The Power of Awareness

Please use the following as a discussion guide to maximize the use of the short film here, which can serve as a tool for teachers and school staff members to better understand students’ experiences of youth empowerment.

The story told in the film is an example of students’ challenges, successes and obstacles as agents of positive change at their school. The film is not intended to demonstrate an ideal model or template for teachers or schools regarding youth empowerment in a school setting.


Students describe a poster project in their school displaying an LGBTQ+ positive image, recounting the diverse reactions and their own experience participating in the project.


Students’ self-expression (including the expression of their identity) is a key component of empowerment leading to feelings of pride and achievement.


  • Invisibility as a key form of marginalization for students who are LGBTQ+
  • Expression of one’s identity as a source of pride and a way to build self-confidence
  • Importance and power of imagery to create an inclusive school culture
  • Importance and power of imagery to elicit discussion and strong reactions
  • Benefits for students from participation in creating the school culture (through visual imagery)
  • Students’ feelings of engagement and pride as a result of their agency in creating their school’s environment


  • Encouraging students’ expression of their identities (if this is their choice)
  • Inviting students to create the school’s environment and culture
  • Supporting students to take action and realize a project
  • Accepting different reactions and viewpoints as opportunities to engage a wide range of people
  • Using visual imagery to transmit a message, influence school culture and effect change

Questions for Group Discussion

  1. What are some of the messages this story offers?
  2. What was the impact of this project? On the students involved? On the school?
  3. Why might this project have generated such a range of reactions?
  4. What indicators of youth empowerment are illustrated by this story?
  5. What strategies for adults to facilitate youth empowerment are illustrated by this story?
  6. What other strategies might be developed for involving students in creating their school’s environment and culture?