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Entrenched Social Constructs in the Primary School English Classroom

Authors
  • Pavlovski, Lev
Publication Date
Sep 23, 2021
Source
University of Ljubljana
Keywords
Language
English
License
Green
External links

Abstract

This master’s thesis explores the entrenched social constructs in the primary school English classroom through the textual and visual analysis of Touchtone 9, a Slovenian-produced EFL-textbook. Findings of similar research in the field of education indicate a strong persistence of gender stereotyping present also in most textbooks still used today, where ideas of female inferiority and the patriarchal structure of society are perpetuated. Employing quantitative and qualitative research methods, the thesis explores the presence and distribution of gender (as well as the connected stereotypes) and focuses on possibilities of dealing with such instances in textbooks. In the literature review, the ubiquitous examples of sexism and other gender-related stereotypes are presented and, in the analysis, juxtaposed to the social constructs found in the textbook. In the quantitative analysis, where the number of gender-marked occurrences in the textbook are compared, the research findings indicate a substantial gender disparity in the overall number of visually gendered characters and textually expressed instances of grammatical gender, with the male attributions representing the majority of all gendered instances used in the textbook. The findings of the qualitative analysis indicate that the deeply ingrained and widespread sexist ideology is also visibly present in the characters’ general appearance, behaviour and settings in which they are situated. The research results therefore lead to the conclusion that, as is the case with most textbooks used today, the aspect of gender stereotyping is present in the textbook Touchtone 9. Since the presence of deeply ingrained social constructs cannot be ignored in the process of social, cognitive, and emotional development of its users, the thesis proposes quick possible solutions tackling gender inequality and stereotyping in textbooks to mitigate their negative effects and comply with the basic principles and rules governing primary school education in Slovenia.

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