Year: 1990

Author: McLeod, Julie

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In this paper I propose to address three particular dimensions of gender-inclusive projects. In the first section of the paper I raise a number of points in an introductory and fairly schematic manner, noting some of the general understandings informing inclusive curriculum projects, suggesting areas which are problematic and providing a context for the more specific discussions in the following sections. In the second section I document some of the changes of emphasis in understandings of gender difference and schooling and situate gender-inclusive curriculum projects in the context of earlier equal opportunity strategies. In the third section I raise a number of questions about the theoretical foundations of ideas about gender difference and femininity, and particularly feminine styles of learning, which inform the dominant inclusive-curriculum formulation, identifying in particular the influence of object-relations accounts and outlining some of the main critiques of this approach as an explanation of gender identity formation. Through reference to psychoanalytic and post-structuralist interpretations I propose an alternative way to conceptualize identity. Finally, I consider some of the implications for teachers' on-going professional education of the current orthodoxies about gendered ways of learning and, with reference to a few specific examples, argue that these professional development discourses are important sites in the production and not just the transmission of ideas about femininity and about what constitutes good learning.