With International Women’s Day approaching and the 400th Year of Bermuda’s Parliamentary System, the Year 8 students at Saltus have been learning about women’s rights and their fight for justice. A topic that remains prevalent.
The multifaceted project started with an interactive class lesson where the boys had to choose a new uniform for the girls. The girls were not allowed to speak or express their opinion on the topic; a task they found quite challenging and questioned. The boys took the liberty of trying to choose a suitable outfit for the girls, many looking for feedback from them and some of the male students chose not to vote. A very provocative start to the project and one they will not forget.
As the project continued, each student had to choose a suffragette to research as ultimately, they would be writing an essay about them and presenting their work. Throughout the project, the students learned and uncovered many new pieces of information that they found captivating; all this helped them learn valuable skills on how to research and how to effectively compile their thoughts. The students watched many documentaries, but one stood out; Emily Davison and her efforts to do everything she could to get the same rights as men.
"We always strive to expose our students to external sources and organisations that can help develop their education and understanding of certain topics" said Briley Habib, Teacher of Humanities at Saltus. "We were fortunate to have a visit from the Bermuda Human Rights Commission and the Government Whip, Lawrence Scott, during this project. They answered questions that the students had thoughtfully prepared regarding our human rights as well as the Bermuda Parliamentary System, which allowed the students to strengthen their knowledge regarding the history of human rights in Bermuda."
The penultimate part of the project was to hear stories and learn firsthand from women who experienced being the first woman in their family to vote. An element of this part of the project was to draw a portrait of their family member. Putting their artwork on display, the students asked the whole school to come and look at their artwork and provide constructive feedback. A valuable skill we are trying to instill at Saltus; being able to provide and accept feedback.
To conclude the project, the students wrote personal reflections on their experiences throughout the project. The final product of the project was to compile the essay, portrait and personal reflection and hung it out on the school gates like how the suffragettes would chain themselves to railings.
Quotes from the students:
“We celebrate women’s day every year on 8th March to honour the achievements of women throughout history and across the globe” - Joseph Wetmiller
“Women’s rights are important to learn because it has been such a huge part of our history and it helps you understand the struggle that women had to go through just to vote...The children of the 21st century should learn about this so that when they grow up something like this doesn’t happen again. It is amazing that the suffragettes were able to get their way to get equality and we believe that it says something about humans and how we can overcome anything if we put our minds to it” - Felix RingstedThe students also had some of the women they drew their protraits on visit their work.
Link to RG: http://www.royalgazette.com/education/article/20200306/saltus-pupils-learn-about-womens-rights