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October 2015 Issue #2

NO ROOM FOR SILENCE Sex, Bullying and the Uncertainty in between


ANOREXIA A Powerful look at

Body Image and Boyhood



GSAs in Publically-Funded Institutions

Sex Education

Seventeen Years 1998-2015: The Protest Continues





Staff Writers

Ana-Maria Jerca Randy Ochoa Nadine Wyczolkowski Mizgin Yumusak

Nick Catania News Director

Contributors Dr. Jen Gilbert L. Iskander Molly McFarlane Alyssa Strassler

In 2001 only 8% of the 25-34 age group of Aboriginal peoples had a completed university degree, while 28% of all Canadians did. In 1996, 68% of Aboriginal youth were in school compared to 83% of non-Aboriginal youth. Only 24% of Aboriginal peoples under 25 were able to converse in an Aboriginal language.

EDITORIAL electronics, brushed ourselves off and got off the bus. I’m used to being loud and I believe everyone has the right to express their opinions in a peaceful and productive manner, of course. So, we decided to walk home and avoid the disturbance.

Nick Catania News Director

It wasn’t until we walked closer to Dundas that my blood began to boil.

We took guesses at what people would be protesting until the signs became readily clear: they were against the newly revised, 2015 Health and Physical Education I was called down to review the curriculum. Shaw Festival’s production of Sweet Charity. We bicycled Being calm and overtly through the various vineyards collected (we make a good of the Niagara region, spent balance), he urged that we time with both sides of his take the side streets back to family and topped it off with the avoid chaos at all costs. season’s front-running show. It Normally, I would agree - but this was personal. These was an amazing weekend. people were not only As a Torontonian, my life runs on protesting the curriculum, they were protesting our lives, our time and only time. freedoms and our rights. If If I’m not doing something I get they have the right to protest a anxious. But I get even more curriculum that challenges anxious when something ignorance and educates the creates a dent in my schedule, twenty-first century, don’t thus holding me up. I think we expect me to sit idly by all understand. I’m patient. homosexuality was only decriminalized in Coming back from the recently 1969, let’s not forget. weekend away, our bus was held up by some commotion Grasping his hand, I bolted unknown to us on University closer to Yonge Street. Avenue. We guessed there Families watched us in silence was an accident and would as we became the new have to be patient, but there attraction on the sidewalk. I were voices and chants enjoy being a spectacle so coming from up the street. It this quite naturally fuelled my was a protest and I didn’t want ego. No one said anything so to wait. We packed up our I could only guess what they

Rewind to the first weekend in June.

were thinking. The protest took a diversion at Bay Street, heading directly for Queens Park. I didn’t want to go out of our way but I certainly wanted to make a point. My point was made when it came the time to cross the street and break through the never-ending march. Walking through the masses, people stopped with looks of confusion sprawled on their face. There was a mutual understanding in this act of defiance: confusion. My work was done. After years of undergoing and witnessing peer torment, this curriculum has the power to provide the basis for correct understanding on the sweeping changes occurring throughout our province. Kids are anything but stupid and now they have the tools to an immense amount of knowledge, both dangerous, inaccurate and uncertain.

The internet can be an impactful tool for learning but it can also be destructive. It was not until grade nine that I received my first cellphone and now students are carrying them as early as grade one. Emergency purposes, I can understand - but their uses extend and distract. The education system is beginning to catch up with the times, but due to the ongoing criticism based on moral and religious obligations, we aren’t quite there yet.

elliscatania Share your thoughts with us:

Letters to the editor

AN ODE TO PERSONAL HYGIENE It was a hot day; a blistering, warm, humid afternoon. I’m standing in front of the grade seven classroom on the first day of practicum, prim and proper, clean-cut and fresh. Presentation is everything after all. As I made my introduction to the class, I could feel the moisture gathering within my clothes - nothing heavy, just light perspiration on a dense afternoon. The humidity was so high you could literally cut through it with a knife. I felt a small breeze come through the small gap in the tightly opened window. It was anything but refreshing and yet I wasn`t ready to complain.

I looked to the brighter side of I split the kids into discussion the room and kept talking. groups, allowed them to chat and talk with each other while Do you know that morbid, I discreetly walked over to the perpetually faint, sweet corner and took a whiff of my armpits. As I assumed, it onion-like smell? wasn’t me. How could it be I was in the middle of me? I’m twenty two years old discussing my claim to fame: for goodness sakes! being born in the same hospital room as Justin After some careful thought, I Bieber, when I smelled what pieced the puzzle together. appeared to be the downfall The kids just returned from their lunch break of running of my day. around and screaming like The smell of body odor banshees. I didn’t know accompanied the musky what’s worse at that point: the breeze as it filtered through lingering smell of fate or the the room of thirty-one fact that we were going to preteens. At that point, I felt have a talk about personal like the room was closing in hygiene… on the first day. on me and I was cringing.

What are you listening to? Currently, I am listening to Betty Who. Her music is fantastic! Every song has a different beat and mood to it. Her songs can be quite moving.

Are you a morning or night person? I am more of a morning person than a night person. Once I am up in the morning, I head straight to work and tackle all the tasks for the day.

If you were an ice cream flavour, which one would you be and why? Name: Clinton Jang-Naruse Major: BA in Mathematics Minor: French Studies & BEd French Immersion Specialization Hometown: Toronto, Ontario

I would be French vanilla. The French portion reflects my interest with learning and teaching French. The vanilla portion because I adore simplicity. When teaching students, sometimes simplicity is the key to student success.

Why did you choose to become a teacher? Ever since I was young, I always had a yearning to help people. It was not until I was in eighth grade that I truly got a sweet tooth for teaching. I was volunteering in a grade 4-6 math and English class in a private school, helping students with their homework. From then on, nothing made me happier than teaching students!

Masculinity Means A photo essay by Amos Mac When you hear the term masculinity, what comes to mind?

Does it ignite a memory, or remind you of a smell or a piece of clothing? Is it just a feeling or an energy — something in the air, something you inherently are or are not? Mac spoke to a mix of twelve trans guys and non-binary trans masculine people about masculinity — how they create it, how they’ve wrestled with it or embraced it at different points in their lives, how it can be toxic or problematic, given certain connotations.

“Whether you are trans or not, you’ve probably been affected by society’s definition of masculinity  — so let’s redefine it .”


I moved to a small town an hour and a half north of Toronto halfway through grade one. Although fortunate to live in a beautiful new home on the lake, the closest public school to my home was one neighbourhood over. Of course my parents couldn’t have known that this school was recognized as being one of the more tough schools in town - we were completely new to the area. Over the subsequent two and a half years that my brother and I remained at that school, I underwent significant issues with bullying - name calling, threats - you name it. An

incident that I can still vis ualize with precis e vividnes s , even s ome fourteen years later, is when one of my classmates shoved a clump of burs almost the size of a volleyball into my long hair. This was the last straw for my parents after spending hours rotating between sinks and bathtubs filled with oil and water trying to get the burs out. Needless to say they tried to get us into many different schools in town, but because our home was not in any of these school zones they were out of luck. Eventually it was decided that my brother and I would attend a local, private Christian school where I completed grades four through eight and he grades two through eight. I had been raised with typical Christian holiday traditions. We had some religious and

some not-so-religious immediate and extended family members, so it was not exactly a foreign concept for us to end up where we did. I will start by saying that I did have a very enriching experience at this school over the course of the five years. I know those experiences played an instrumental part in shaping the morals and values I hold today, but there were always a number of things considered off-limits for any kind of in-depth classroom discussion: sexual education and substance use awareness. Of course we covered basic body concepts, but let me tell you:

I was not prepared for the craziness that was high school when I arrived.

 Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t live under a total rock, but I did feel underprepared in my knowledge of the teen culture that existed in high school such as relationships, sex, drinking, partying - many of us can relate. I thought these were things I should have learned more about in elementary school. I was very fortunate because my parents did not shelter my brother or I growing up. We were involved and part of our communities through athletics and volunteer activities. They were also very approachable and willing to answer any questions my brother or I did have. Collectively, these circumstances made the transition to high school much smoother for us than for many of the students we went to elementary school with. It is here where my concern lies. There are parents who are hesitant to facilitate these important conversations with their children because they are awkward; parents who do not believe these conversations are necessary to have with their children at all; parents who believe it is a teacher’s role to teach their children about these topics; leaving an abundance of parents somewhere on the fence of fluidity.

Kids need to know. They need to know about their bodies and the changes they will undergo as they get older. They need to know about self-esteem and how to maintain their mental health. They need to know what healthy and unhealthy

relationships look, sound, and feel like, and they need to feel comfortable to ask questions.

We live in a world where relationships, sex, drugs, partying, and the like are a huge part of teen culture. It is unfair to limit elementary students with an outdated health and physical education curriculum especially when it has been updated by educational professionals to address the culture of our modern day social experience. Needless to say, of course I feel that parents have the right to be involved in what their children are learning at school in terms of all things related to health and physical education, the same way they do for any other subjects. However, I have also come to realize that many examples and specific topics for discussion are left to the teacher with this new curriculum, and I want to believe that the people who are entrusted to enrich students’ learning experiences are seasoned and practiced enough to

recognize their students’ needs and exercise discretion. It is the responsibility of h i g h e r administration to ensure that all teachers have the tools and resources available to them to feel comfortable and confident when teaching their students about these important topics in ways which are age -appropriate. It comes down to being attentive to the needs of students and creating a comfortable c l a s s r o o m environment where questions and discussions about these important topics can be facilitated in a safe and healthy way without compromising the c h i l d h o o d experience.


OH, MR. SANDMAN? Randy Ochoa Staff Writer

All of us at some point have been told that exercise is good for you. In Phys Ed class, we are told to run around the gym until the fat kid of the class falls on his face. From the tender age of four, we are encouraged to run around and play with our friends. In later grades, we are taught how to play the mainstream sports like soccer, basketball, volleyball, etc. When some students think of gym class, a gymnasium immediately pops into their minds. But what about diet? What about sleep?

The curriculum is 90% is devoted to running around. But Phys Ed, as the name suggests, should put far greater emphasis on educating young people about their overall health. We live in an electronic age inhabited mostly by young people. Students have the right to be aware of the negative health effects that these devices have on their overall wellbeing. In a study by our own Dr. Stuart Shanker, a philosopher and psychologist at York University, Shanker researched self regulation within young people. Long story short, he concludes that this generation suffers from sleep deprivation and that it may have an enormous impact on our self control. Playing videogames and prolonged exposure to bright lights from any electronic source can interfere with sleeping patterns. Without

getting into the science behind it all, lack of sleep can affect our ability to self regulate our lifestyles. This is where diets tend to suffer because students will be more inclined to grab a bag of chips instead of an apple.

Quite simply: there are not as many young people outside as there use to be. We must educate people more about diet and sleep because exercise and sports are already emphasised enough in Phys Ed class. To boot, most people are ignorant about what qualifies as a healthy diet. Many students are sleep deprived and do not understand how to balance their activities and the Phys Ed curriculum should

educate students about the importance of getting the right amount sleep. Unfortunately, many students find difficulty in the school/ work balance during the year. Finding the time to exercise everyday for an hour becomes a challenging task. This is not to say that that exercise has become irrelevant, but necessary for a healthy lifestyle. But if students are educated enough about the benefits of a healthy diet and getting a good night's rest, than we can be sure to see a more vibrant and motivated student body.

Click here to listen to the study.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STUDY Dr. Stuart Shanker teaches selfregulation to kids with temper tantrums, meltdowns, and lack of focus. Creating calm environments will help children emotionally connect with themselves and others. Electronics such as televisions, computers, and phones are not conducive to a calm environment. Physical health, specifically rest, are fundamental for maintaining the control systems in the brain. Too many young people are caught in the arousal cycle (Flight or fight stage) which causes anxiety. Anxiety is brought from lack of sleep.


When Physical Education stops being mandatory, unfortunate l y, s o doe s exercise. High school students across Ontario who omit gym are faced with the challenge of incorporating exercise into their daily schedule. When exam time rolls around, personal health usually takes a backseat to studying and completing assignments. Healthy meals are swapped for rapidly prepared and consumed junk, so where does that leave exercise? I can only speak from my experience as a secondlanguage teacher, but my goal is to get all teacher candidates thi nki ng of ways that incorporate physical activity in their classrooms regardless of their teachable. Don’t shy off quite yet, because it’s possible with a little imagination. Truth be told, nobody can sit perfectly still for an hour and fifteen minutes. It’s even harder to do so when forced to conjugate verbs. Furthermore, language learning should be an interactive experience, but who says that the interaction must be done while sitting or standing completely still? Games involving physical activity are a great way to reinforce grammatical points in a second-language

classroom. For instance, Labyrinth works wonders when teaching the imperative tense, which is used for giving orders.  Students split into two teams and each team creates a labyrinth out of the desks in the classroom.  One classmate from each team is blindfolded and sent to the other team’s labyrinth while their team members give them instructions in the target language on how to escape. If the teacher assures the safety of all students involved, this game is great practice for the practical skill of giving and listening to directions in a foreign country. Another activity teaching the imperative: a scavenger hunt.  Students get into pairs and hide an object somewhere on school property for their partner to find using the directions they’ve given.  Other grammatical points can be incorporated in this game depending on the level of the students. Partners can solve riddles or complete tasks like conjugating an irregular verb while doing jumping jacks to get the next clue.  If the whole activity can be done in the target language, students will be gaining valuable second-language exposure without spending a minute sitting in their seats! The Flyswatter Game. In a language classroom, this game can be used to reinforce vocabulary and add an interesting flavour to an otherwise boring task of simply memorizing words.

The words in the target language are scattered about on the chalkboard and students are split into two teams.  Each te am se nds a re pre se ntati ve wi th a flyswatter to the back of the class and a path is cleared to the chalkboard.  The teacher then says a word in English and students race from the back of the room to the chalkboard.  The first one to slap the correct word wins a point for their team.  A math teacher could use this game to get students to identify formulas for the areas of 2-D and 3-D shapes. A science teacher could use it to reinforce the elements on the periodic table or ionic compounds. A law teacher can practice terminology like “natural law” and “positivism.” The possibilities of this useful activity are almost endless. Another advantage physical activity in the classroom has is that it engages our students and makes the subject matter more interesting; something we all strive to do. Come exam time, it has the power to relieve stress and improve their mental health and thinking abilities. We all know how difficult it is to learn when we’re bored, groggy from sitting in chairs all day and taking just notes. It’s amazing what wonders just a little physical activity can work in our classroom. Try it for yourself!


THE BOY FROM ANOREXIA A POWERFUL STATEMENT ON BODY IMAGE AND BOYHOOD It’s a difficult subject. I'm sure we've all thought about how our bodies look, what others think, and the extent to our attractiveness. From the shape of our nose to the tips of our toes, no one has been left untouched from the worldwide conscience of body image. Not only am I a v i ct i m w i t h c o u nt le s s and continuing struggles, I have surpassed but I am prone to fall back down. Girls play with Barbie's, boys stick to basketball, soccer, baseball, and all. Barbie has sleek legs, long flowing hair, perfect skin, accompanied by the perfect husband, Ken. Girls read magazines with

makeup advertisements and models. They talk to each other, gossip about each other and share with one another. Many girls have the ideal vision of what they want to become - maybe their friends, movie stars or moms. Most boys grow tall, their voice deepens and yet some stall. But despite how most boys grow, some boys stay small. All boys, like girls, come in all different shapes, colours and sizes. They live in different households, eat different meals and play with different toys. But what happens to boys who play with Ken, GI-Joe or some other superhero? What about the boy who plays with Barbie? For girls, the question almost seems obvious, but the reality is that boys are conditioned by their archetypal heroes as well. Boys should want their

muscles to grow big and strong, often like their father`s - but daddy is not a plastic superhero, he is only human.

Sports are competitive, talent is competitive and living is competitive. Just like sports and life, body image becomes a competition. We want to look a certain way, have clothes fit a certain way and be loved a certain way. We want the mirror to scream, the fat to burn and the arms to hold. Jawlines, noses, cheekbones and all. That’s all we want. Boys will be boys, as ignorance one said. But what happens when ignorance is the one to leave them dead?

What are you listening to?

A lot of lectures: Developmental Psychology focus, with some English and Spanish courses for spice. Music? Well, had I gone to university during the ages that most people go, I would have been listening to The Damned, X-Ray Specs, The Stranglers and Sex Pistols, Blondie, Velvet Underground (and on, and on....).

Someone made a movie of your life, what genre would it be? Adventure. Name: Rose Kady Alumni: York University School: Queen Alexandra Grade: Seven

Your day as a traffic sign, what would it be?

Yield. I've learned that flexibility is the key to my success.

Andy Warhol stated that everyone gets 15 minutes of fame. What happened during your 15 minutes?

I suppose living and working with Colin Swift in London, 1979-81 were the most 'glamorous' moments of my youth, but I've been on T.V. a few times, and have been interviewed on the radio. Fame? What is fame, anyway? Wait, maybe this feature is my 15 minutes?



The updated sex-ed curriculum is a much-needed step in the right direction. Before this update, Ontario’s sex education curriculum had not been updated since 1998, making it the oldest in the country. When I read the new curriculum, I was so happy to see that consent was being taught in such a comprehensive way. I was excited to read that students would be learning about sexual orientation and gender identity in Grade 8. However, when you search for the updated curriculum on Google, most of what pops up are articles and websites stating their opposition to the progress being made in public education. The groups and “news sites” that are so vocally opposing the curriculum are the same groups that I encountered six years ago when my peers and I lobbied to get Gay-Straight Alliances in our Catholic schools. My Catholic school, and many others, had refused to allow any group specifically for queer and trans students to form in their schools – and they had also provided referrals to, and the literature of, Catholic programs t ha t w ere des i gned t o discourage those “experiencing same-sex attraction” from adopting an LGBTQ identity. M y p e ers a nd I b u i lt connections with secondary school students from across

Ontario, and we lobbied for two years until the right of students, in any publicly-funded school to form student groups for any marginalized community was legislated in the Accepting Schools Act. Every step of the way, these extremely conservative ‘news sites’ and parent groups were there to oppose us. One of the first articles published about my school was from a conservative, Catholic, pro-life site, that named me specifically. I was only sixteen and they implied that I was conspiring with several other “homosexual organizations” to undermine the Catholic nature of my school. It was not the first such article and I remember often reading comments on these articles, personally attacking my friends and I. I’ve also encountered these groups in person at protests.

These parent groups are a very small and very vocal minority. They see the new sex ed curriculum from their own perspectives and experience, and while they are entitled to those perspectives, we should not in any way assume that they represent the majority of opinion in Ontario. We should not be withholding health-related information from children due to the opinions of a small, vocal group of conservative folk who claim to represent the majority of parents in this province. It might be problematic if transgender identities are only discussed within the context of sex education.

Gender identity is not a sexual concept.

It’s also a problem that asexuality is not mentioned at all. It’s important for youth to understand that lack of sexual attraction in not uncommon and they are perfectly normal. While it’s great that transgender, twospirit, and intersex identities are discussed in the curriculum, if we’re still splitting classes into “boys and girls” and using cisnormative language around body parts, trans students are still being excluded. As an overall, I’m quite optimistic about the increasing inclusiveness of the updated curriculum and board policies towards queer and trans folk. I’m glad that the revision finally happened and I know that I’ll be excited to teach it.

GSA at YORK The GSA is a group devoted to supporting LGBTQ teacher candidates, fostering conversation about LGBTQ issues in schools and in the university, and planning events to promote those aims. It is made up of LGBTQ and ally students in the Faculty of Education. We are in the process of planning a presentation by LGBTQ teachers and administrators for teacher candidates and we look forward to more events in the future. If you are interested in participating, please join our Facebook group.

Edible News is the official student publication of the Faculty of Education Students’ Association at York University, Toronto, Canada. We are dedicated to providing the education students of York University with a premium news outlet that will help engage discussion and enhance educational approach. We aim to empower our members within both the learning environment, the York community, and the world as a whole.

Health and Physical Education  

Numerous parents have pulled their children out of the public education system in protest over the recently updated sex education curriculum...