Project Spotlight-Man Up

May 14, 2018

A Best-in-Network 2018 Finalist


Parramatta Marist High School

Teacher: Luke Barry-Donnellan

Course: Personal Development/Health/Physical Education combined with Information Software Technology

Grade: 9

Driving Question:

How can we redefine the current ‘man code’ and support each other at Parramatta Marist High School?

Project Snapshot

This project is an integration between PDHPE and Information Software Technology. There is currently a rising number of young males in Australia taking their own life. After witnessing a 3 part documentary series by Australian Radio Personality Gus Worland, the harsh reality of this issue has begun to become more relevant. We start to tell our boys to stop crying and suppress their emotions when they come of age. But is that really the best method? Mental Health education is becoming a vital component of education not only in Australia but the world.

Despite the growing amount of time and resources going into Mental Health education, are teachers providing an authentic and genuine learning experience for students to learn about mental health or are they just merely delivering content directly to students in a traditional way?

What the “Man Up” project aims to do is to challenge the stereotypical beliefs of what it means to be a man and understand the dangers of internalizing your emotions. It enables students to speak up and get in more in touch with their emotions through a variety of authentic experiences. The project also provides a platform for students to propose new initiatives to help generate more awareness and understand about communicating emotions with people close to you. 

Student Products

Students were required to create a radio segment for an Australian radio station, MMM, that highlights their findings of redefining what it means to be a man and how you can communicate your emotions. They were also required to pitch an initiative that could be implemented at our school, further adding to the authenticity of the project.

Teacher Reflection

We began by looking at why so many young males took their own lives. I knew that I wanted my project to be authentic. I approached a popular radio personality who works with Tomorrow Man, an organization that seeks to disrupt stereotypes and strengthen emotional muscle by facilitating workshops throughout Australia.

That’s the great thing about PBL. There’s an important message to this project. Always remember to man up, It’s ok to rewrite the man code 

Listen to Luke Barry-Donnellan describe Man Up.

Reviewers Reflection

“This is some of the most important work I’ve seen done in the Network.  While it is an epidemic in Australia, it’s not a uniquely Australian problem–this issue is increasingly noticeable in the US and my community.  I like that students had models to look at, especially the Worland documentary. The feedback students provided was revealing, and I appreciated their candor in their responses.”


Student Reflections

Students from Parramatta Marist reflect on Man Up.

More about Tomorrow Man:

What does it mean to be a bloke today? And what do we want it to look like tomorrow?

The tide is changing for men young and old, and the outdated stereotype is leaving some of our mates, dads, sons, uncles, teammates, workmates and brothers stranded without the tools for a healthy life.

It’s time we got in a room to have a no holds barred conversation about the state of man; face the stats and create room to break the stereotype. Explore how we can look after ourselves, our mates and families better while carving out our own version of the Aussie man.

Projects Spotlights allow a glimpse into the great projects that are taking place in New Tech schools across the country. To learn more about Project-Based Learning or the New Tech Network, please contact us here.


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