The Gender Question in Education: Theory, Pedagogy, and Politics

The Gender Question in Education: Theory, Pedagogy, and Politics

The Gender Question in Education: Theory, Pedagogy, and Politics

The Gender Question in Education: Theory, Pedagogy, and Politics

Synopsis

In this innovative book, four prominent philosophers of education introduce readers to the central debates about the role of gender in educational practice, policymaking, and theory. More a record of a continuing conversation than a statement of a fixed point of view, The Gender Question in Education enables students and practicing teachers to think through to their own conclusions and to add their own voices to the conversation. Throughout, the authors emphasize the value of a gender-sensitive perspective on educational issues and the relevance of an ethics of care for educational practice. Among the topics discussed are feminist pedagogy, gender freedom in public education, androgyny, sex education, multiculturalism, the inclusive curriculum, and the educational significance of an ethics of care. The multiauthor, dialogic structure of this book provides unusual breadth and cohesiveness as well as a forum for the exchange of ideas, making it both an ideal introduction to gender analysis in education and a model for more advanced students of gender issues.

Excerpt

We have designed this volume to be a clear, accessible introduction to gender questions in education. In one sense, this is a how-to book for anyone to use as a set of starting points and guidelines for sustained analysis of gender and education. In another sense, we envision the book as an open invitation to continue the conversation and to further advance investigations into the theory, pedagogy, and politics of gender in education.

Although the volume as a whole constitutes a series of inquiries into the gender question in education, the three parts mark a progressive differentiation in emphasis. Part 1 focuses on theory. Part 2 moves back and forth between theory and practical questions of pedagogy. And Part 3 applies theory to specific problems of practice and politics. Readers may, however, choose to jump about, or "read backwards" so to speak; those with urgent interests in pedagogy or politics may want to leap directly into Parts 2 and 3. For those who wish to read selectively, the next section of this introduction gives a preview for each part, with short chapter by chapter summaries. We do recommend, in any case, that you read this entire introduction first; it provides the contextual framework, and connecting links, for better understanding the individual chapters.

The central theme of the entire volume, both as text and subtext, is that of a gender-sensitive perspective on education. The concept of a gender-sensitive ideal for education was first suggested by Jane Roland Martin in a presidential address to the Philosophy of Education Society (Martin [1981b] 1994, pp. 70-87). Martin's gender-sensitive critique of the standard ideal of the educated person, which still dominated Anglo-American philosophy of education at that time, electrified, and in some instances horrified, her audience. When Martin made the case that this traditional ideal reflects a male cognitive perspective and does harm to both men and women, she catapulted the Society's members to a new level of public philosophical dialogue about gender and education.

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