A reflection on my privilege as a man.

For this part of our COETAIL experience, we were asked to reflect on Harro’s The Cycle of Socialization. The chapter introduced the role of existing systems in establishing a positive feedback loop of oppression and privilege and invites readers to chose one of their identities (gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, etc…) to reflect on, of which I chose the following.

My privilege as a man.

I never have to worry about sexual harassment in the workplace.

I never had to worry about how many partners I had, or how long my relationships lasted.

I never have to worry about sexual harassment in public spaces.

I never have to worry about attending social events (they’re either ‘bring your partner’ or ‘lads only’).

I never have to worry about joining an exercise or sports communities. They’ve always been mixed genders or lads only, though I am stoked that here in Cambodia, the football groups I found have both men and women playing together.

I never have to worry about being taken seriously by other men.

I never have to worry about displaying my credentials or experience in order to be taken seriously.

I never have to worry about matching my persona or looks for a certain role, especially as I consider leadership roles.

A reality check on agent identities

Even though I am from Brazil, most people can’t tell from my accent, or lack thereof. This means I get another agent identity: that I’m a ‘Western”, or anglophone. I remember my college literature professor outlining there is no more powerful combination in academia than being an English-speaking white male. I am also from an upper-middle-class family, always went to great schools.

As I was reflecting on this unit, I remembered a website that allows you to spin a wheel with sectors proportionate to the world’s population. Did you know there is a 32% chance that a newborn is born in either China or India? I couldn’t find this specific one, but the UNICEF USA website has a similar thought experiment online. Below are my results. It’s easy to see how many other privileges I’ve had: I was vaccinated throughout my childhood (mandatory in Brazil), I have always had access to clean drinking water and I do have a birth certificate.

Using Flipgrid as a discussion board

We used Flipgrid to reflect on Harro’s text using a text rendering protocol. I’m quite familiar with this tool, having used it both in my TOK class and during IB workshops. One of the things that I enjoy about it is the concise nature of the responses, as teachers are able to limit video responses — 90 seconds is a sweet spot for me. This was similar to how I’ve used Flipgrid in the past.

Another feature I enjoy is the ability to leave feedback (as a teacher) in video format — not something I often get to do in my course. Peer-feedback can also be left in that way, and to me, is one of the most powerful features of Flipgrid. Students can respond to peers they might not necessarily interact with in a physical environment for a variety of reasons, including some of the systems Harro described.

I would be careful with the use of Flipgrid in the sense that discussions must be broad enough to allow for multiple perspectives. At the same time, it cannot become a forum that reinforces misinformation — for example, debating whether climate change is real.

I enjoy using it in Theory of Knowledge because it is a course largely based on personal knowledge, experiences, and perspectives. The fact that students can record/rehearse responses, add stickers and personalize their contributions increases participation levels, in my experience, from students often marginalized in face-to-face discussions: English Language Learners, introverts, etc… It gives everyone the same time limit, so students who often dominate conversations get the same time as others who often don’t get a chance to speak up.

My FlipGrid and our community responses

Want to have a go at Flipgrid? Take a look at Harro’s article and leave your video contribution by scanning the QR code. Check out our Community Flipgrid for responses from our COETAIL cohort.

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