How to Use this Workbook: Paper, Pens, Glue, and You

Rebecca Yoshizawa

Please Print this Workbook

I have only one strong recommendation for how to use this workbook: please print it. This workbook is here for you to use the way that works best for you (students and instructors alike!). That may be online depending on course design and learner needs. But the vision for this workbook was a commitment to embodied learning with a pen in hand.

Should you take the recommendation to print this workbook, follow the link for Final Version Gender in Canada A Companion Workbook:

Welcome Students!

If you like colourful pens, here’s your chance to use them.

I come from a pen generation. Like, we took notes in class with a pen and paper. Rarely would I see anyone taking notes on a laptop during my undergrad. I definitely don’t want to give an “in my day” lecture to you; however, I do think that some learning/working on hardcopy is good. Paper is real. Pens are real. Your ideas are real. They can come to life by using this workbook as intended: with your pen in your hand! And more – stickers, markers, cut-outs… this book can be whatever you want and need. Play in this workbook.

The mind-body connections that you make when you do these activities will strengthen your learning and help you get more out of your class! These activities are designed to help you learn more about your course and yourself, and to help you get your ideas down on paper with order to them. This readies you to participate in your class discussions and sets you up for your higher-stakes assignments. It’s academic, but it should be fun too!

Please note: if you’re working on hardcopy, all whitespace is YOUR space. This workbook is for doing. Get messy and work through your ideas on these pages. 

If your course or personal needs are better met by engaging with the workbook online, every activity has its own digital page for you to download and work on in the programs of your choosing!

I welcome all feedback, adaptations, and contributions to this book. Kindly email with any feedback or contributions you wish to share.

Content Awareness

This workbook describes and asks readers to reflect on topics that may be triggering for some individuals and groups. Sensitive topics like discrimination and violence are addressed in some chapters. The workbook also asks readers to share their own experiences and ideas in the activities of each topic, which may be difficult for some individuals or groups.

Please consult with your instructor if you are concerned about the content of this workbook, as they will have ideas for how to proceed with your safety in mind. Please also avail mental health resources that are available at your institution and beyond should you be struggling with the topics or experiences associated with this workbook.

Welcome Instructors!

This workbook is a course companion. It is designed to be used alongside the lectures, discussions, readings, and media that make up the content of your course. It does not replace a textbook.

The concepts and theories discussed here are foundational; we tried to hone in on “the basics” – or at least one vision of the basics! Since it is a companion, you as an instructor have the freedom and are encouraged to engage with it critically!

I suggest that it is suitable in its present form for the following cognate courses:

  • 1st year gender studies courses with a Canadian focus
  • 2nd year sociology of gender courses with a Canadian focus

However, as this is an Open Resource, any instructor can adapt this work to suit course design, year, and focus.

In my own course design, I had students attend lectures, do readings, and consume other relevant media. Once they had done that preparation, they were to complete their workbook sections for the week. They then took their completed workbook sections to what I call “Conversation Cafes.” These were groups of 3-4 students who met weekly for one hour to discuss course materials. The workbook served to anchor their conversations. They would start with a reflective discussion of how they each completed their workbook. This gave students the opportunity to prepare for talking ahead of time, as well as something “real” to discuss. As any instructor knows, getting students to really talk with each other can be a major challenge. This workbook helped students to gather ideas for talking and bring thoughtful insights to their conversations.

I had my students do workbooks for earnest completion marks. If they did each section with fulsome and honest effort, they received full marks. This is in line with the spirit of the book, which is to be a safe place for students to explore their learning and grow into more complex assignments.

My intention is that this workbook will be a living book, with new chapters added each time I teach the course. Actually, I think this constant revision is essential for this book to have integrity; we can fill in gaps as we learn more.

Perhaps you would like to have students also write their own workbook chapters as an assignment! In that case, we could collaborate on a new edition of this workbook, incorporating more student and instructor work, in the spirit of Open Education.

I welcome all feedback, adaptations, and contributions to this book. Kindly email with any feedback you wish to share, or if you adopt all or part of this workbook in your courses.


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Gender in Canada: A Companion Workbook Copyright © 2023 by Rebecca Yoshizawa is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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