Equity in the Classroom: Towards Effective Pedagogy for Girls and Boys

Equity in the Classroom: Towards Effective Pedagogy for Girls and Boys

Equity in the Classroom: Towards Effective Pedagogy for Girls and Boys

Equity in the Classroom: Towards Effective Pedagogy for Girls and Boys


Concerned with pedagogy and the learning achievement of both girls and boys, this book examines international trends in subject performance throughout schooling and looks critically at a range of interventions in difference contexts and countries, all aimed at enhancing equity in schools and higher education institutions.; The book argues that pedagogy can not be isolated from the overarching gender-education system. What can be done, it claims, is that teachers can be provided with a range of pedagogic strategies which can be used to make education, as it is experienced by students and reflected in their achievements, more just.


Caroline Gipps

In January 1995, we organized, on behalf of UNESCO, a colloquium at the Institute of Education on the theme 'Is there a pedagogy for girls?'. The outcome of the colloquium was to contribute to the World Education Report on the education of women and girls. The driving force for UNESCO was, within a global frame, a shift from access issues in education for girls, towards a focus on what happens to girls within the classroom. Their concern was girls' performance, and whether traditional approaches to learning and pedagogy favoured boys in some way.

We set up a small, invited, colloquium rather than a large conference so that we could generate discussion of the issues and move the debate forward. Eighteen educationists from England, Africa, Finland, Denmark, America and Australia wrote papers and attended the three-day session in which we discussed issues around pedagogy, girls, boys and teaching. The papers focused on: framing the debate about the education of girls; developments in learning theory; research reviews of girls' performance in various subject areas; and intervention projects focusing on girls' performance. Contributors came from a range of backgrounds: philosophers, feminist educators, assessment specialists, cognitive scientists, specialists in language, mathematics and science education. This ensured a wide-ranging and lively debate across traditional boundaries. One of the first tasks was to agree on a definition of pedagogy which, as Chapter 1 shows, is a complex and contested term.

This book represents the outcome of the colloquium: the colloquium papers form the bulk of the chapters, but we have written introductory and concluding chapters to complete the book. Our aim is that by drawing on learning theory, research and interventions from a range of countries, we can move forward the debate on how best to approach the teaching of girls. But we came to see that to try to separate out pedagogy for girls from that for boys would be to misconstrue the issue: unless we understand and deconstruct the dynamics of gender in schooling we cannot develop effective pedagogy for either gender. Including boys in the frame is particularly appropriate since in the UK, at least, there is considerable concern about the overall poorer performance of boys through the period of compulsory schooling.

But first we have to recognize the limitations of this book in terms of the countries and backgrounds from which our contributors come: we are virtually all from advantaged, developed, first-world nations: America, Australia, the UK, Northern Europe, with one voice from Africa. This limitation is, undoubtedly, unfortunate; the outcome is that what we write will be from our particular background and

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