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Gender in Language Teaching:

From stereotypes to equity. Based on MATE 33rd annual conference Marrakech January 28th-31st, 2013

CREFOC Rades April 24th- 25th, 2013 Chouaibi Atef

Introduction: Overview of the conference Application form - British Council Tunisia competition ( three questions) - MATE - The Conference; the subjects (G & SN) and the program. I/ Presentation conference program A/ Gender and language teaching. i. Historical background. ii. Why gender? B/ Stereotypes about gender. i. Beliefs towards gender. ii. Textbooks. iii. Teaching practice. C/ Women’s empowerment i. Equity before equality. ii. More chances towards education. iii. Women’s empowerment through education. iv. Women’s empowerment through ICT. v. Some other ways of women’s empowerment. II/ Workshop Presenting some stereotypes in the Tunisian textbooks. Hands on: Teachers looking for stereotypes in textbooks and giving possible alternate activities

What do we mean by the word «Gender»? • "Gender" does not refer to male and female, but to masculine and feminine - that is, to qualities or characteristics that society attribute to each sex. • •

People are born female or male, but learn to be women and men.

Perceptions of gender are deeply rooted, vary widely both within and between cultures, and change over time. • But in all cultures, gender determines power and resources for females and males.”

Historical background General usage of the term gender began in the late 1960s and 1970s in the professional literature of the social sciences. The term helps in distinguishing those aspects of life that were more easily attributed or understood to be of social rather than biological origin. ( Unger & Crawford, 1992).

Why gender? “The two themes of the conference are "Gender in Language Education" and "Language Education for Learners with Special Needs". The critical relevance of the former theme lies in the fact that it is an issue which originates in a wide range of conditions and which has dimensions and effects of a social, cultural representational, political and psychological nature that we cannot continue to overlook as they relate to the civilizational options which we hope to be able to create for language Learners.� Abdellatif Zaki, President of MATE

• Gender equity means fairness and impartiality in the treatment of women and men in terms of rights, benefits, obligations and opportunities

• Gender equality is when women and men enjoy equal rights, opportunities and entitlements in civil and political life

I/ Gender Stereotypes A surgeon was once driving his son to school when they suddenly had an accident; the surgeon died on the spot while the son, still alive, was taken to hospital. «I can’t operate! This is my son» screamed the surgeon.

• A gender stereotype is an assumption about a person because they are female or male. • Gender stereotyping contributes to gender inequality because what we believe about girls/women and boys/men influences how we act towards them.

Three paradoxes about gender ( Morocco as an example).

Fatima Sadiki • Paradox number 1: A high schooling rate Vs a Low rate of employment • Paradox number 2: A leading role in legal achievements Vs a high rate of illiteracy among women. • Paradox number 3: Significant education gains Vs Dependence on men. “The three paradoxes are related. They are rooted in a space-based patriarchy where authority is male, lack of improved social status, creating a communication problem that textbooks, the class structure, and current teaching habits reinforce.” Gender balance is the equal and active participation of women and men in all areas of decision-making, and in access to and control over resources and services

Stereotypes and sexism in textbooks. “To teach students a new language is to introduce them, by necessity, to a new cultural paradigm, a new mode of perceiving reality and, therefore, a new way of thinking.�

Stereotypes in teaching practice. • The generic use of 'man' and 'he' (and 'his', 'him', 'himself') is commonly considered gender-neutral. • When constructing examples and theories, remember to include those human activities, interests, and points of view which traditionally have been associated with females. Eliminate the generic use of 'he' by: • using plural nouns • deleting 'he', 'his', and 'him' altogether Eliminate the generic use of 'man': • for 'man', substitute 'person'/'people', 'individual(s)', 'human(s)', 'human being(s)' • delete unnecessary references to generic 'man'

Eliminate sexual stereotyping of roles by: • using the same term (which avoids the generic 'man') for both females and males (e.g., 'department chair' or 'chairperson'). • not calling attention to irrelevancies (e.g., 'lady lawyer', 'male nurse')5 •

('Person' and 'human' are genuinely gender-neutral.)

II/ Empowering women Equity before equality • “Gender equity is an aspiration of feminist activists and the Rights movement, Women’s rights having been incorporated in various UN documents i.e. the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).” • “Reform of traditional educational curricular is conceived to allow for gender parity.” •

“It is key that language teaching get rid of its male-dominated linguistic bias and sexist terminology.”

Empowerment through education • The purpose of education is to create leading individuals who are active, successful and autonomous in their communities. • English is not only viewed as a mere linguistic structure but a source of leadership and empowerment. • The focus has to be on the concept of leadership, the characteristics of a leader, the relationship between leadership, education and empowerment of women. Some classroom activities and strategies should be suggested to neutralize the variable of gender in learner production in order to increase female production in the classroom.

Empowerment through ICT • We ought to examine the relationship between informal ICT access among boys and girls and their language achievement in English. • More opportunities for girls : learning, communication, leading roles…. • Inciting girls to take initiatives for themselves.

Other ways of empowerment. • “Often, objectives for English language courses encompass broad directives such as “to improve learners’ communicative abilities” and “to expose students to English literature.” ” • Drama: Enacting leading roles (heroines) • Autonomous activities: Conducting projects, interviews, reports… • Poetry: Designing some lessons in such a way to engage female students in poetry whether writing poems or enacting them in front of class. “ The poems prove to be an incredibly rich source of input for subsequent communicative activities as well as for motivating students to take risks in the target language. “

A meeting with the president of MATE

“ What would you say are the three most urgent issues to address in your

language education practices from the perspective of the theme, what would you hope that participants take home with them from your paper?” MATE “I think the main issues that could be extracted from the theme of the conference are healthy communication, tolerance and motivation. Healthy communication helps students become able to discuss any problematic issue without falling into verbal or nonverbal violence. Enhancing tolerance can put somehow an end to disability and gender discrimination.” Amina Shaalan Al-Hadi (Lebanon)




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MATE 33rd Annual Conference Cascading:

“Gender issues in Education ” CREFOC Rades April 24th - 25th, 2012

Thank you Special thanks to:

The British Council (especially Mr Langston Kiros) The MATE staff All the conference speakers

The staff of Ryadh Mogador Menara hotel Marrakech

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