Joint Paper Session NW 08 and NW 33
Portuguese National Curriculum establishes that school health education should be a mandatory in the school curriculum, as a cross-curricular component included in a more comprehensive area of citizenship education (Portugal, Decreto-Lei n.º 91/2013 de 10 de julho). This area deals with issues that are transversal to society and, therefore, its inclusion in the curriculum requires a transversal approach in subjects as well as in all school activities and projects, from pre-school to secondary education (Decreto-Lei n.º 139/2012, de 5 de julho). Research shown that teachers value textbooks as a resource for teaching (Moulton, 1997), and in Portugal many of science teachers use the textbook almost as the sole source for working the curriculum (Vilaça, & Morgado, 2013).
School textbook exists to uphold equal rights with regard to education, presenting the advantage of being the only book available to all pupils, without exception, irrespective of their social, cultural, socio-economic or social status, or where he/she lives (Rego, Gomes & Balula, 2010). As a compulsory pedagogical instrument in many European countries, the school textbook contributes to the (re) construction and consolidation of knowledge, playing an important role in both content and school working methods learning, but it is also an important cultural and ideological tool (Cavadas & Guimarães, 2010). Actually, in addition to convey content knowledge, the textbook also has underlying to its elaboration a certain vision of society, history and culture, being therefore a political product that convey an ideology and theories about the reality in which we live (Rego, Gomes & Balula, 2010). Generally, the values and attitudes in school textbooks represent dominant social groups, disregarding minorities, passing on a message of unchanging and unique society (Morgado, 2004), which shows the need to educate both authors of school textbooks and teachers to not to ignore and critically analyse these facts if they want to assume the school as a participatory and democratic health education setting.
An intersectional gender analysis shows that gender stereotypes are still expressed in textbooks representations regarding health status, with men more likely than women to be depicted as healthy, and less likely to be shown as injured or unhealthy (Craeynest, 2015; Parker et al., 2017); body type (Martinez-Bello, & Molina-Garcia, 2016; Menescardi Royuela et al., 2017; Parker et al., 2017); being a person with a disability (Parker et al., 2017); ethnicity (Martinez-Bello, & Molina-Garcia, 2016; Menescardi Royuela et al., 2017; Parker et al., 2017); age (Martinez-Bello, & Molina-Garcia, 2016; Menescardi Royuela et al., 2017;Parker, & Cockburn, 2017); the type of physical activity (Martinez-Bello, & Molina-Garcia, 2016); the expression of emotions (Parker et al., 2017); occupational functions (Moser, Hannover, 2014; Parker et al., 2017; Wu, & Liu, 2003); and domestic functions (Blumberg, 2007; Wu, & Liu, 2003).
In this research the textbooks of the 7th and 9th grades of Natural Sciences subject were analysed. The national curriculum of the 7th grade (Bonito et al., 2013) establishes that its field of study is The Earth in Transformation, which contains the following five subdomains: External Dynamics of the Earth; Dynamics inner Earth; Consequences of Earth's Internal Dynamics; Earth Tells its History; Geological Science and Sustainability of Life on Earth. Regarding the 9th grade, its field of education is Living Better on Earth that should integrate three subdomains: Individual and Community Health; Human Organism in Equilibrium; Transmission of life (Bonito et al., 2014).
Against this background, this study aims to compare the Natural Sciences Textbooks of the 7th and 9th grades, used in Portugal, regarding the occurrence of possible stereotypes linked to gender and health representations (body type, facial expression, health behaviours) and, their interception with age and ethnicity.
Science textbooks (represented as T) of the 7th and 9th grades currently used in Portugal were examined for health and gender representations and their interception with other social markers. The sample of books analysed included the five books of 7th (79.5%) and 9th (78.2%) grades most chosen by Portuguese schools, certified by the Directorate General of Education. All images of these textbooks in which sex or gender of the individual was identified, based on the physical indicators of sex (e.g., genitalia, breasts) or cultural indicators of gender (e.g., dress or hair), were included in the analysis. Repeated images were only coded once. The author coded all images and an additional coder coded a random sample of images. The analysis included all pages of textbooks. A content analysis coding schema was developed for the analysis to ensure that data collection was consistent across each textbook. The coding categories included: the type of illustration (i.e. conceptual or narrative); whether the image was sex or sex/gender-specific; morpho physiological description (e.g., full body, body part); age (e.g., child, teenager); ethnicity; body type (mesomorph, endomorph, ectomorph); hair colour; hair length; hair in the body. For images that were identified as narrative, in which an active story was shown to be unfolding (Parker et al., 2017), the following additional categories were identified: health behaviours (healthy versus unhealthy individual behaviours), sex of the individual - group (e.g., woman, group of women), individuals with disability (e.g., Intellectual/ physical disability), type of clothing (e.g., naked, underwear, sportswear), props, individual or group physical activity, type of physical activity (Martinez-Bello, & Molina-Garcia, 2016), type of sport, character's look, facial expression, occupational functions, domestic functions. Relative frequencies of each category of analysis were used to evaluate the relationships between gender and other variables (e.g. health behaviours, occupational functions). After a descriptive statistic, the Chi-square test (χ²) was used to determine whether the relationships between variables and between the same variable in the 7th and 9th grades were statistically significantly different.
In the majority of textbooks analysed of the 7Th grade, except in T2, males appear more frequently than females, and in the 9th grade all books have a similar visual representation of men and women which is contrary to the results found in the 7th grade and in the majority of previous studies (e.g., Blumberg, 2007, 2015). White bodies are normative in textbooks of both grades, with a limited representation of people with other ethnicity or a physical disability as shown in other studies (e.g., Martinez-Bello, & Molina-Garcia, 2016; Parker et al., 2017), thus promoting unequal power relations and possibilities of inclusion in the school community. In the textbooks of the 7th grade there is a relatively high percentage of men and women exhibiting sedentary behaviours than in the 9th grade, and the type of physical activity represented in the textbooks of the 7th grade is different because they are men or women while in the 9th grade it is not. However, all books show almost exclusively male scientists. The passive roles are most often represented in old age, devaluing the importance of active aging. The findings highlight the need to minimize differences in function of age, ethnicity and individuals with disability. Teachers should be made aware of the imbalance of images according to these categories in order to think critically on under-represented individuals engaged in health education in multiple settings represented in these textbooks. It is also necessary to investigate the science textbooks of other grades to assess whether the differences found between these two grades are related to the topics addressed or not, since the authors of the textbooks in some cases are the same in these two grades studied.
Blumberg, R. L. (2007). Gender bias in textbooks: A hidden obstacle on the road to gender equality in education. Paper commissioned for the EFA Global Monitoring Report 2008, Education for All by 2015: will we make it. Paris: UNESCO. | Blumberg, R. L. (2015). Eliminating gender bias in textbooks: Pushing for policy reforms that promote gender equity in education. Paper commissioned for the EFA Global Monitoring Report 2015, Education for All 2000 - 2015: achievements and challenges. Paris: UNESCO. | Cavadas, B., & Guimarães, F. (2010). As ilustrações dos manuais de botânica de Seomara da Costa Primo. In José B. Duarte (Org.), Manuais escolares e dinâmica da aprendizagem: podem os manuais contribuir para a transformação da escola? (pp. 117-142). Lisboa: Edições Universitárias Lusófonas. Elgar, A. (2004). Science textbooks for lower secondary schools in Brunei: issues of gender equity. Int. J. Sci. Educ., 26(7), 875-894. | Martinez-Bello, & Molina-García, J. (2016). Representation of physical activity domains and sedentary behaviours in physical education textbooks: an image analysis. South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation, 38(2), 139-152. | McNamara, P. M., & Simovska, V. (2015). Schools for health and sustainability: Insights from the past, present and for the future. In V. Simovska & P. M. McNamara (Eds.), Schools for health and sustainability – Theory, research and practice (pp. 3–17). Dordrecht: Springer. | Menescardi Royuela, C., Estevan Torres, I., Ros, Ros, C., Moya-Mota, I. (2017). Bodily stereotypes in English textbooks’ images. Educatio Siglo XXI, 35(1), 55-76. | Morgado, J. C. (2004). Manuais escolares. Contributos para uma análise. Porto, Porto Editora. Rego, B., Gomes, C., & Balula, J. (2010). A avaliação e certificação de manuais escolares em Portugal: um contributo para a excelência. Évora: Universidade de Évora. Revista de Educação, Vol. XVIII, nº 1, 2011, pp. 83 - 111 Moser, Franziska, & Hannover, B. (2014). How gender fair are German schoolbooks in the twenty-first century? An analysis of language and illustrations in schoolbooks for mathematics and German. Eur J Psychol Educ, 29, 387-407. | Parker, Rhiannon; Larkin, Theresa; & Cockburn, Jon (2017). A visual analysis of gender bias in contemporary anatomy textbooks. Social Science & Medicine, 180, 106e113. | Sovič, A., & Husa, V. (2015). Gender Stereotype Analysis of The Textbooks for Young Learners Procedia. Social and Behavioral Sciences, 186, 495 – 501.
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