How should we approach the curriculum?
Our 16th interview for the 100 Women Series, is with Natasha Devon MBE at Pan MacMillan’s offices in Kings Cross, London. Natasha works with 14-18 year olds in secondary schools across the United Kingdom. She conducts focus groups around “what is missing from students’ PSHE curriculum”.
In this episode, you can hear Natasha and Teacher Toolkit founder, Ross McGill:
- detail Natasha’s education and the scenic route she took to teaching
- touch on how writing about mental health can be detrimental to one’s own mental health
- marvel at how many plates Natasha manages to keep spinning in her work and creative life
- discuss a huge change of approach Natasha wants to see in the curriculum
- how she goes about creating lesson plans on topics to support students and their schools.
- reveal the personal achievements Natasha is most proud of
- explain the advice Natasha has for young girls and what she wants for women in the future
Remember, our podcast is available on iTunes!
Positive Body Image
As a follow-up conversation, we asked Natasha the following: “What strategies would you recommend to teachers who want to promote positive body image?”
- Role model positive body image. Children mimic what they hear from adults and over time, they repeat it so much they start to believe it’s true. They also take on repeated cultural norms like ‘the perfect body is a size 10’ subconsciously. So, be wary of what you say around young people and try to behave like a person who loves their body, knowing they will copy.
- The Girlguiding National Attitudes Survey revealed girls as young as six think the world values them more for their looks than for their achievements or character. This can be counterbalanced to an extent by looking at what we praise them for. I challenge schools and families to a ‘compliment swap’ – instead of telling girls they look pretty, or are cute, we should praise them when they are brave, clever, insightful, funny or kind. If we can extend this to adults it can also play into tip one above, as girls don’t hear adults telling each other they’ve lost weight or ‘look well’ continuously.