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What influences children's ideas and concepts of gender cons

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laura fernie

on 9 October 2013

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Transcript of What influences children's ideas and concepts of gender cons

What is Gender as a Social Construction?
Just as racism is constructed, gender is also constructed. Children are not born with bias. Children learn to be bias and much of this learning occurs in the early years. Children learn to be bias by observing existing behaviours and experiencing the effects of attitudes towards various groups in society.
- What are the contributing factors in this process?
Parents & Families (Home/School Environment)
Educators, Carers & Learning Environment
Educators, Carers & the Learning Environment
Gender and teacher pedagogy-
- conscious or unconscious practices

Common in modern Australian society:
"Heteronormative pedagogies"
Gender Roles in Disney Films
Parents & Families (Home/School Environment)
Children's Responses to Gender Stereotypical Roles
Gender bias practices within Education and Learning

Teachers' gender bias in the classroom is evident in differences of;
- Achievement - Expectations - Behaviour tolerance

Children repeat gender socialisation as evident through;
- Various acceptable socialisation behaviours
- Competition for space in the classroom

Learning environments also facilitate gender bias through;
- Gendered resources (limiting or encouraging)
- Gender generalisations assigned to activities and spaces within the environment
What Influences Children's Ideas and Concepts of Gender Construction and Stereotypes?
"Children's prejudices are just a reflection or a mimicking of what they directly pick up from adult's behaviour" ( Robinson & Diaz, 2006, p. 5).
- Discourses that influence gender through teacher pedagogy are socially constructed 'norms'.

- Teachers' understanding of children's behaviour will be limited by, or expanded by, the understandings to which they have access or are exposed upon.
Although the mass media can be informative and entertaining it is a persuasive tool used to create and influence individuals’ particularly young children’s opinions, attitudes and beliefs.
However, there is hope to change this current situation, with the solution being to teach children critical viewing skills which will generate awareness of gender construction and stereotypes creating more informed viewers as opposed to manipulated consumers.
Gender stereotypes are manifested within all aspects of the media from; advertising to television programs, magazines, catalogues, music, films and video games including children’s toys, which are segregated into pink and blue or female and male aisles within retail stores as well as through their catalogues.
Relationships Systems
The child is in the centre
Learn gender appropriate activities- culture (P)
Learn gender appropriate behaviours- culture Could assist place a child in the gender order ( Connell, 2002) (P)
Observing and mimicking adult behaviours - construct oneself as ferminine or masculine
Bronfenbrenner's Ecological
Systems Theory

Not accepted in the group
Subject to verbal abuse and discrimination and can sometimes be targets of violence.
Stereotypes- apply whatever learned at home in school
The term 'childhood' itself is generally recognised as a socially constructed phenomenon.

Stereotypes of children have existed for many years in society.
Dominant images of the child in history- the innocent child, the evil child & the miniature adult.
Gender understanding/stereotyping relates closely to the society in which we live.
When children express themselves in 'different' ways, it is considered outside the gender 'norms'.
Teachers effectively implement the Early Childhood curriculum according to Early years learning famework (ELYF)- reflects inclusive practice.
Create and suppport inclusive education/classroom
ie. Teacher respect for children, familes and the context within which they exist. Inclusive education and social justice
Anti-bias curriculum: an activists approach -r espect for diversity,
A curriculum that challenges bias and promotes diversity by constructing an environment for young children which reflects diversity, provides activities, provides the opportunities, challenges negative attitudes and beaviours, encourages children to challenge bias themselves
Promotes learning by taking into account
Apply the 'same but different' classroom approach ( Grace, 2008)
Teach children to value diversity ( includes gender) - valuing people as unique individuals
Solutions to Address this Issue

Aina, O., & Cameron, P. (2011). Why Does Gender Matter? Counteracting Stereotypes With Young Children. Dimensions of Early Childhood, 39(3), 11-19.

Aksu, B. (2005). Barbie Against Superman: Gender Stereotypes and Gender Equity in the Classroom. Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies, 1(1), 12-21.

Brannon, L. (2005). Gender: Psychological Perspectives. London: Allyn and Bacon.

Brasted, M. (2010). Care Bears vs. Transformers: Gender Stereotypes in Advertisements. Retrieved August 25, 2013, from http://www.sociology.org/classroom-controversy/care-bears-vs-transformers-gender-stereotypes-in-advertisements

Grace, D. J. (2008). Interpreting Children's Constructions Of Their Ethnicity. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 9(2), 131.

Montgomery, H. (2006). Different cultures, Different Childhoods. Centre of Childhood, Development and Learning, The Open University.

SBS Insight. (2013). http://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/46522435539/Insight-Transgender

Australia, D. o. E. E., & Workplace Relations, C. o. A. G. (2009). Belonging, being & becoming : the early years learning framework for Australia. Canberra, A.C.T.: Dept. of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations for the Council of Australian Governments.

The movements and theories that are implemented create power for some children and families while marginalising others. This gap needs to be addressed.
Provide the foundations for creating a learning environment of equal opportunity for each individual child.
An exposure to gender neutral environments is necessary to create gender equity within classroom environments.
Love Dancing
Split -Boys/Girls
Boy uniform- Change to girl uniform
Watching more Dora than the wiggles
Recognised her gender at the age of 3 or 4
Name change
Girly Stuff - pink, fairies
Issues- toilet b( girls toilet)
Girlie activties
Dress up box
Pink Section/ Glitter
Fairy lego and toys
Fairy wings on the action man
Nappy- girls underpants
- flowers on them
- underpants like you
( mum)
SBS Insight
Questioning stereotypes.
Children's perception of difference
"Children do not enter xcildhood programs as empty slates but rather bring with them a myriad of perceptions of difference that they have taken up from their families , peers, the media and other social sources and negotiated in the representation of their own identities." ( Robinson & Diaz
Stimulation Questions
1. Do you think same sex classrooms encourage/discourage gender as seperate from sexuality?

2. Sweden has a gender free preschool; do you believe this will help to combat gender bias in children?

3. Which of the issues discussed today (Media, Parents & Families & the Home/School Environment, Educators, Carers & the Learning Environment or Society), do you believe has the most signifcant impact on children?
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