07 SES 07 A, Gender Awareness
Recently Iceland was rated number one in gender equality by the World Economic Forum (2012) for the fourth consecutive year. Ironically at the same time there seems to be a backlash among young people in Iceland who lately are becoming more and more traditional in their gender attitudes (Hjalmsdottir, 2009). Formally the status of gender equality has recently been strengtened in Iceland. Equality issues are since 2008 a new subject in primary schools, and since 2011 equality is one of six pillars of education in the national curriculum for all school levels.
In view of these developments and recent research from elsewhere, including Finland (Lahelma, 2011), and England (Skelton, 2007; Younger and Warrington, 2008) an attempt is being made to investigate the main practises and resistances towards gender equality in teacher education in Iceland. Available Icelandic research has been scarce but recent studies suggest that education on gender and equality issues in teacher training is poor, met with resistance and a gap is between scientific research on gender issues and what is taught in teacher training and other university departments (Gudbjornsdottir and Larusdottir, 2012; Leiknisdottir, 2012;Sigurjonsdottir, 2011; Weaver-Hightower 2003).
There seem to be many reasons for a lack of focus on gender issues in teacher education and schools, according to international research: Curriculum overload; gender issues are sensitive and politicized, and it is not acknowledged that this is about scientific knowledge on gender issues. Theories on masculinity and femininity are considered complicated and contradict traditional essentialist views on gender differences. This seems to be the case as well among Icelandic teacher educators as we found out last year (Gudbjornsdottir and Larusdottir, 2012) as well as in Finland (Lahelma, 2011).
The first step of this study, presented at ECER last year, focused on teacher educators and now our attention is on student teachers. Younger (2007) and Younger and Warrington (2008) have recently surveyed the attitudes of student teachers in English primary and secondary schools, and the latter found that there is a need to “re-activate debate about gender identity and inclusivity within initial teacher education and training in the UK, and to reconnect research within the academic community and teaching on such courses” (p.429). The present research is ongoing, but the results will be ready by summer of 2013.
The research questions as stated now are as follows:
- How important do student teachers find concepts like equality, gender, stereotypes, the gender system, sexualities and homophobia for the teaching profession? Why do they or do they not consider these concepts important?
- To what extent does the understanding of student teachers of equality issues in the national curriculum include other important difference or inclusion dimensions like multiculturalism, citizenship, class and (dis)/ability.
- How can the attitudes of student teachers to gender and gender differences be interpreted theoretically in terms of essentialist approaches or social constructivist theories?
- Is there a gap between the views of student teachers and the aims of the law and the discourse in academic gender studies, how does it manifest itself and how can it be bridged?
Arreman, I. and Weiner, G. (2007). Gender, research and change in teacher education: a Swedish dimension. Gender and Education, 19(3), 317-337. Gudny Gudbjornsdottir. (2009b). Minnisblað um jafnréttisfræðslu í skólastarfi, til forseta Menntavísindasviðs (Status report on gender and teacher education in Iceland) http://vefir.hi.is/kennaramenntun/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/GG-jafnrétti-og-kennarmenntun1.pdf Gudny Guðbjornsdottir og Steinunn Helga Larusdottir.(2012). „Þotulið“ og „setulið“: Kynjajafnrétti og kennaramenntun. Netla – Veftímarit um uppeldi og menntun. Menntavísindasvið Háskóla Íslands. Reviewed article published Desember 31. Retrieved from http://netla.hi.is/menntakvika2012/006.pdf. Hjalmsdottir, A. (2009). “Reality Bites” Attitudes Toward Gender Equality Among Icelandic Youth. MA thesis: The University of British Columbia. Retrived on January 28. From https://circle.ubc.ca/bitstream/id/32087/ubc_2009_fall_hjalmsdottir_andrea.pdf Kitzinger, J. (1995). Qualitative Research: Introducing focus groups: A guide for medical professionals. in Bmj Clinical Research Ed. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2550365/pdf/bmj00603-0031.pdf Lahelma, E.(2011). Gender Awareness in Finnish Teacher Education: an Impossible Mission? Education Inquiry, 2(2), 263–276. Leiknisdottir, A. M. (2012). Staða og þróun jafnréttismála við Háskóla Íslands 2008-2011(The status of Equality, University of Iceland). Reykjavík: Félagsvísindastofnun. Sigurjonsdottir, Th. Ó. (2011). Kyngervi raunvísinda: Námsval og aðstæður kvenna í ákveðnum greinum á Verkfræði- og náttúruvísindasviði Háskóla Íslands. Reykjavík: MA thesis, School of Social Sciences, University of Iceland. Skelton, C. (2007). Gender, policy and initial teacher education. Gender and Education, 19(6), 677-690. Weaver-Hightower, M.B.(2003). The "Boy Turn" in Research on Gender and Education. Review of Educational Research, 73(4), 471-498. World Economic Forum.(2012).The Global Gender Gap Report 2012. Retrieved January 21, 2013 from http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GenderGap_Report_2012.pdf Younger, M. (2007). The gender agenda in secondary ITET in England: forgotten, misconceived or what? Gender and Education, 19(3), 387-414. Younger, M. and Warrington, M. (2008). The gender agenda in primary teacher education in England: fifteen lost years. Journal of Education Policy, 23(4), 429-445.
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.