Publication 3892

Gash H. (1991) Gender perceptions, a constructivist approach to stereotyping. Oideas 37: 57–74. Fulltext at
This paper is about a two year project to promote equality of opportunity for boys and girls in schools. It is made up of three interwoven elements: first, a description of the project; second, a constructivist analysis of gender perceptions in children; and third, an account of the ways in which ideas on how to do a project like this developed as we did it. The description of the project includes its origins, methods, and results. The acquisition of gender stereotypes is analysed from a constructivist viewpoint and the educational implications are considered. The aim of the project was to promote more adequate understandings of the ways in which men and women, girls and boys feel and act. The principal target was the children’s understandings, but the teacher’s own understandings were also of interest. Ideas about how to do a project like this developed during its course. Initially a set of teaching strategies was prescribed; in the second year the focus was more on the child and his or her identity while ensuring there was adequate time to discuss teaching strategies with the teachers. By the end of the project the ideas on tactics for teachers were refined during the project and materials in the form of stories and ideas for lessons were edited. A final comment I would have is that teachers who wish to be fully involved in this work will need to form self-organizing groups to support each other with plans, materials, and encouragement.

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