Testing the E4E Methodology

To experiment the E4E Methodology, we carried out activities about training with teachers, following the basic consideration and sensitization on gender sensitive pedagogic (Gender Culture Model, O3 and O4 manuscript), testing and presenting the O3 and O4 exercises (Awareness and sensitisation on the impact of gender on children’s possibilities to develop potentials, on unconscious gender specific education and basics of gender and diversity sensitive education), reflection on how to practice and test the O3 and O4 exercises with children, teachers feed back on the exercises.

We used the following tools: Gender Culture Model input; biographic exercise on own gendered socialisation ; picuture – examples of gender marketing ; Checklist for gender sensitive book shelf ; examples of gender sensitive and non gender sensitive childrens books ; O3 ad O4 exercises for teachers and children – respective materials

The teachers found the self-reflective parts of the training extremely helpful: consciousness, clear awareness, attitude and sensitivity are foremost qualities to implement a gender and diversity sensitive approach in education. It became clear that not the gender of the pedagogue qualifies gender sensitive education but the subject-matter knowledge. The biographic exercise on the own socialisation made clearer how socialisation in certain environments, families, epochs coins the individual gendered experience, the own unconscious theories on gender and gender relations. The interaction of historical and societal circumstances, family habits, the own preferences, needs and wishes and their encouragement or disappointment shapes our gender experience.
In the training the question if men and women react differently to children has been treated intensely: Male pedagogues tend to react differently to childrens impulses and comportments than female pedagogues because of their different gender specific socialisation. This has to be reflected. A gender crossing concept has to be worked out and implemented. Male pedagogues are important to show children that male and female people are divers, do all kind of things, have all kind of potentials and competencies.
Their feedback referred to:
• Inclusion works better in the Kindergarten than in school. Therefore it is crucial to work with this approach already in the Kindergarten.
• Working with the parents is important: support parents to encourage their boys to wear princess dresses and have doll buggys and their girls to play football and be loud and wild if they want to.
• The awareness what the colours pink and blue transport gendered identity constructions and even force those meanings on children is important. Children should wear the colours they like but as soon as they are in the Kindergarten they have already be massively influenced by colour-gender separation. Ways have to be found to use “neutral” colours.
• In the Kindergarten some boys like to try high heels, wear dresses. This has to be treated as a normal habit.
• It is necessary for the teachers to control the own automatic reactions to girls and boys. E.g. to say “süüüß” with a very high voice if girls are trimmed very girly and to state “cool” if boys wear shirts with super hero and naughty boys images in a very deep voice. To change such reactions constant awareness and training is necessary. Or if something has to be carried not to say: “I need some strong boys to help me.” But: “I need some strong children.”

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