Topic 2 At the classroom level

Kelisa Wing and Megan Cross (2018)

Creating an environment free from judgement and free from bias is the responsibility of every educator. This occurs through what is said and what is seen. Educators should also work towards learning about the backgrounds of their students so they understand students’ cultural and social norms.

Your classroom materials should be a mirror for your students in which they can see themselves represented. We need to push our own thinking in this area; even if our classrooms are not diverse, we should expose our students to multiple perspectives and people because it teaches them empathy and diversity. 

As a society, we have a tendency to only want to hear from those who agree with us. However, we need to foster an environment where students can hear from others who may not hold the same views as them, and we must allow them to feel safe in doing so.

When we reflect on our biases and create safe spaces in our classrooms, we create opportunities for powerful conversations with our students. We are likely to have eye-opening, perspective shifting moments, and we may also make mistakes. We should strive to be human enough to admit them and correct them.

Christina Kwauk and Sarah Bever (2017)

This serves as an important reminder that the student-teacher relationship is vitally important to teachers’ effectiveness in guiding students through critical reflection on their own understandings of gender. Indeed, it is the teacher’s ability to recognise and understand local, social, and gender dynamics by giving voice to boys’ and girls’ experiences that teachers can create more gender-inclusive learning environments in some of the most gender-exclusive contexts

Raghavendra T. (2014)

Pay equal attention to boys and girls in the classroom

Change the seating arrangements so that girls and boys can all sit together

Provide equal opportunities to girls and boys to lead, fulfil classroom responsibilities, and participate in sports competition

Demonstrate respect for individuality by avoiding stereotypical remarks

Improving Gender Balance and Equalities programme – Literature review

Teachers’ beliefs about a subject and about a child’s inclinations to develop knowledge in that subject area have an impact on whether the child’s learning will be stimulated, challenged or inhibited (Andersson 2012).

Storybooks are an excellent way for children to learn about the world, learn about gender stereotypes and potentially breakdown these stereotypes.

Researchers suggest that engagement with gender stereotypical toys can lead to long term higher levels of gender stereotypical behaviour, for both boys and girls (Cohen et al 2016).

Textbooks challenging gender stereotypes, or teachers encouraging students to critically reflect on gender stereotypes present within textbooks is important.

Vervecken & Hannover (2015) have argued that gender cues in language (e.g. fireman rather than firefighter; air hostess rather than flight attendant) influence children’s and adults’ perceptions. They propose that linguistic interventions (i.e. use of gender fair language), can impact on children’s self-efficacy toward stereotypical occupations