A major part of the Year 9 Odyssey Program revolves around the concept of the ‘Man Box’, the set of beliefs within and across society, that stereotype masculinity and place pressure on men to act and behave a certain way, for example: to be tough, not to show any emotions, be the breadwinner, always be in control, use violence to solve problems and have many sexual partners. Research has found that if we can educate boys to recognise and understand the implications of the ‘Man Box’ we can go a long way in improving their physical and mental health, plus their ability to build healthy relationships with females. Sadly, evidence shows that it is men whose behaviour mirrors the principles of the ‘Man Box’ who are at higher risk of poor health and harmful behaviours such as violence and sexual harassment. During this term teachers will promote positive strategies for stepping outside the ‘Man Box’ as well as encouraging boys to develop the character traits of courage, empathy, and kindness which will allow them to truly be themselves with increased self-confidence and self-esteem.

This term we provide an authentic opportunity for Year 9 boys to step out of the ‘Man Box’ by undertaking a six-week intensive dance program where they learn a choreographed routine to perform in front of family and friends. We put the boys through this Dance Program because it offers so many benefits to their personal growth and development.

I. Teaching boys to dance helps break down stereotypical ‘Man Box’ ideology that only females’ dance.

II. It provides a safe environment allowing boys to learn how to feel comfortable being in uncomfortable situations, encouraging the development of a Growth Mindset.

III. Dancing on stage needs boys to overcome their fear of embarrassment and feeling of vulnerability, creating an experience for boys to demonstrate the character strength of courage as well as practice applying strategies to manage anxiety.

IV. Learning something new that is outside the comfort zone of most teenage boys requires the activation of the character strengths of resilience, determination, and perseverance as they don’t learn the dance steps straight away.

V. A choreographed routine involves boys learning to collaborate to put on a performance as a team.

All family and friends of Year 9 boys are invited to attend the upcoming dance performance evening on Wednesday 31st May at 6pm in the Br Paull Centre.

Mark Weston
Director of Character Education and Leadership