A book for teachers and parents of adolescents. It is colourful, absorbing, illuminating, and – critically – practical. Each chapter draws on the perceptions and writings of teenage boys and girls, and uses these to build a specific knowledge about what it means to be an adolescent at school, what it means to be ‘cool’ and ‘normal’, and the effects of these social constructions on learning and relationships.
The book grew out of the authors’ concern that welfare or pastoral-car policies in schools are silent about the effects of certain forms of power relations on both learning and the social culture of masculinity and femininity. It was their intention to make student voices and perspectives on gender and power relationships more accessible to teachers.
Each chapter concludes with a series of focus group discussions that are designed to function as professional development workshops for teachers, translating the chapter contents into a form that can be applied to individual schools, the book culminates with a chapter devoted to providing guidelines for schools on how to recast or reformulate their student welfare policies in the light of our new understandings of gender and power issues in schools.
Being normal is the only way to be will be an important resource for the teachers and schools. It exposes the gaps and silence in current school based policies and approaches and makes a significant contribution to addressing social justice, difference and diversity issues in schools.