We've formed a national Gender and Citizenship Education Society in Sri Lanka": Pedagogics and the process of change in postgraduate studies with senior teacher educators

Year: 2001

Author: Foster, Victoria

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In 1999, a newly developed graduate course on "Gender and Citizenship" at an Australian regional university attracted a group of Australian and international students, mostly from what are usually described as marginalized positionings. This presentation reports on longitudinal research with ten of these students, eight male and two female Sri Lankan senior teacher educators. Innovative pedagogies were developed collaboratively and the students were asked to keep detailed journals of their experiences in the course, and to submit two evaluations. Their responses suggest new answers and meanings to Spivak's (1987) question, "Can the subaltern speak?" Follow-up research with the students in 2000 after their return to their colleges in Sri Lanka revealed profound change, both personal and professional. A further study is planned for 2002.

As Arnot and Dillabough (2000) note, the emerging field of citizenship education is seriously un(der)theorized, particularly in relation to the vast literature on feminist theory and citizenship. The research questions in the present study are: what is the nature of changes in the students' construction of their own identity in relation to gender and citizenship issues in the longer term, and what is the impact of these changes? This presentation explores the students' responses after nearly three years, and my own reflections on what occurred.