Years ago, nobody spoke very much about sexual orientation. It was silently assumed that everybody was heterosexual. Of course we knew of exceptions but they were more or less looked upon as weird or unnatural persons. Today it is changing and if a person has a different sexual orientation it should not affect relationships at school.
In a history class you are using pair-work both during lessons and after school. You suddenly become aware that the men in the group avoid working with Peter, a man in his forties. During a coffee break Peter openly declares he is gay.
The students in your group all stay silent as Peter explains his views on sex. Everybody including you feels very uncomfortable. The atmosphere is tense. Within a couple of minutes Peter has delivered all his thoughts about his homosexuality.
It is now obvious that nobody is willing to co-operate with Peter.
Since it is essential for the students to work in pairs, is it possible to find other ways to group them up - perhaps by pairing them up by what they have in common (favorite colour, pastime, food...)?
Think about setting up classroom rules. How would you make sure that these rules ensure that nobody in the class is discriminated against?
Since Peter has explained his sexual orientation during a coffee break, would you make a statement to the class about sexual discrimination or would you discuss the others' discrminiation against Peter during a coffee break?
Is there a way to bring in material to the class that would be relevant to the material taught and that would also educate the others about discrimination against homosexuals and would foster an atmosphere of tolerance?