UNIVERSITY OF JYVÄSKYLÄ. MINNA, THE MODEL AND OTHER STORIES: Gender roles in an English textbook series for Finnish lower secondary schools - PDF

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UNIVERSITY OF JYVÄSKYLÄ MINNA, THE MODEL AND OTHER STORIES: Gender roles in an English textbook series for Finnish lower secondary schools A Pro Gradu Thesis in English by Anna-Reeta Piironen Department

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UNIVERSITY OF JYVÄSKYLÄ MINNA, THE MODEL AND OTHER STORIES: Gender roles in an English textbook series for Finnish lower secondary schools A Pro Gradu Thesis in English by Anna-Reeta Piironen Department of Languages 2004 2 JYVÄSKYLÄN YLIOPISTO Tiedekunta HUMANISTINEN Laitos KIELTEN LAITOS Tekijä Anna-Reeta Piironen Työn nimi MINNA, THE MODEL AND OTHER STORIES: Gender roles in an English textbook series for Finnish lower secondary schools Oppiaine Englannin kieli Työn laji Pro Gradu tutkielma Aika Elokuu 2004 Sivumäärä 90 sivua + 8 liitettä Tiivistelmä Abstract Oppikirja on tärkein opetusväline suomalaisissa kouluissa. Silti useat tutkimukset ovat osoittaneet, että oppikirjat sisältävät paljon sukupuolistereotypioita ja vahvistavat siis perinteistä roolijakaumaa sukupuolten välillä. Tämän tutkielman tarkoitus on selvittää, millaisia sukupuolirooleja englannin kielen oppikirjat suoraan tai piiloisesti edistävät. Tarkastelun kohteena ovat kaksi yläasteen oppikirjaa, jotka muodostavat kokonaisuuden: The News Headlines Courses 1-4 (WSOY 1995) ja Courses 5-8 (WSOY 1996). Tutkielmassa analysoidaan oppikirjojen tekstit, ääninauhat ja kuvat, sekä vastataan kysymyksiin: 1) Ovatko sukupuolet tasapuolisesti esillä oppikirjojen teksteissä, otsikoissa ja kuvissa? 2) Esittävätkö oppikirjat molempien sukupuolten edustajia tasapuolisesti erilaisissa rooleissa, etenkin ammatti- ja perherooleissa? ja 3) Tukevatko oppikirjat yleisesti sukupuolten tasa-arvoa vai vahvistavatko ne sukupuolistereotypioita piilo-opetussuunnitelman kautta? Aineistoa luokiteltiin kontekstisen sisällön analyysin avulla. Määrällisessä osiossa selvitettiin, kuinka monta mies- ja naishahmoa oppikirjoissa esiintyy, kuinka moneen heistä viitataan erisnimellä ja kuinka paljon ja millaisia ammatti- ja perherooleja he edustavat. Lisäksi tarkasteltiin kielen mahdollista seksismiä selvittämällä, kuinka moni ilmaus ja kappaleen tai artikkelin otsikko viittasi kuhunkin sukupuoleen. Laadullisessa osiossa keskityttiin yksityiskohtaisemmin sukupuolten erilaisiin rooleihin. Sukupuolet eivät olleet tasapuolisesti esillä oppikirjoissa. Kaikista hahmoista 71 prosenttia edusti miessukupuolta, ja sukupuoleen viittaavista ilmauksista noin 70 prosenttia viittasi miehiin, samoin yli neljä viidesosaa henkilöön viittaavista otsikoista. Noin yhdeksässä kymmenestä henkilöä tai henkilöitä esittävästä kuvasta esiintyi mies, kun vain reilusti alle puolessa esiintyi nainen. Naiset olivat aliedustettuina ammattirooleissa, sillä vain viidesosalla naishahmoista oli ammatti verrattuna 41 prosenttiin miehistä. Miehet puolestaan olivat aliedustettuina perherooleissa, sillä vain 15 prosenttia miehistä esitettiin näissä rooleissa verrattuna 31 prosenttiin naisista. Laadullisen analyysin tulokset tukivat näitä havaintoja ja osoittivat lisäksi, että urheilu, sankaruus, historia, tiede ja teknologia yhdistettiin miehiin huomattavasti useammin kuin naisiin. Oppikirjat vahvistivat muitakin sukupuolistereotypioita. Esimerkiksi naiset kuvattiin usein hoiva-ammateissa, miehet vastuuta tai vaaroja sisältävissä töissä. Oppikirjat vahvistivat siis monella tavoin stereotyyppisiä rooleja ja asenteita piilo-opetussuunnitelman tavoin. Opettajien tulisi olla tietoisia siitä, että oppikirjat saattavat edistää opetussuunnitelman periaatteiden ja tavoitteiden vastaisia sukupuolirooleja. Koska opettajat ovat tärkeässä asemassa nuorten sosialisaatioprosessissa ja välittävät oppikirjojen informaation oppilaille, heillä on mahdollisuus vähentää sukupuolistereotypioiden merkitystä tekemällä piilo-opetussuunnitelmasta näkyvää esimerkiksi asettamalla stereotypiat kriittisen keskustelun kohteeksi. Opettajat saattavat kuitenkin tarvita lisäkoulutusta oppikirjojen seksismin tunnistamiseksi ja osatakseen käsitellä asiaa luokkahuoneessa. Asiasanat: textbook. gender roles. sexism. stereotype. hidden curriculum. content analysis. Säilytyspaikka: Kielten laitos Muita tietoja 3 CONTENTS 1 INTRODUCTION TEXTBOOKS AS THE OBJECT OF STUDY Types of textbook research Textbooks as a teaching medium GENDER ROLES Sex and gender The development of gender roles and gender identity Gender roles in contemporary Finnish society THE CENTRAL CONCEPTS OF THE TEXTBOOK ANALYSIS Stereotype Sexism The hidden curriculum AN OVERVIEW OF THE RESEARCH ON TEXTBOOKS AND GENDER ROLES Pupils conceptions of gender roles Gender roles in school textbooks The effects of sexist stereotypes in textbooks THE METHODOLOGY AND THE RESEARCH MATERIAL The research questions The contextual content analysis The News Headlines Courses GENDER ROLES IN THE NEWS HEADLINES COURSES 1-8: QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS Characters in the texts and on the tapes Words designating males and females Roles of the characters in the texts and on the tapes Males and females in the illustrations GENDER ROLES IN THE NEWS HEADLINES COURSES 1-8: QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS Sexism inherent in the language Occupational roles of males and females Family roles of males and females... 70 4 8.4 Sporting roles of males and females Heroic roles of males and females History, science, and technology CONCLUSIONS THE BIBLIOGRAPHY Appendix A. DISTRIBUTION OF DIFFERENT CHARACTERS ACCORDING TO GENDER IN THE NEWS COURSES 1-4 AND Appendix B. DISTRIBUTION OF CHARACTERS WITH NAMES AND WITHOUT NAMES ACCORDING TO GENDER IN THE NEWS COURSES 1-4 AND Appendix C. DISTRIBUTION OF WORDS DESIGNATING MALES AND FEMALES IN THE NEWS COURSES 1-4 AND Appendix D. COMMON NOUNS AND PRONOUNS DESIGNATING MALES AND FEMALES FROM THE MOST COMMON WORD TO THE LEAST COMMON Appendix E. PROPER NOUNS DESIGNATING MALES AND FEMALES FROM THE MOST COMMON WORD TO THE LEAST COMMON Appendix F. OCCUPATIONAL ROLES OF MALES AND FEMALES IN THE NEWS COURSES Appendix G. FAMILY ROLES OF MALES AND FEMALES IN THE NEWS COURSES Appendix H. OCCUPATIONAL ROLES OF MALES AND FEMALES IN THE ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE NEWS COURSES 5 1 INTRODUCTION Teachers and educational authorities often encourage parents to be a part of their children s education process and to find out the objectives of schooling from the national curriculum. The curriculum document is useful, as it contains the descriptions of the most important aims of each school subject and the general educational goals of comprehensive school. One important general goal mentioned in the Finnish national curriculum is supporting equality between the sexes (Framework Curriculum for the Comprehensive School 1994:15, 17, hereafter called Framework 1994 ; The Education System of Finland 2001:61). However, teachers easily forget the curriculum and all the fine principles as they enter the classroom with textbooks under their arm. Textbooks are not the same as the curriculum, but current teaching practice is heavily based on them (Kari 1988; Lahelma 1990b:53; Mikkilä-Erdmann et al. 1999:436). Most of the teachers use textbooks, as the material is easily available, and moreover, because the ready-for-use material lightens considerably teachers burden when they plan the lessons. Because of this influential position of the textbooks, it is important to pay attention to these materials that are used all over the country to educate the next generations and to find out what kind of values they promote on the side of grammar rules and multiplication tables. These values are a part of the manifestation of a socalled hidden curriculum, which entails many requirements pupils are expected to fulfil that are not mentioned in the official curriculum (Broady 1986:14-15, 33). For instance, according to the Finnish national curriculum, pupils are required to learn English, but through the hidden curriculum they may learn things that have nothing to do with English and that are different for girls and boys, for example, which occupations are suitable for each gender. Teachers themselves hardly have time to think about these values behind the explicit content of textbooks, as they dedicate most of their time to pedagogical issues and the informative side of the teaching material. This is also why it is important to study the textbooks, as it helps teachers to become aware of the hidden values in the material and thus they can discuss them openly with pupils. Gender roles in textbooks have been extensively studied during the past few decades. Especially during the 1990s, many studies were conducted in Finland. Examples are Palmu s study on the gender ideology in three Finnish primers (1992), 6 Lahelma s study on the ways in which genders are differentiated in the Finnish curriculum including textbooks (1992), and Lindroos s study on the ways in which gender is constructed in the classroom discourse (1997). Many Master s theses were also written on the issue, including Härkönen and Viitala s analysis of three series of English textbooks used in Finnish lower secondary schools (1995) and Hjorth s analysis of English textbooks used in upper secondary schools (1997). The conclusion of the studies on gender roles in textbooks is often the same: most of the textbooks contain sexist presentation of either or both genders. This conclusion is not perhaps surprising, but what is interesting is that the publishers and authors of textbooks continue making teaching materials that promote stereotypical gender roles, despite the studies that show how harmful sexist stereotyping can be to the developing self-image of children and teenagers (see Michel 1986). Textbook studies are often conducted for the people who make the textbooks so that they could use the knowledge and change the sexist patterns in them, but the writers and publishers do not seem to succeed in bringing about the necessary changes. As a consequence, the present study analyses one more textbook series to determine whether the values implicitly promoted in Finnish textbooks have changed for the better. As Michel claims in her book Down with stereotypes! (1986), new studies on the issue must be conducted at least as long as authors and publishers of textbooks keep promoting sexist values among children and teenagers. A starting point for the present study is a feminist view that socio-political life is prejudicial to women. According to Gatens (1991:1), one task of feminists is to show how the genders are treated differently in our society, and how the economic, political, and social arrangements maintain the prejudices against women (see also Delmar 1986:8). The present study has similar ends as these feminist theorists, but since the study is not based on any particular feminist theory, the different theories are not discussed in more detail. Another theoretical premise of the present study is social constructivism, which is a school of thought in sociology. According to constructivist view, people construct and reproduce social reality by interpreting and conceptualising it in cooperation with each other and wider society. Thus, the differentiation between masculine and feminine, for example, is not a biological fact, but an attempt to interpret and conceptualise reality, and this interpretation has become a generally accepted and institutionalised view in certain cultures. (eg. Berger and Luckmann 1966; Alasuutari 1989:93-104; Gatens 1991:4-8; Gilbert and 7 Taylor 1991:5-43.) This is precisely the view that the present study takes on gender roles. The present study concentrates on a textbook series for Finnish lower secondary schools that has been widely used all over the country. It has two parts: The News Headlines Courses 1-4 (WSOY 1995) and Courses 5-8 (WSOY 1996), hereafter called News 1 and News 2. The series consists of two textbooks, thirteen tape recordings, and four workbooks, but the workbooks are left outside the scope of the analysis because they mainly contain similar material as the texts and the tapes. I have chosen this particular series for the study because, as the most popular English language textbook series in Finland during the school year , it probably best reflects the type of material Finnish youngsters work with during their English lessons (Eero Lehtonen, personal communication, June 2004; http//:w3.wsoy.fi/oppi/index.jsp). Also the age group, thirteen to fifteen-year-olds, for whom this series is targeted, is probably more vulnerable to hidden values of the material than more experienced sixteen to eighteen-year-olds, who study in upper secondary school. Furthermore, as an aspiring English teacher, it is insightful to study these particular textbooks and the hidden curriculum before starting to teach the same material in some lower secondary school. The objective of the present study is to analyse the texts, the tapes, and the illustrations of the News series and to find out what kind of gender roles the textbooks explicitly or implicitly promote. The analysis concentrates on three aspects of gender roles: 1) whether the genders are equally present in the texts, headings, and illustrations; 2) whether the textbooks present both genders equally in different roles, especially in occupational roles and family roles; and 3) whether the textbooks in general promote gender equality or reinforce gender stereotypes through the hidden curriculum. In order to find out the answers to the research questions, the study makes use of both quantitative and qualitative methods. The first part of the analysis categorises the data quantitatively, and the second part describes and compares the data qualitatively. The quantitative analysis reveals, for instance, whether the textbooks introduce more male than female characters, or vice versa, whether either gender appears more often in the headings of chapters, and whether either gender has more many-sided occupational roles than the other has. The qualitative analysis in turn concentrates more carefully on the types of roles characters have in the 8 textbooks and on certain themes that seem relevant from the point of view of gender, including history, science, and technology. Before the actual analysis, however, it is necessary to become acquainted with the concept of the textbook and its characteristics, which is the topic of Chapter 2. Chapter 3 in turn discusses gender roles and their development, and Chapter 4 presents some central concepts relating to the textbook analysis. Chapter 5 gives an overview of the past studies concerned with school textbooks and gender roles, and Chapter 6 deals with the methodology and the data of the present study. Chapters 7 and 8 finally present the actual analysis of the textbook series and discuss the results of the study, and Chapter 9 presents the conclusions and discusses their implications. 2 TEXTBOOKS AS THE OBJECT OF STUDY This chapter introduces the concept of the textbook and discusses the characteristics of textbooks. The chapter contains two sections, the first of which presents the different types of textbook research. They include the studies that deal with 1) ideology in textbooks, 2) the use of textbooks, and 3) the development of textbooks. Section 2.2 in turn discusses the characteristics of textbooks as a teaching medium. 2.1 Types of textbook research Many scholars have found the concept of the textbook problematic. For instance, there has been discussion on whether the definition of textbook should include any book used in the classroom or only the books designed and written specifically for classroom use. (Johnsen 1993:24-26.) In the present study, the definition of the term is straightforward: a textbook is a book designed specifically for educational purposes and for a specific level of a particular school institution. For instance, the research material of the present study consists of two English language textbooks aimed at pupils in Finnish lower secondary schools. Textbooks have been objects of study for decades. Johnsen (1993:28) divides textbook studies into three main categories: 1) ideological research traditions, 2) 9 studies dealing with the use of textbooks, and 3) studies dealing with the development of textbooks. The present study belongs to the first category, which includes the studies that focus on the underlying assumptions and prejudices of textbooks. Typical studies belonging to this category investigate to what extent certain groups, for example women, have received attention in textbooks, and what kind of attention considering the language and the context. They also try to find out what is the ideology behind the selection of the material and what are the attitudes taken in the presentation, in other words, what is the hidden curriculum of the textbooks. These studies make use of a method called content analysis, which includes, for instance, counting the frequency of certain key words in a text. (Johnsen 1993:28-29, ) Chapter 6 of the present study discusses the method more thoroughly. Ideological textbook studies based on content analyses are the most common type of textbook research (Johnsen 1993:28-29). The second type of textbook research includes the studies that deal with the authority, accessibility, and effectiveness of textbooks, in other words, the issue of how teachers and pupils use the textbooks (Johnsen 1993:28-29). Authority studies investigate, for instance, to what extent textbooks control the teaching process and how much time the class spends on them. Accessibility studies in turn concentrate on the language and style of the textbooks and try to determine whether they are too heavy, difficult, or boring to a certain age group. Finally, effectiveness studies aim at finding out whether the material in a textbook is motivating, informative, and easy to remember, in other words, whether a particular textbook is a good educational tool. (Johnsen 1993: ) The third category of textbook research includes the studies that deal with the development of textbooks. The term development refers to the processes of conceptualisation, writing, editing, approval, marketing, selection, and distribution of textbooks. (Johnsen 1993:28-29.) Typical studies belonging to this category investigate the effect of authors, publishers, authorities, and curricula on the content of textbooks (Johnsen 1993: ). Thus, the analysis of gender roles in textbooks could have taken also this perspective, but since the content analysis seems to be an effective method of studying the ideology in textbooks, the present study uses that approach. Textbooks as a teaching medium Many studies concerning the ideology in textbooks take as a starting point the view that textbooks have a strong controlling position in the classroom, as Johnsen puts it (1993:176). In other words, textbooks are seen as the main teaching medium used in every classroom, and the ideological effect of textbooks on pupils is based on this conception. This is also the starting point of the present study. Although some scholars do not agree with this view, Johnsen (1993:145, , ) refers to a considerable body of research that indicates that textbooks do dominate in classrooms, especially in foreign languages, and they may have an important position outside the classroom as well. Also in Finnish schools, the textbook is considered as the most important teaching medium and as having a central position in the teaching process (Kari 1988; Lahelma 1990b:53; Mikkilä-Erdmann et al. 1999:436; see also Huttunen and Happonen 1974:27). Textbooks have been described as one of the most powerful ways of transmitting standards, values, and ideologies. The younger the children, the more powerful the effect of the textbooks on their worldview, as young children are not equipped to resist for example stereotypes that make them see the conventional characteristics and weaknesses of the opposite sex. (Michel 1986:20, 23.) According to Lahelma (1990b:53), pupils easily identify with the characters of textbooks and become thus influenced by them. Huttunen and Happonen (1974:25-26) compare the influence of textbooks to the effects of ma
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