All in our places: feminist challenges in elementary school by Carla Washburne Rensenbrink

By Carla Washburne Rensenbrink

Via its wealthy and soaking up case reports, this ebook portrays 3 trouble-free school rooms from a feminist viewpoint. those study rooms exhibit to readers the complexity of matters that lecturers face over the demanding situations of gender and id concerns. lifestyles tales of the 3 lecturers, who're all feminists, improve the research and current different views. One instructor is white, one is African American, and one is a lesbian who has pop out to her scholars and associates. in several methods the 3 academics face the demanding situations of training, developing ideas, constructing relationships, and dealing to rework the curriculum. Their study rooms supply a context for the rethinking of latest matters, complicated academic difficulties, and promising principles for educating perform. either skilled lecturers and pupil academics will locate those reports assets for mirrored image and idea.

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Rosemary, for instance, involved her fifth graders in discussing the issues of the day and tried to empower them to speak up for themselves and work for social change—even if it was only protesting to the principal that the sub had treated the girls in the class unfairly. Questions about Gender Roles and the Power of Discourse in Education Schools have traditionally used gender as a means of social control. Gender is kept in the forefront by the litany of “boys and girls” or more rarely ‘‘girls and boys,” by girls' and boys' lines, girls' and boys' classes, gender divisions on the playground, and the way preferences bifurcate, so that what girls like, boys will scorn, and vice versa.

Lortie, for example in his 1975 book, Schoolteacher: A Sociological Study, described teachers as typically conservative, individualistic, and presentist in their orientation (212). Casey focused on the place of political action in the lives and work of progressive teachers whose commitment to teaching extended beyond their classrooms. Feminism is a significant sub-text in the stories of these activist teachers. The teachers in my study also refute Lortie's findings. Rosemary, for instance, involved her fifth graders in discussing the issues of the day and tried to empower them to speak up for themselves and work for social change—even if it was only protesting to the principal that the sub had treated the girls in the class unfairly.

Take, for example, the question of the teacher distributing her energy and attention equally among boys and girls. In the three classrooms I observed the teachers were highly conscious of this issue. But it is not so easy to correct. “Simple” equality runs so much against the grain of our cultural expectations (children's as well as teachers') and of our established patterns of behavior that boys in these classes still got more than their share of teacher time. The most equal example I witnessed, in fact, was in Marcia's first grade class when the children were in charge of show-and-tell.

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Categories: Feminist Theory