"Why are we kicking up and they are not?" Teacher education students' constructions of femininity and masculinity

Year: 1994

Author: Allard, Andrea, Cooper, Maxine, Hurworth, Rosalind

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper reports on a longitudinal study (currently in its third year) which is providing important information regarding teacher education students' beliefs and understandings concerning gender. Ways in which these constructions of gender inform the students' curriculum experiences and teaching performance in primary schools are a major focus of the study, as is staff professional development in relation to gender issues.

This Australian Research Council funded study has produced a large body of data including: annual questionnaire results, transcripts of student interviews, work samples, journal entries, and researchers' observation notes. While all students in the study completed the annual questionnaire, interviews were carried out with approximately 20 students who volunteered each year.

Additionally, individual interviews with all staff teaching in core subjects each year were completed to ascertain their background and understandings of gender issues, how they implement gender issues through the teacher education program, and in what ways they think the BEd (Primary) course can be improved in considering gender issues.

Findings from the data are being interpreted using concepts from feminist poststructural theory as a means to understand the various positions of students and staff. In this paper, we explore how particular students construct their own understandings of "appropriate" masculinity and femininity. We consider the implications such constructions have on and for feminist educators working for curriculum change.