No Shame: A Menstrual Health Curriculum

Why a Menstrual Health Curriculum?

For my thesis project during the MEITE program, I created a 10-module asynchronous course on Menstrual Hygiene Management Education. I became aware of MHM education through my internship at the GIRL Center, and it was through writing a blog/insights piece on menstrual cups that I realized how little space is made for students to learn about menstruation–particularly for the students who experience it first-hand. MHM education has often been addressed under the umbrella of sex and sexuality education, and this varies widely from context to context. And yet, almost universally, to talk about one’s period is often deemed an inappropriate “taking up” of space, if tolerated at all.

Working at the GIRL Center had been been a journey in thinking more inclusively about who identifies as a girl–which is why in my curriculum design, it is important to use the term “menstruator” to be mindful that not all girls menstruate and not all people who menstruate identify as girls.

While EdTech offers a warmer space, the masculinity of the tech world and culture still has its presence. By inserting MHM education in an interactive online format, I sought to test the bounds and hold the EdTech world accountable to what it claims to uphold–equity and disruption.

Check out the link below to get an overview of how I structured my course. You’ll see I used scaffolding (Van de Pol, 2010), differentiated assessment (Bondie and Zusho, 2018), and co-regulation and co-construction (Perry et al., 2017).

Know a menstruator who would benefit from this course?

Students can self-enroll in the course with this URL: https://canvas.instructure.com/enroll/TWP9G6. Alternatively, they can sign up at https://canvas.instructure.com/register and use the following join code: TWP9G6 

Below, you can view a breakdown of course topics, learning objectives, and activities.

To gain an overview of how I designed modules, check out this doc: MEITE Showcase Handout

Module TopicLearning Objectives: the learner will be able to…Activities
Course welcome•Gain an overview of purpose of course and learning objectives •Introduce yourself and get to know other classmates
•Navigate course resources                        
Introduce yourself
Self-regulated learning crash course•Define self-regulated learning •List the main stages of self-regulated learning
•Use self-regulated learning to list steps that can be taken to accomplish a challenging goal
Create a WOOP for a goal you hope to work toward
Overview: What is a period?•Identify who has a period •Describe what a period means about one’s body and development
•Describe what happens during a period
Write a letter to a sibling, friend or other menstruator to help provide an explanation of what a period is
Anatomy of a Menstruator•Identify the key body parts involved in menstruation
•Explain the function of these body parts  
Create a period calendar to help keep track of menstrual phases, hormone fluctuations and impacts on the body
Hormones & Menstrual Phases•Define hormones •List the hormones involved in menstruation
•Explain how the hormones interact during menstruation
Use Padlet to co-construct how you would respond (via text, video, audio recording) if you were to hear someone tell you or another menstruator one of these myths or taboos
Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) Materials & Products•List MHM materials and products available
•Discuss factors important to deciding upon a MHM material or product
Using a values chart, determine what is important to you in choosing an MHM material or product
Menstruation is not dirty.•Exemplify some of the social and cultural taboos and stigma that exist against menstruators •Demonstrate strategies or ways of responding when confronted with stigmatizationAfter reading about taboos, list in the Padlet how you would respond upon hearing some of the taboos or myths that people might say about menstruation
Pre-menstrual Syndrome and Period Management•Describe examples of PMS symptoms
•Explain what to expect during menarche
Co-create a menstruator survival guide of advice to new menstruators  
Menstrual Hygiene•Describe how to clean body parts relevant to menstruation and how often to change an MHM material •Identify signs that might indicate that one needs to get helpCo-construct a collection of policies in Jamboard that could help people with access to products or other resources necessary to managing menstruation  
Conclusion & Final Project•Review key topics
•Receive instructions for summative assessment (final project)  
Create a zine that shares advice, information or a message about menstruation based on the 7 related topics covered in this course