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Curriculum Brief

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The Girl Be Heard curriculum aims to foster an ensemble of healthy, confident, self-aware, socially conscious young women as activist artists, engaged and encouraged to be positive agents of change in their schools and communities.

Through theatre exercises, writing prompts, the art of play, and researching social justice issues impacting girls, GBH members actively observe themselves and their role in society. We use critical reflection and creative expression to connect and perform about various social issues. Through these acts our girls gain the ability and confidence to create art that has the power to put local and global issues impacting our communities center stage. For an overview of the curriculum session structure, click here.

Goals:
Through the Girl Be Heard curriculum, we aim to:

  • Strengthen young people’s voices and self-expression through ensemble-based theatre
    spoken word, writing, and other artistic forms
  • Develop girls’ critical thinking skills, individual creative talents, artistry, teamwork
    capabilities, self-awareness, and knowledge of the movements for women’s liberation
  • Foster the development of activist artists by connecting individual struggles to larger
    systemic problems
  • Providing tools to both think globally and take action locally
  • Develop socially conscious young people who are able to digest and dissect social
    issues through art
  • Develop socially conscious young people who are able to digest and dissect social
    issues through art
  • Examine systems of oppression
  • Create a safe community where girls can connect with one another and with themselves

Key Areas of Development:
GBH curriculum will have a positive impact in the development of different skills:

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Framing Topics​ are the “big picture” concepts that the GBH curriculum is built on, inspired by an intersectional women’s liberation awareness. These topics are required. Each framing topic may be covered in one or multiple sessions, depending on class flow, group dynamics, current events, and the interests of the participants. ​It is the job of the Teaching Artists (facilitators) to gauge the collective, listen, trust your girls, trust your instincts, and figure out how to make t​his curriculum work best for the group being served. These topics open the unit and close the unit.

Floating Topics​ are more specific concepts and themes that we’ve frequently seen surface when exploring social justice issues. These floating topic lesson guides are for topics that organically come up in the session depending on the unique circumstances of the group, time, and space. The Teaching Artists will listen to the group and make the appropriate decision in choosing which topics are most aligned with that specific collective’s interests and passions. The floating topic lessons will fill in the space between the framing topic bookends.

We engage participants through a series of writing prompts, readings, theatre exercises and discussions. Through our foundational curriculum, participants develop awareness of themselves and the importance of gender-equity in three units.

UNIT 1: Identity & the Personal Voice
           • Framing Topics:
                     — Creating a Safe Space
                     — Building the Ensemble
                     — Self Care
                     — Identity
           • Floating Topics:
                     — Cultural Influence
                     — Gender and Sexuality
                     — The Creation of Self, Body Image
                     — Colorism
                     — The Presentation of the Self Online
                     — Self Care
           • Closing Framing Topic:
                     — The Expression of Self
           • Milestones:
                     — Completing a minimum of one piece in their
                     portfolio about identity
                     — Performing at / attending the Open Mic

UNIT 2: Understanding the World Around Us
           • Framing Topic:
                     — Privilege & Oppression
           • Floating Topics:
                     — Human Rights
                     — Bullying
                     — Patriarchy
                     — White Supremacy
                     — Heteronormativity
                     — Objectification of Women in Media
                     — Violence Against Women
                     — Forced Child Marriage
                     — Immigration
                     — Police Brutality
                     — Rape Culture
                     — Environmental Justice
                     — Mass Incarceration
           • Closing Framing Topic:
                     — My Art in the World & the World in My Art
           • Milestones:
                     — Adding a minimum of one piece to their portfolio
                     — Creating a project (performance/film/video/etc.)
                     or a social action (writing to a council member/
                     a social media campaign/etc.) interacting with their
                     community

UNIT 3: Making Ourselves Heard
           • Framing Topics:
                     — The Power of Performance
                     — Identifying Circles of Influence/Our Ripple Effect
                     — How is My Art Influencing the World?
           • Milestones:
                     — Creating an end-of-year presentation or project
                     that incorporates each individual voice in some way
                     and presents a shared group thought
                     — Performing or being present at the GBH
                     end-of-year show
                     — Participating in an end-of-year presentation at
                     their school that includes parents, teachers, and/or
                     partners

The program culminates with an original performance that raises awareness of domestic and global issues affecting women and girls. Our critically acclaimed performances have been seen at the White House, United Nations, Off-Broadway and on national tours throughout the country.

Some topics we’ve addressed include:

  • Identity (race, class, sexual orientation, ability, etc.)
  • Body Image, Suicide, Teen Pregnancy, Substance Abuse
  • Gun Violence, Sex Trafficking, Forced Child Marriage
  • Violence Against Women and Girls
  • Civil and Human Rights

To bring Girl Be Heard into your school, Lexy Nistico at ​lexy@girlbeheard.org​.
For information about the curriculum, contact Tiff Roma at ​tiff@girlbeheard.org​.