Courtney Langton

Courtney is an aspiring high school teacher. Her teachables are History and English, but she's happy to teach anything that doesn't involve numbers or formulas. Her particular interest is in promoting gender equity and anti-oppression both in and outside the classroom. She writes a detailed To-Do list every morning, and enjoys nothing more than a good book and a plate of bacon on a rainy Saturday.

Jonathan Wong

Jonathan's primary interest is moral education. His teachable subjects are English and Music. He encourages critical thinking and hopes to teach his students to recognize, and strive for, what is truly important to them without forgetting to be compassionate, tolerant, and open-minded along the way. He likes making analogies and his favourite is one that compares life to jumping on a trampoline.

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Lesson Plan Assignments
Monday, September 14, 2009

This week, we're gearing up to start completing and handing in lesson plans in some of our curriculum classes. For half the Teacher Candidates, this task is simple. Those of us in ConEd have written many lesson plans before. All we really need to do is continue tweaking our strategies a bit and practicing writing lesson plans for different subjects. Consecutive students, on the other hand, may never have even seen a lesson plan before they walked into class last week, let alone have written a plan or executed any kind of lesson.

I've been writing lesson plans in some form or another since I was 15 years old. When an Air Cadet decides to take the Leadership route instead of becoming a pilot, he or she begins a series of classes, evaluations, even entire summer courses on how to effectively lead and instruct young teens. My first lesson plans were written on loose-leaf paper with a myriad of colourful markers, and the lessons themselves sometimes taught in large tents or even the middle of the woods. My methodology has become more sophisticated, but I still retain the foundations of lesson planning that I learned from Cadets.

Now that I've convinced you to trust my experience, I'm going to provide an example of how a lesson plan might look. The following is my original work, and I do require that you obtain my permission before reproducing in anywhere in any form-- but it can be helpful as a jumping-off point for your own lesson planning.

Remember that your lesson plan will be your only guideline when you're actually teaching your class. We already know how catastrophic reading off your papers will be in the classroom, but if you write down everything you need to know in a coherent manner, you'll be able to recall that structure in your head and use it to your advantage when you're in front of the class. So include anything, anything that will help you when you're up there teaching. When I print out my lessons, I'll go back to my beloved markers and write some reminders and encouraging words in the margins. When I find myself unsure or stumbling during the lesson, those scribbles and doodles catch my eye and help me get back on track.

So, without further ado, here's one of my sample lessons:

(Note: This lesson was an assignment for a class on teaching for equity. It is designed for a mature, thoughtful group of grade 12 students. Unfortunately, to be cautious, this lesson would need to be reviewed and approved by the principal. I intended this sample to serve as a lesson plan template-- the issues within the actual body of the lesson are legitimate but will need to be explored in a different context. In other words, focus on the structure of the lesson, not the sex ed. Thanks!)

Lesson Plan: Achieving Gender Equity in Sexual Education


PPL 4O - Grade 12 Healthy Active Living Education

Purpose: To address the assumptions, stereotypes and double standards often present in sexual education for students.

Goal: To promote students’ awareness of the issue and help them develop strategies to avoid making sexist or heterosexist judgments in relation to sex and sexuality.

Focus: Questioning the images being promoted by popular culture; critical analysis of prescribed gender roles; self-reflection and self-awareness in relation to sexual identity and sexual activity.

Specifics: 75 minute class. Include review of last week’s lesson. Assign project. Leave 5 extra minutes in case discussion gets carried away.



Part A: Review and Introduction            15 MINS



-       Name 4 methods of contraception and describe their function

-       How is HIV/AIDS transmitted? (2 or 3 examples)

-       What are some factors that contribute to healthy pregnancy and birth (2 or 3 examples)

-       What is Canada’s legal age of consent to sexual activity? (

Quote of the Day (for discussion)


“Sex education may be a good idea in the schools, but I don't believe the kids should be given homework.”

-Bill Cosby


-What does this suggest about the attitudes towards sexual education?

-What sorts of arguments would you make to convince someone that sex ed does not encourage promiscuity?

*Play devil’s advocate in this situation. Remind students of adults’/parents’ concerns and that they may be having trouble recognizing that their children are becoming adults. Emphasize the fact that mature behaviour and decisions in other aspects of their lives will show adults that they are trustworthy and responsible.



Now that we’ve covered the facts of contraception, pregnancy, and STIs, we will be examining the more abstract and complex issues connected to sex and sexuality.

Main Teaching Points (write on board)


  1. Sex Ed in the 20th Century
  2. Abstinence-Only Education and Sexism
  3. Heterosexism in Popular Culture
  4. Assignment!

These are pretty big topics to tackle in only one class, but a good background in these issues is crucial. I encourage you to explore further on your own! Your project will also provide you with a more extensive study of your chosen focus.



Part B: Sex Ed in the 20th Century (The Crazy Stuff Your Grandparents Were Taught)            10 MINS


We’re very lucky to be living in the time and place we do. Canadian students are given access to scientific, correct information about sex and taught about relationships in addition to the biology of sex. However, this is a fairly new phenomenon.

As recently as the 1990s, students were taught that they must conform to specific gender roles and given little to no information about sex and forced to glean their knowledge from television, magazines, and hearsay.

*Ask whether any students have anecdotes about the misleading information their parents, grandparents, etc received as youth.

*Be sure to explain that a lack of sexual education did not mean that no one was having sex back then or that most people didn’t know how it worked, but that they believed some silly myths and there was more of a risk of preventable STIs (VD, to them) because they did not have the same access to or knowledge of contraception.


Show examples of the seemingly ridiculous myths about sex and sexuality that were perpetuated throughout the 20th Century.

ü     Time Magazine, “Kids, Sex, and Values.” May 24, 1993. Nancy Gibbs.

§       “Nowadays sexuality is the way you look, the way you wear your hair. It’s all physical, not what’s inside you.” (53)

§       “Parents have told Miedzian that they will not let their boys watch TV’s Mr Roger’s because of his gentle demeanor.” (54)

§       “Other parents have told me that they’re afraid not to have their sons play with guns because they’ll grow up gay.” (54)

ü     Pamphlet from 1973 - “Growing up: facts about sex for boys and girls” : Family Planning Federation Canada

§       “If continued long enough, the habit of masturbation may make it less easy to enjoy a full sexual relationship later on in married life. But most people stop the practice once they are married, if not before. They find it is a poor substitute for proper loving.” (10)

§       “Usually the boy is more easily stimulated to sexual excitement and his feelings are more difficult to control.” (11)

§        “[A woman’s] climax is not very easily reached and often it does not occur until she has settled into marriage for some time—sometimes not even then. But it makes little or no difference to whether she becomes pregnant or not.”

§       “But most people grow out of [homosexuality] as their relationship with the opposite sex develops. Homosexual conduct between men is against the law in this country.” (11)

Final Question: Do you think any of these myths, misrepresentations or stereotypes still exist today? Even remnants of them?



Part C: Abstinence-Only Education (The Double Standard)            20 MINS


(Short Lecture Portion)

            Unfortunately, the answer to those questions is yes. One of the most disturbing examples of this is the double standard that exists for boys and girls when it comes to expectations surrounding sex and sexuality.

            You would have noticed from the pamphlet especially that girls were perceived as more rational and less concerned with personal pleasure. For the boys, it seemed that they could not control their “urges” and should be excused them. Essentially, this sets up a system of blaming girls for things like rape.

            Even now, it’s a widespread belief that boys think about sex more often, look at porn more often, the list goes on. Many girls think they’re abnormal for thinking about sex too much, and many boys think they’re abnormal if they feel they’re not thinking about sex enough!

            Most strikingly, however, is the fact that women, especially those in U.S. States that teach abstinence-only education, are being taught that their sexuality is a commodity and that their virginity doesn’t belong to them. Abstaining until marriage is a personal choice that many teens do choose, but it is being marketed almost exclusively to girls. The decision not to have sex should be one made by examining personal beliefs and values and weighing benefits and risks, not because young women think they will be damaged goods, blemished, or unwanted otherwise.


Watch video clip. Ask the students to jot down a few of their impressions of what is happening in the video, paying particular to the gender roles being shown.

Divide into pairs. (Students choose, so they can feel comfortable with their peers)

Discuss the impressions you wrote down during the movie. How is a purity pledge beneficial to a student? How might a purity pledge be detrimental to a student?

Present different perspectives to the rest of the class (write them on the board). They will probably bring up a lot of important points, but make sure certain issues are mentioned if they don’t think of them, for example:

-       the effect on girls’ self-image: when/if they do have sex, they may feel that it is shameful and wrong.

-       Males are also receiving subliminal ideas, especially about their roles as the “active” participant who must take charge and even be having a lot of sex to be considered a man.

No matter what you choose, make sure it is an informed choice that is physically and emotionally healthy for you. Remember that stereotypes and outdated ideas about the roles of men and women are just that- outdated. We now live in a society that should be able to accept the same behaviour in men and women. The next time you are about to gossip about someone, ask yourself whether you are treating the situation differently because of the person’s gender. Always look critically at the things that you take for granted! 

We’ll get back to the issue of sexism for your assignments, but first we are going to all-too-briefly discuss heterosexism in popular culture.



Part D: Heterosexism in Popular Culture (Your Role Models)            15 MINS


Brainstorm as many famous TV/Movie (heterosexual) couples as you can in 1 minute. Shout out examples in 1 minute.

Then, name as many famous TV/Movie gay/lesbian characters as you can in 1 minute. Shout out examples.

            We simply don’t see very many non-normative (in other words, people who seem different from the majority) images of love and sex in our day-to-day lives. That doesn’t mean it’s not a perfectly natural and acceptable thing not to ‘fit in.’

            I want to show you a quick, wonderful video clip now before we go on to the assignment. This video was produced by two women in the Midwestern United States in response to what they felt was inadequate sex ed in schools. A lot of kids in the States have only this show to turn to. There are a lot of other episodes they’ve done in response to viewer questions, but we’re going to watch their show on homosexuality:

(Approx. 8 minutes)

            Sometimes adults don’t give kids enough credit- there are certainly a lot of kids who, faced with inadequate information, go looking on their own. However, there’s an even bigger number who, since they’ve been told that birth control doesn’t work so don’t have sex, forgo contraceptives altogether and wind up with babies, diseases, and (especially for girls and queer individuals) a powerful sense of shame.


Part D: Assignment!                        10 MINS

Due: Next class

Media Critical Reflection


            In this class, we have discussed the sterotypes and assumptions made in relation to sex and sexuality. In order for you to get a broader idea of how these misconceptions are at work in society and to encourage you to question what you take for granted in popular culture, you will write a 3-4 page response to a representation of teen sex or sexuality.

Curriculum Expectations

            In this assignment, you will:

ü     Identify the stereotypes and assumptions being made in your chosen representation.

ü     Identify instances where this representation subverts assumptions of teen sex and sexuality (in other words, when it didn’t conform to the stereotype)

ü     Discuss the impact this representation has on teens.

ü     Pay special attention to how characters communicate in relationships, how teen sex and sexuality is treated by adults, and how things are different for men and women.


1. Choose a representation of teen sex or sexuality. It can be an episode of a television show (ex. That 70s Show, Ugly Betty, Family Guy), a magazine article (ex. Seventeen, Maxim), a book, a song, a blog, anything you feel you can effectively respond to.

            2. Jot down your initial impressions.

3. Consolidate these impressions into a clear, critical analysis of the factors described above.


            As mentioned, you will hand in a 3-4 page (double spaced, 12-pt font, standard margins) critical response. Feel free to write informally (using “I” and personal anecdotes is fine) but keep in mind this is still an academic assignment.

Resources used:

Midwest Teen Sex Show

Moran, Jeffrey P. Teaching Sex: The Shaping of Adolescence in the 20th Century. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002.

Valenti, Jessica. Full Frontal Feminism. Emeryville, CA: Seal Press, 2007.


Is there anything you feel I missed in this lesson plan? I'm sure those of you who are real, live teachers rarely use a lesson plan this formal, but do you have any tips from your Teacher Candidate days? Let us know!

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Courtney posted at 2:35 PM - Comments (2)


Brilliant! This is much more detailed than most lessons plans I have made (which are few and far between). That being said, some ideas towards what I should be looking for are very welcome. Thanks for sharing.

By Blogger Ashley, at September 15, 2009 at 8:04 AM  

Mine are usually a lot more abstract, too-- this one was for an assignment in 3rd year so I had to fill in all the points that I usually don't write down. Adding more than usual is probably a wise thing when you're handing something in.

By Blogger Courtney, at September 15, 2009 at 9:00 AM  

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