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Just because I am English does not mean that I only drink tea and beer...

Stereotypes with Treacher

Af: Vivyan Yan Mygil, 2.i
30. maj 2018

Danny Treacher, teacher at Langkaer gymnasium, is currently teaching Global Politics and English Language and Literature in the IB course. He’s known to be the strict teacher with the fearsome Cup of Truth, a slightly twisted sense of humour, and he has now agreed to not only smile in front of the camera, write down a stereotype on a piece of paper that insists on flailing about in the wind, but he has also agreed to answer some questions related to stereotypes which this issue of Langkaer Life is concerning.

Do you think stereotypes are beneficial or harmful for society?
It depends. If you take the idea politically, then it’s very dangerous and if you take the most extreme example; Apartheid in South Africa – categorising people by colour and then pushing certain stereotypes on that. Or an even worse example: Nazi Germany then I’d say stereotypes are very problematic. Even in the sense of when they are used for jokes as for comedic effect, then they can also be dangerous, and we’ve seen that in stereotypes of certain women: misogyny. The risk for stereotypes is always where’s the line between fun – I think – and where do aspects of racism or misogyny enter the frame. Or even if someone’s being nasty. On the other hand – if I put my English teacher hat on – then I think stereotypes are sometimes important for writers because it allows the audience to connect with characters if they’re stereotypical characters. Because of using these so-called character traits that exist in general terms the audience might be able to connect with the characters easier and it saves the writer a lot of descriptive detail in terms of that.

Do you think gender stereotypes apply to all genders?
Stereotypes of both sexes exist, and I actually think stereotypes of men have reinforced negative stereotypes that have existed for women. For example, the idea of a man having to behave a certain way leads to them often behaving in a negative manner towards women due to pressure from other men, historically speaking. Of course, that is changing - although there’s this pushback and there’re movements where there’s this idea of machoism disappearing. Unfortunately, some of them have been labelled as a fight back to counter third wave feminism but I think that’s quite dangerous.
Stereotypes exist between men and women, and when I think in general terms – this is very general terms – unfortunately, the stereotypes towards women have tended to be negative and the stereotypes towards men have tended to be positive. Obviously, it’s more nuanced than that balance is coming back and movements such as Time’s Up and #MeToo will help address some of the imbalance that exists. Education has also opened men’s minds up to new relations between men and women. According to the United Nations, the argument would be that the biggest fight is in the so-called developing countries where gender stereotypes would be more black and white and defined.

Is the United Nation’s argument a generalisation or an actual fact?
I think you have the idea of culture and then the idea of structure – and [the question is] which one comes first and what is reinforced. In the worst example – apartheid – it was enforced by law. I mean stereotypes exist because of patterns of behaviour, so repetitive patterns of behaviour mean that certain people are labelled to do certain things in certain situations all the time. Of course, you can’t use this definitive expression of it being all of the time, but I think there’s this idea of this is a repetitive nature of behaviour that then establishes stereotypes.

Are stereotypes based on logic and then generalised by society?
Certain philosophers would say no – it’s related to power. If you take gender stereotypes it’s related to the fact that, historically, it’s been more of a patriarchal society where men dominate and what happens is that the power sort of reinforces a form of logic. But this idea of logic, or common sense, or gut instinct has formed stereotypes, and I think that’s difficult. If you take Jordan Petersen, then he would argue that it’s biological, many of these ways of behaviours; the differences between men and women so as a result it’s biological and doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with these power structures. However, a feminist argument would be that it’s the power structures that have been reinforced through law and patterns of behaviour that’s created these stereotypes.

How do you think one should handle stereotypes?
I think comments like that [related to stereotypes] should be challenged. I think you should call [people] out on it – obviously not with physical violence and I think sometimes it doesn’t help to use similar evocative formulations towards someone who comes up with stupid comments like that. Maybe sometimes the most powerful thing is to ignore it.

Isn’t ignoring the comment the same as empowering it?
In some ways I think so. I suppose challenging is the best way – but in a polite manner; in a rational manner. The type of stereotypes you’re speaking about, the best way to counter them is action. Not necessarily protesting or violence in any shape or form but to go out and get an education and take on – challenge – some of those stereotypes, and if we’re talking about gender stereotypes specifically, then women aren’t capable of x, y, and z, then go out an do x, y, and z to prove people wrong because in some way I think that’s the only way you can change that. Although, I’d just like to point out that there are several documented cases where in the more equality based places the world, where given total freedom, more men would still be engineers and more women would still be nurses, and it’s very difficult to explain that, given equal opportunities in those countries.

Do you think there’s equal opportunity?
Certain sociologists in Norway, where they talk about it being about social structures so that women feel that that’s what they would like to do [take on stereotypical female jobs such as being a nurse]. The women are surrounded by comments on the way things are written, which you can see with the idea of pronoun change – no longer having a his or her - in Sweden as they think it has something to do with language and even that affects the way people behave. But then there’s research from Cambridge – and other universities in Britain– where they speak about the idea that it is actually biological, and it is actually ingrained, and I think I’m a little bit in between the two.

As a quite privileged white, British, assumingly heterosexual (due to heteronormality) male – do stereotypes affect you as an individual in society?
No, I actually try to be myself – and maybe I am privileged in that respect. Although it is quite ironic as you just used five different labels to describe me. I have been labelled but I don’t feel an obligation to act like a man, act like I’m white, act like I’m over forty, or whatever those normal behaviour patterns are. On the other hand, I mean the only stereotype I’ve really encountered is it that maybe a Dane might say “that’s typical a Brit”, or “that’s what you do when you’re from England”.

I think it’s a two-sided coin. Social media has been great to challenge stereotypes and to put the issue into a better perspective, so you don’t feel alone if you feel like you’re unfairly labelled, I also think at the same time social media has – in worst cases such as bullying – reinforced some types of stereotypes and it’s therefore a double-edged sword.

Foto: Langkaer Life

Q & A with Mark Peter Druett on Langkaer’s High IB Grade Point Average

Af: Alice Truscott
29. maj 2018

Q: Two of last year´s 3i students graduated with 44 points. How?

A: Obviously it has taken a lot of work to get there. They´re both former pre-IB students, so they´ve been here for three years. There´s been a lot of work on their behalf throughout the three years. They were students who just applied themselves, worked really hard. Obviously talented as well, naturally talented. They just put in the hard work that was necessary, basically.


Q: Do you think pre-IB helped?

A: Yes. I do. I think that going through the pre-IB here, we´ve seen it with quite a few of our students here actually, it does. So that was quite an important factor for them. It means that they get used to the subjects and the school and get used to some of the tests. So, they´re used to doing exams and tests through pre-IB, but they also develop their knowledge as well in pre-IB. So, I do think that´s helped them, yes.


Q: What would you say are the qualities of a 40+ point student?

A: I don´t want to get into the trap of just focusing on them, because we also had some excellent students who got fewer points. Some who just got 24 points, or 25 points were also excellent students in their own right. Some of the students who did get 40 points or above just have a general dedication to their homework and to their schoolwork. But we did see some of the students who got high marks were also active in other ways as well in terms of CAS. They´re out doing a lot of CAS activities and stuff as well. Just people who are capable of doing a lot of different types of activities and doing them well. But they also seem to have got to that stage – this is going to sound corny – through a process of reflection as well, through making mistakes and learning from their mistakes. But they´re also students who have been willing to work on their weaknesses constructively.


Q: Do you think CAS helps academically?

A: Yes. It is not just outside the school. It does have a bearing on how they do in school. I was just talking about reflection a minute ago. There is an important element of reflection in CAS. We have done a lot of really good CAS activities here at the school and our CAS coordinator is active. They did a life stories project last year at an OAP home. Thinking about people that are worse off than themselves and getting involved in charities helps them to put their own schoolwork, their own lives into perspective. That means they often focus on their own work as well because they know that´s going to give them some chances later in life. So, I think that CAS does help with development in that way. It also gives them a bit of a break from the grind of all the schoolwork and can give them a release as well. If they play basketball every week for an hour that can be quite a nice way of getting rid of some of the stress you´ve got from being a student, of being an IB student all the time. So, I think that CAS works in a lot of ways. It also helps students collaborate as well, to work together on certain things. That´s a really good feature of CAS. One of the things that we found last year among our students was that they worked together. They were a cohort that did things together, had their own initiatives. They´d meet up at Dokk1 at the library to work on extended essays together on Saturday mornings. I think that CAS probably helps develop that sort of togetherness as well.


Q: What are the qualities of a teacher of a high achieving class?

A: I think that we´re just generally lucky here. I obviously know the teachers here well, and I know that they´re nerds in their own right. Each of them is really good at their own subject. We´ve also got a lot of teachers who are willing to do a little bit more to help their students. I think at Langkaer there´s sort of an ethos of making the students work had to improve as well. We´re ambitious about our students. We want them to do well and want them to improve. But we´re also as a group of teachers willing to put in a bit more effort to try and make sure that the students do well. I know that we´ve got teachers who are very professional and talk together, work together, and they´re inspired by each other. We have teachers who push themselves as well. I was talking to a particular English teacher yesterday who chooses to read certain books that he perhaps hasn´t read before in order for him to keep pushing his own limits, to keep understanding more about the world and his own subject. That characterizes the type of teachers that we´ve got here who are just engaged in their own students and their own subjects as well and are just willing to do a little bit more.


Q: What else do you think contributes to the high GPA at Langkaer?

A: Lots of different things. The student councilors that we´ve got, who have conversations with the students on a daily basis about the problems that they´ve got, are willing to help them. And again, teachers that are willing to help students when things don´t go quite as well and give them advice. Also, parents, the students themselves, and the fact that the students engage in the subjects they´ve got. It´s just a broad combination of different factors. I can´t really just single out one thing. But what we´ve spoken about among the teachers is that they just as a cohort, as a group, they seem to work well together and want to do things together. They´ve have a really positive work ethic.


Q: What tips do you have for IB students, apart from studying hard, to get a high grade?

A: Use the resources that you´ve got. Use the teachers that you´ve got, use your parents, use your friends. Work together on projects when you can. Also, take the time out when you feel that you need to take the time out. Again, back to that whole mindset mentality about being able to learn from your mistakes. Don´t let your mistakes get you down too much. Just be aware that in all walks of life you´re going to make mistakes. You know, I make mistakes really regularly. And the most important thing is to try and learn from that. You know, I think that would be my main tip, just to keep learning from your mistakes. When you get knocked down just pick yourself up, and if you do that and think about how you improve, then you´ll do really, really well at the end of the day.

 

 

 

Redaktionen på Langaer life

Redaktionen

Langkaer Life er elevernes eget magasin, og redaktionen udgøres af elever fra alle tre uddannelser.

Medlemmer af redaktionen
Alice Truscott Bjerregaard

Ansvarshavende chefredaktør.

Lasse Tolstrup Petersen

Ansvarshavende chefredaktør.

Michelle Als Christiansen

Ansvarshavende chefredaktør.

Thomas Kaae

Ansvarshavende for sociale medier, heriblandt hjemmeside.

Email: lg15vtk@langkaer.dk

Astrid Ry Vestergaard

Ansvarshavende for sociale medier, heriblandt hjemmeside.

Email: astr1982@langkaer.dk

Morten Kaae

Ansvarshavende for layout af skolebladet.

Email: lg15vmk1@langkaer.dk

Vivyan Yan Mygil
Maria Rosdahl

Ansvarshavende for instagram.

Email: lg15vmrc@langkaer.dk

 

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