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Title: Teachers' and Students' Responses to Gender Themes in Texts, A Case Study of Two Secondary Schools in Nakuru Municipality, Kenya
Authors: Lanya, Nganyi Anicetus Ben
Keywords: Gender Themes Texts
Issue Date: Oct-2001
Publisher: Egerton University
Abstract: This research is on reader response to gender related discourse found in school texts and speech. lt is imperative to note that most gender research in discourse has focused on texts and speech as independent entities. For this study, an integrated focus is placed on teachers‘ and students‘ responses to gender themes in literary discourse. Most studies on gender in discourse give the implication that gender disparities usually have an effect on learners‘ gender identities. However. this study indicates that it is impossible to predict the effects of such disparities. which are mostly found in texts, without having a more productive focus on how readers respond to them. Therefore, this study has majored on investigating whether teachers and leamers respond positively or negatively to gender themes in texts. The extent to which sex has an influence in the endorsement and/or subversion of gender in texts is also investigated. The study is guided by the following questions: Do teachers and students endorse or subvert gender themes that are found in texts‘? Is there any observable pattern in relation to the sex of the participants in class discourse on prescribed themes? Does such a pattem reflect a relationship of domination between the sexes‘? The study hypothesises that teachers and students either appreciate or ignore gender themes in texts. and that men play a powerful role in the responses that accrue from gendered discourse. The study is guided by the Endorsement and Subversion conceptual framework, which posits that readers can either ignore and subvert or appreciate and illuminate on discourses that they come across. The Linguistic Feminist Approach, which is part of the larger Feminist theory, supports this framework. The approach posits that women are subordinated in many discourse practices such as text production and subsequent text discussions. Discourse analysis of responses during exchanges between teachers and students on one hand and between students on the other hand is first instituted. Parallels of endorsement and subversion on the basis of positive and negative themes are noted. In addition. differential gender analysis of floor space that male and female leamers have is determined. Qualitative analysis based on descriptive statistics is deemed as an important tool in linking reader response to the text in relation to endorsement and subversion of gender discourse. A sample of four mixed sex classrooms, two male and female teachers in the Nakuru municipality of Kenya is involved in the investigation. The students and teachers are subjected to observation during classroom discussions of gender themes. Further, sixteen students and four teachers are given test questionnaires to respond to. Data collected by the researcher is then analyzed vis a vis the variables of endorsement, subversion and floor apportionment. This paves way for an lI1f01’I11C(l discussion of the findings in relation to the Endorsement and Subversion conceptual framework, and the Linguistic Feminist Approach. The research establishes that there is a clear negative trend in the responses, where gender discourse is responded to on sex lines. Men have an upper hand in negative gender advocacy, thus maintaining a patriarchal status quo, while female respondents are not assertive enough in challenging this scenario. These results are in consonance with many suggestions by scholars that there is need for research on reader response, because having gender sensitive publications is no guarantee that readers will follow suit. In relation to the findings of the research. proposals for teacher mediation of gender sensitive discourse and student response are given. Recommendations for pedagogic orientation of teachers, teacher educators, publishers and learners are given.
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

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