Learning platform

Learning platform


Estimated reading: 12 minutes
  • Teaching in a queer feminist inclusive way is of utmost importance.
  • Teaching in an intersectional way helps in raising awareness and understanding complex topics from different perspectives.
  • Focus on the production of feminist/queer/post-colonial, decolonial and anti-racist knowledge by teaching on/with/about gender, race, class and sexuality.
  • Create a safer space and access to resources.
  • Be a safe contact/role model for children who are questioning their identity.


Due to the heteronormative society that we live in, it is really easy for children to get confused or to start feeling as if something would be wrong with them just because they cannot seem to fit in the binary social constructions. These constructions are present in everything surrounding us, starting with our family and friend´s circles, social media, movies, games, etc. For this reason, educators can play an important role in children’s discovery process.

This role can be centred around two main topics: empowerment and safety. Empowering children to question things and to stand up for what they believe in, combined with the creation of a safer space can play an important role in their development, both on a personal as well as on a societal level.

If you wish to create a gender-inclusive space for every child, a few aspects can help you make a difference: 1) creating a safer space, 2) teaching in a queer-feminist inclusive way, 3) teaching intersectionality, 4) creating a mistake friendly environment, and 5) empowering your students.


To achieve space, that is 100% safe can seem very demanding. Still we can create a safe space, where everyone can feel like they can express themselves and share their ideas, wants, and needs without the fear of judgement.

In the process of creating a safe space:

  • Try to be aware of privileges.
  • Take the environment of the children into account.
  • Try to see what people can do with their own resources.
  • Create opportunities for them to participate in knowledge exchange. Use games/books/activities to give them tools to act.
  • Use different teaching methods to encourage everyone to contribute. Some children express themselves better through debates or verbal activities while others prefer expressing themselves through art (drawing/painting/crafting etc.) or through activities where they involve the use of their bodies (theatre, pantomime etc.).
  • Be empathetic and listen actively to what they have to say.
  • Give everyone the space and time they need. Some children take longer in feeling comfortable enough to actively participate.
  • Recognize and value the need of minorities inside of a group.
  • Creating a safe space is directly related to conflict resolution. When a conflict arises, remember that conflicts are emotionally driven. If someone is feeling strong emotions, provide them space to deal with those emotions and maybe offer your support during this process. Try to deescalate the situation by finding a shared vision and a solution to the problem. Be ready to take the role of a mediator. As an educator, when dealing with a conflict, your focus will be on both parties involved. Try to begin with supporting the person affected, by mapping their needs and doing your best to accommodate them. After that, support the person with inappropriate behaviour/the person that broke an agreement that was made because they may need some education or explanation on the topic. Check on the bystanders to see if they need any support or aftercare and remember to later check on all of the people involved, including bystanders, as their emotions and needs might change during the time. Teaching in a queer-feminist inclusive way

Teaching in a queer feminist inclusive way does not mean teaching a detached history from the present but rather analysing the racial, class and economical aspects of the power structures. It allows students to learn about power (use and abuse of it) by considering their lived experiences and thinking about their emotions, feelings and bodies as “spaces and archives of knowledge production” (Mehta, 2019).

It means teaching about consequences of the past by following the impact of colonialism and our whole history as a society. When analysing the present, the power structures, the lack of gender equality, children can form their perspective and thoughts by making the connections of how our society got to this point and why gender equality is in the state that it is. By understanding these connections, they can find ways to shape their behaviour in an inclusive way.

The climate of trust is a key factor in this teaching approach. Try to avoid reinforcing traditional gender roles, slut shaming or shaming of any non-normative practices in order to foster curiosity in children and to make them question gender and power inequalities. Intersectionality

Intersectionality is a framework that helps in reflecting the importance of analysing the relationship between different inequalities and different types of discrimination. It contributes to creating a wider, more complete image of the reality we live in by showing the connections between these inequalities. No matter the age of the children, analysing a phenomenon/situation/problem from different perspectives is teaching them to create connections between different factors, increasing their analytical understanding.

This same intersectionality seeks to show the power relations that affect every sphere of life within a society, such as the economy, health, access to education and politics. For example, if you are teaching about gender equality, you can try to include topics such as access to health, education, religion, geographical position, power relationships into the discussion. Try to show the different areas that can be considered as well as the different people and/or institutions that can be part of this or affected by this (people who are part of the LGBTQ+ community, schools, law enforcement, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) or organisations that work towards gender equality, etc.). By doing this, you would be making children aware that there are more factors that contribute to the situation and that could be considered. You would be teaching them to look at the situation from different perspectives and making the connections between inequalities and different types of discrimination (for example, a woman who migrated to a different country could be facing gender discrimination, minority discrimination and language discrimination at the same time). Mistake friendly environment

Often children and youth are afraid to make mistakes and to be judged for them in front of their peers. Creating a mistake friendly environment is a good approach that encourages questioning and learning. There are no right or wrong answers and everyone is welcomed to contribute to the discussion. In order to create an environment like this, encourage children to question, to debate and to exchange ideas with each other. In this way, they will feel supported to share more and more and will switch the focus to the knowledge itself rather than the person who is sharing it.

A few things that can help you create this kind of environment are:

  • Encourage children not to interrupt each other when somebody speaks (verbal reactions of approval/disapproval are included).
  • Encourage the use of body language if someone likes an idea. For example, shaking your palms means approving/supporting the idea.
  • When somebody makes a mistake, encourage them to apologise and to learn from it.
  • Using punishment as a solution doesn’t have a positive effect on the learning process of children. What you can do instead is to focus on the future actions rather than the moment the mistake was made. For example, if someone is misgendering another student or sharing an information that is incorrect, you could focus on making them aware of the mistake and allowing them to correct themselves and to move on with their speech.
  • Remind your students that we’re all humans and we’re bound to make mistakes, that’s how we learn. It is important that we learn from those mistakes instead of getting stuck in them. Empowerment

What is empowerment? The concept of empowerment has its roots in the Civil Rights Movement in the US, the Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire and a variety of movements focused on achieving equality (SCI Italy, 2022).

Empowerment through teaching means making children feel like they can be whoever they want to be without any guilt, shame or doubts and can fully realize themselves in a group and leave that group with more confidence for the outside world.

If you want to achieve empowerment, supporting skills for self-help, self-advocacy (being able to express effectively one’s needs, rights and opinions) and self-education (supporting active approach to finding information). Empowerment focuses on collaboration, having a perspective of strength, solidarity and partnership.

Some methods you can use to foster empowerment are:

  • Theatre of the oppressed.
  • Encouraging volunteering.
  • Storytelling/Living library.
  • Reflection activities (individual or in groups).
  • Involve children into the decision-making process and the structures that affect them (for example, you can create a Group Agreement).
  • Create an Open Space where they can share their own skills/knowledge on different subjects by assuming a teaching role for a short time.
  • Include different types of expression in your lessons: art, music, creative outcomes.

A few things that you could avoid if you want to foster empowerment:

  • Taking control of the situation from/out of other people.
  • Make decisions based on assumptions instead of asking about your students’ needs and wants.
  • Forget to look after yourself.
  • Force your opinions or actions onto the group.
  • Put individuals in unwanted spotlight by asking them to speak/contribute, when they seem to not want.
  • Think that a certain method works for everyone.
  • Ignore other on-going issues.


Let’s say you are having a debate about feminism in your class and one person says that feminism is wrong because it means that women will get advantages over men and the balance will just shift instead of creating equality. Another student wants to respond and starts talking before the first student finishes their sentence. The second student starts laughing and saying that this is not the purpose of feminism. A situation like this could escalate quickly into a conflict and into shaming some of the students for not knowing certain things.

What you as an educator could do at this moment is to deescalate the situation. You can start by reminding students to allow each other to finish their sentences before expressing another point. Secondly, you can remind them that this is a mistake-friendly environment and shaming doesn’t help in the process of learning. After that, you could ask if anyone in the class would like to explain the definition of feminism in order to create knowledge exchange without putting one student in the spotlight. In this way, students could be encouraged to feel safer in the mistake-making process and learn from it instead of being ashamed and avoiding further participation.

5.1.4. BEST PRACTICES Anonymous question box

Create a space where children can ask anonymously any question related to sex/gender/identity/relationship structures etc. and invite outside experts that can answer those questions (youth workers, educators, etc.). By doing this, you are creating a safe space where children can question anything about their gender and their identity without exposing themselves or feeling obligated to share personal information. Bringing outside experts contributes to showing children different perspectives and different lifestyles, encouraging thus curiosity and exploration. It also takes away from the shyness and/or avoidance of asking a question knowing that your day-to-day teacher will see and answer it. Use gender inclusive/neutral language

Gender inclusive or neutral language is the language that avoids the bias towards a particular sex or social gender. Therefore, it does not discriminate against anyone.

Using gender inclusive or neutral language has a powerful impact in the process of achieving gender equality. It can be used when addressing a group of people, for example “people/folks/children” instead of “guys/boys & girls/young men/young women” and it plays a valuable role when talking about job titles and social roles. In most languages, job titles and social roles are gendered, for example “stewardess” or “policeman”. Gender inclusive language uses neutral nouns that are not gender-specific in order to avoid the perpetuation of gender roles and the idea that some professions are only for a specific gender. So, instead of “stewardess” try saying “flight attendant” and instead of “policeman” try “police officer”. By using neutral language, you are encouraging a gender equal approach and teaching children to question gender roles and the assignments and expectations that come with them.

You can read more about neutral language on the topic of Sexism. Group agreement

Introduce the idea of having a group agreement. Considering the fact that people come from different backgrounds and have different needs, a group agreement is a way that would help everyone feel safer, more included, and more comfortable to express themselves by establishing some common boundaries.

Ask children what they need in order to feel safer and comfortable during the time you spend together. You can offer some main topics that they can consider such as Tasks, Language (for example, neutral/inclusive), Awareness, Personal Needs, etc.


Mehta, A. (2019). Teaching Gender, Race, Sexuality: Reflections on Feminist Pedagogy. Kohljournal.press..Retrieved from https://kohljournal.press/reflections-feminist-pedagogy.

SCI Italy (2022). The Gender Effect. Retrieved from 2022_toolkit_booklet_thegendereffect-italy.pdf (sci.ngo).

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