Gender-ing ELT: International perspectives, practices, policies is an international project funded by the British Council which focuses on the socially relevant contribution that English language teaching (ELT) can make towards United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 5 worldwide.
In this project, gender goes far beyond a static understanding of identity to encompass descriptions of people, ideas, discourses and lived experiences. Informed by the notion of foregrounding, a hyphen has been deliberately included in the project title as a way of de-automatizing one’s reading and inviting one to pay attention to the concept of gender, which is central to the present project.
In ELT, gender has been extensively approached as a variable in research on topics such as attainment, language learning ability and evaluation. However, comparatively few studies have been conducted on intersectionality (i.e. a framework to understand how one’s social/political identities are combined in discriminatory practices). The latter type of research is needed to shed light on our understandings of the multiple intersecting barriers to gender equality and of the transformative gender practices required in ELT.
Through the participation of key school stakeholders (e.g. pupils and parents, teachers and leaders, pre-service schoolteachers and their educators), this project examines their perspectives and practices, raise their awareness of gender equality, and foster their reflection on ways forward from within their contexts. The project additionally researches current ELT policies at national and local levels on gender and gender equity to understand macro ELT contexts.
This innovative empirical project involves 10 different countries in receipt of official development assistance (ODA): Bangladesh, Botswana, Brazil, China, Colombia, Indonesia, Morocco, Philippines, Ukraine, and Vietnam. It gathers a truly international understanding of gender-ing ELT, thus pushing the boundaries of current academic research in this field. The focal countries have been carefully selected in order to capture a range of contexts in terms of geographical location, ODA level, English proficiency, gender gap and official languages.
More specifically, the present project aims to answer the following research questions.
What are the context-sensitive understandings of gender and gender equity held by key stakeholders in the field of English language teaching (ELT)?
What potential links do these key stakeholders perceive between gender equity and ELT practice?
To what extent do current ELT materials align with the goal of gender equality?
What are the (mis)representations of gender and gender equity in ELT policies, curricula and materials in the focal ODA countries?
To what extent do ELT teacher education programs enable pre-service schoolteachers to engage in transformative gender practices?
How do ELT pre-service schoolteachers conceptualize their classroom practice(s) and their profession contributing to the achievement of gender equality?
What best pedagogical practices are evident in schoolteachers’ integration of gender topics and the advocacy of gender equity in their locally designed context-relevant ELT materials?
Our ultimate goal is to contribute to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 5 through context-sensitive and socially engaged ELT practices. Although gender equality is a fundamental human right, significant challenges persist in all spheres, and we must all play a key role in the promotion of gender equity.
We’d love to hear back from you! Please do e-mail us if you want to ask a question, make a suggestion, volunteer to be involved in the project, share your inspiring story with us or the like. We’re very much interested in engaging with all relevant stakeholders – e.g. researchers, policy makers, NGO representatives, ELT leaders, teacher educators, teachers, and pupils.
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