Feminism and the Classroom Teacher: Research, Praxis, Pedagogy

Feminism and the Classroom Teacher: Research, Praxis, Pedagogy

Feminism and the Classroom Teacher: Research, Praxis, Pedagogy

Feminism and the Classroom Teacher: Research, Praxis, Pedagogy

Synopsis

Combining feminist theory and empirical material, drawing on feminist writing and their own research experience, the authors provide an interpretation of teachers and their teaching, based on extensive material comparing and contrasting experiences.

Excerpt

As anyone who has ever done it knows, confronting patriarchy or critiquing malestream knowledge is not easy: it involves risk and there are consequences. There is so little support for radically feminist work…[But] As for the idea that feminists should be ragpickers in the bins of male ideas, we are not as naked as that.

(Brodribb 1992:xxiii)

This book explores the consequences and risks of confronting patriarchy and critiquing malestream knowledge in the classroom. Our aim is to undertake an analysis of teachers and their work which takes account of feminist, postfeminist, post-structuralist and postmodern scholarship. Feminist scholarship and empirical work have been fundamental in shaping our understandings of education and teaching over recent decades. Indeed it could easily be argued that feminism, broadly conceived, has been responsible for shaping the theory and practice of teaching over the course of the twentieth century. The feminist educational project has informed research and helped to shape policy.

For the purposes of this book we are using a feminist perspective that draws mainly on liberal and radical feminism rather than Marxist or socialist feminism. More generally we draw on recent calls to post-structuralist feminism. We have focused on imbalances between males and females in teaching (a classic liberal feminist tactic) and critiqued the knowledge base of research on teaching (a classic radical feminist tactic). We also believe in a reality that gender and power are (re)constructed through discursive practices and are subject to shifts and changes. We draw on a definition of feminism articulated by Donna Haraway (1989:290).

Feminist theory and practice…seek to explain and change historical systems of sexual difference, whereby ‘men’ and ‘women’ are socially constituted and positioned in relations of hierarchy and antagonism.

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