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Freeing education from masculine structures and processes to make way for feminist pedagogy for equitable education
Of late, the conferences on women empowerment, women development, women studies, gender equity, social equity, inclusive education, women's participation in STEM fields; have been finding advocates for feminist pedagogy to break the masculine structures of textbook organization and classroom processes by making a shift towards social pedagogy as well as incorporation of cooperative and collaborative classroom processes which are integral part of feminist pedagogy.

"Feminist pedagogy begins with the premise that gender and the social inequality it represents in the wider society are often reproduced in the classroom. Existing curricula and classroom practices contain sexist biases and patriarchal assumptions as reflected in the fact that the contributions of women are often absent from textbooks; girls and women are portrayed in stereotypic ways in much of the literature of all disciplines; girls and women are often directed to certain fields of study and are directed away from others; and teaching practices typically favor the learning styles of boys and men," says Professor Vicky M. Maclean. And, many studies have proved this for gender equity in education; the feminist pedagogy is suitable since it is equally good for both boys and girls.

"A feminist classroom will, however, focus attention on the interested, or political, nature of all interpretations. Students are never required to hold any particular view; students will be required to understand both their own views and views that they do not agree with. Feminist theory and pedagogy require students and faculty to understand and be responsible for the particular positions that they take up, defend, and espouse. That means realizing the political, social, and economic stakes in any idea, theory, or action." adds Professor Vicky M. Maclean.

Similarly, Linda Briskin and Rebecca Coulter maintain that feminism recognizes education both as a site for struggle and as a tool for change-making.  According to Kathleen Weiler," In terms of feminist pedagogy, the authority of the feminist teacher as intellectual and theorist finds expression in the goal of making students themselves theorists of their own lives by interrogating and analyzing their own experience."

The literature on feminist pedagogy suggests that there are certain principles to be followed to create a gender equitable classroom. These principles can be expressed more simply in the form of three prohibitions to teachers in their relations with students, namely, don't dominate;   don't humiliate; and        don't indoctrinate

In feminist pedagogy, it is the experience, instead of expertise that counts. The lived experiences become the source of knowledge. It the reflection on the learner's owns experiences that tends to produce an immediate sense of recognition and a bond between the learners and the teacher as a facilitator.

Thus, in feminist pedagogy learners are regarded as constructors of knowledge in supportive and cooperative learning environment. The masculine education relies more on competition, ranking and abstraction which are not good for girls.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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