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"It's funny that we don't see the similarities when that's what we're aiming for" - Visualizing and challenging teachers' stereotypes of gender and science.
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2010 (English)In: Research in science education, ISSN 0157-244X, E-ISSN 1573-1898Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study illuminates teachers’ conceptions of gender and science and possibilities to challenge these conceptions. Since 2005, a group of teachers (K-6) in Sweden have met approximately once a month in two-hour seminars to discuss and develop their instruction in science and technology based on a gender perspective. The present data consist mainly of audio-recordings of the teacher seminars and video-recordings of science activities with students. Analysis of the empirical data has been carried out in several stages and was inspired by thematic analysis, the theoretical framework of which is based on Hirdman’s and Beauvoir’s theories of gender. The results show that the teachers’ ideas about gender/equity and science exist on several levels, within which various conceptions are represented. On the one hand, “reasoning around similarity”, where teachers consider that both girls and boys should have the same prerequisites for working with science. In contrast, stereotypical conceptions of girls and boys occur when the teachers evaluate their activities with students, and condescending attitudes toward girls are also observed. The girls’ ways of working with science are not as highly valued as the boys’, and this outlook on children can ultimately have consequences for girls’ attitudes towards the subject. When teachers are allowed to read their own statements about the girls, they get “a glimpse of themselves”, and their condescending ideas about girls are made visible. In this way, the teachers can begin their active work towards change, which may lead to new outlooks on and attitudes towards students.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
SpringerLink , 2010.
Keyword [en]
awareness, gender, professional development, pre-school, science education, stimulated recall
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-67099DOI: 10.1007/s11165-010-9200-7OAI: diva2:407201
Available from: 2011-03-29 Created: 2011-03-29 Last updated: 2012-01-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Lärare för förändring: att synliggöra och utmana föreställningar om naturvetenskap och genus
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Lärare för förändring: att synliggöra och utmana föreställningar om naturvetenskap och genus
2011 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [sv]

Lärares genusmedvetenhet i relation till naturvetenskaplig verksamhet är fokus för denna avhandling, som belyses genom två studier: en longitudinell aktionsforskningsstudie som genomfördes tillsammans med en grupp förskollärare/lärare och en studie där verksamma förskollärare/lärare under en fortbildningskurs fick tillämpa en genusteori på en verklig klassrumshändelse.

Studierna visar att genusarbete är komplicerat eftersom det inbegriper många aspekter av livet och en viktig del av genusmedvetenheten är att förhålla sig till dessa olika aspekter. Det är av avgörande betydelse att utmana föreställningar om genus, där utmaningarna resulterar i att föreställningarna blir verbaliserade och därmed synliggjorda. Vidare visar studierna att genom att ta avstamp i feministisk vetenskapskritik och pedagogik kan ett alternativt sätt att förhålla sig till lärande och undervisning i naturvetenskap bli möjligt. För lärare som inte har en naturvetenskaplig bakgrund, men som ska genomföra aktiviteter eller undervisa i ämnena, blir de didaktiska och pedagogiska kompetenser de redan besitter en startpunkt för att utveckla sina ämnesdidaktiska förmågor. Kompetensutveckling med ett feministiskt anslag kan ge lärarna ”empowerment” som medför att de känner större delaktighet i den naturvetenskapliga praktiken och därmed kan bidra till att utveckla såväl dess kultur som kunskapsstoffet.

Avhandlingen ger också nya metodologiska kunskapsbidrag om aktionsforskning. Ett resultat är att tid är en viktig faktor som man måste ta hänsyn till beroende på vilken förändring man vill åstadkomma. Forskaren som deltar i aktionsforskningen som en ”outsider” har en viktig funktion genom att kunna överblicka processen samt uppmärksamma och använda sig av kritiska händelser för att driva förändringsarbetet framåt.

Abstract [en]

The main focus in this thesis is teachers’ gender awareness related to scientific practice. The thesis is based on two different empirical studies: a longitudinal action research study together with a group of teachers (K-6) and a study during an in-service development course where experienced teachers applied gender theory on a real classroom situation, a case.

The studies show that working with gender is complicated and comprises of many aspects of human life. An important part of gender awareness is to be able to relate to these aspects. A question of vital importance is to challenge conceptions of gender in such a way that the conceptions will be verbalized and thereby visualized. Moreover, the studies show that feminist pedagogy and theory of science can lead to a new approach to teaching and learning in science. For teachers without any background in science, there are other competences than just subject matter knowledge that are vital for teaching. Feminist perspectives in professional development reinforce teachers’ pedagogical competences and their pedagogical content knowledge and thereby make these teachers feel they participate in the scientific practice and contribute in developing both the stuff of knowledge and its culture.

The thesis also contributes to new methodological knowledge about action research. One of the results is that time is an important factor to take into consideration depending on what kind of change you want to receive. The researcher engaged in action research as an "outsider" has an important function in order to monitor the process and pay attention and use critical events to drive the change process forward.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2011. 80 p.
Studies in Science and Technology Education, ISSN 1652-5051 ; 36
Action research, feminist critique, gender, gender awareness, pre-school teachers, primary school teachers, science education, Aktionsforskning, feministisk kritik, förskollärare, genus, genusmedvetenhet, naturvetenskapernas didaktik, tidigarelärare
National Category
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-67102 (URN)978-91-7393-222-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-04-08, 99:132, Högskolan i Gävle, Gävle, 10:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2011-04-05 Created: 2011-03-29 Last updated: 2011-04-05Bibliographically approved

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Andersson, Kristina
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