Conservative’ orientation has obviously led me to believe a specific construction of child (Jones, 2011) and the world. This, combined with the very minor essence of ‘Liberal’ discourses throughout my education is consistent with the society that I grew up in – middle-classed, white, heterosexual, farming town, and has let me diversify my views of the world outside the pin-hole that is ‘Conservative’ orientation.