Alright, so it’s that time of the semester again! My friend Justine is about to assign some asexuality-related work to the students in her human sexuality classes and asked me to put together some work. The work will take the place of one class period (that is cancelled) and homework for that period, as well as give them some talking points the next class. Justine is actually one of the few sexologists I know who is ace-positive and well educated on the subject so I am more than confident about her ability to discuss it with her class (as well as anyone can possibly discuss any sexuality-related subject with a group of undergrads… no offense, but there’s always a few… you know what I mean).
Last semester the work load was supposed to cover two consecutive classes which were canceled so I created Ace Curriculum 1.0 from which I got some valuable feedback about what worked and what didn’t work. Taking that feedback into consideration and adjusting for there only being one cancelled class this time I created Ace Curriculum 2.0.
The Pre-Assignment Questions are designed to see where students are starting from and make the students put into writing what they think they already know (if a person already “knows” something that’s incorrect you have to unteach that before you can teach them new information – this is why it’s so problematic that we over-simplify concepts when we teach elementary students about historical events because then even if you teach them the real story in high school they are more likely to remember the over-simplified version they learned in elementary school. You can’t just overwrite information in the brain and it’s a hell of a hard time getting rid of bad data once it’s in there!). Unless a person realizes that what they are reading directly contradicts their preconceived notions and has to think critically about it the information goes in, realizes the place it should be filling in their brain is already taken by bad data and goes right out he other ear (no, seriously, if you passively intake data without consciously realizing you have contradictory ideas in your head you will most likely forget what you just read – it’s part of the confirmation bias effect). In an ideal world I would assign the pre-assignment questions and then get them back before the students proceeded to the rest of the curriculum so I could make adjustments accordingly but I don’t have that option here. On the plus side I do get to see some of the pre- and post- assignment assessments which helps me make adjustments for next time.
Next is the Notes about Language sheet, with this I’m hoping to preemptively avoid some confusion (though they may actually find reading it first to be a little confusing… I’m hoping they will use it as a reference when they come across the examples in the reading assignment that made me feel the need to write it in the first place). I would be very open to suggestions about changes in phrasing etc.
Part 3 is a Crossword Puzzle which hopefully gives them a little introduction to what will be covered more thoroughly in the reading assignment and force them to at least skim some asexuality-related resources. The nice thing about assigning a crossword puzzle in place of a cancelled class is that it’s relatively self-guided. If the word doesn’t fit then they haven’t found the right answer so they can pretty well check their work as they go. Last semester I did the crossword puzzle clues in unrelated sentences but this time I decided to put them all together into paragraphs, consequently I feel some of the wording turned out a little wonky and I’d be open to suggestions for other ways of phrasing things.
The reading assignment right now is 24 pages long (mostly times new roman font, size 10-12, etc) and consists of the last 7 pages of a research paper, 6 AVEN Wiki entries, the option to read or watch Swank Ivy’s list of Top Ten misconceptions about Asexuality, an essay from an Ace-Ally in the Asexual Perspectives essay series, 2 blog posts each from different perspectives, and a 3 part article about how to be an ace-ally. My goal is to give a mix of impersonal clinical data as well as personal narratives from different perspectives from both aces and allies. I think I settled on a good mix but I’m open to concerns or suggestions.
I also included a “Suggested Resources” page since there’s no way I could assign all of my favorite essays, articles and blog posts – in fact this list will probably continue to grow throughout the week since I’m constantly realize “Oh, did I put *that one* on the list? How could I have forgotten it?!” Feel free to send messages or comments with links to other great materials.
And finally there’s a short set of reflection questions chosen to help me see changes in the way the students are thinking about their own labels as well as specifically their perspectives on asexuality.
Alright, so… if you find any problems from typos, to poor wording to something you think I should address in a different way (do I inadvertently make one opinion sound universal?do you feel I don’t represent you as part of the ace community? anything at all) please feel free to leave comments or send messages, either via the information on my contact page or via the anonymous dispute form.