A Brief Reflection on the Last Week's Webinar: Gender Equality in Education

Posted On 2/23/2019 6:29:00 PM, 5Comments

This week’s webinar was centered on the subject I, personally, research about the most; gender and the gender inequality. Since we focus on the educational side of these kind of social justice issues and topics, I entirely put the emphasis on the male and female figures and didn’t research the key factors in this issue; the terms. If we, as teachers, are going to create educational environments where there would be minimal or no social justice issues, we must be aware of what we are defending or supporting to make our argument even more effective. This week’s webinar has taught a lot about gender bias, gender socialization, hidden curriculum, etc… These are maybe the concepts that everyone knows but they are not the concepts that everyone knows ‘’in detail.’’ Also, the educational materials that the webinars provide each week are extremely helpful for me to conduct a particular lesson that would address the social justice issues in my practicum site easily. For example, the short story called ‘’Paper Bag Princess’’ can be a good material to be discussed in the classroom or the teacher may even come up with his/her own ideas related to this story. It is a good material because it focuses on a female character who is powerful and strong enough to save the male character, unlike the other kind of stories where the male character is the strongest of all. So, the webinar was helpful in providing a huge opportunity for me to see the other side of teaching since nearly the most of the teachers focus on the content knowledge and forget about social justice issues or any other affective side of teaching and learning.

Actually, there are many obstacles in having a classroom where there would be no gender-related issues like gender bias at all because everyone in a nation is affected by the culture while defining the gender and gender roles. This, in time, causes some stereotypes such as defining the females’ roles as dealing with the home; washing dishes, cooking meal, etc… In my first practicum site, I asked 8th grade students a question after I introduced the unit called ‘’In the Kitchen’’. Since we were at the break and I’d just introduced them the phrases and vocabularies for cooking, I asked a question about only cooking and there were a few students to talk about my question. I asked ‘’Who deals with the works -cooking especially- at home; your father or your mother?’’. Every student near me said it was their mother who deals with cooking meals in the house. Even a male student said ‘’It is their duty, teacher. Why should we cook at all?’’ I was shocked when he said that since I was expecting for him to respond differently. When I asked ‘’why do you think like this?’’ he couldn’t answer and another female student joined the conversation and blamed the male student for having such stereotypes. In my own humble opinion, the ideas that these kinds of male students have stemmed from the culture itself. The culture is what shapes a society’s opinions and ideas about certain issues and topics. Also, the family structure is an important factor to be thought in this matter. Through all the people I’ve met so far, the ones who have a democratic family structure are the ones that stand up against the culture’s stereotypical ideology. All in all, since I want to implement a non-sexist approach into my teaching, it would be pretty hard for me to shape the ideas of these kinds of students. I often try to include both male and female figures in my materials while I’m teaching so that the students would have a perspective which results in the idea that both gender’s roles are not defined according to physical, masculine or feminine ways. For example, introducing the pictures of both male and female figures who are cooking or cleaning the house together. These are small but important steps in establishing an awareness.

The things that I learned in this week’s webinar is truly transferable to my own teaching practice as I mentioned above. I always think about the gender-related issues in my own practicum site. In addition to the efforts I had, the concepts that this week’s webinar taught me would be quite helpful for me to come up with different kinds of materials to be practiced in my classroom. For example, using short stories in classrooms filled by young learners to overcome stereotypes and using certain types of texts in a classroom filled with teenagers to discuss about gender-related issues, factors and roles would be extremely useful to establish a kind of environment where the students can share their own opinions about this matter and realize the other side of issues, as well.

Since I had an opportunity in this project to talk and think about this issue in detail, I now feel more comfortable to talk about gender roles in my classrooms. I usually remained neutral even though there were students around me with whom I shared similar opinions about these issues. I didn’t want to be seen as the teacher who selects sides since the young learners tend to feel like this when they see a teacher with different opinions. However, I now feel that I was doing wrong the whole time. I should provide students with evidences, articles about gender-related issues such as misconceptions of gender roles in society to shape their ideas in a positive and democratic way.