Adlt 601 Class 12 Gender, Learning, And Feminist Theories


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Adlt 601 Class 12 Gender, Learning, And Feminist Theories

  1. 1. Gender and Adult Learning Social and Ethical Issues in Learning ADLT 601 – Class 12 November 5, 2009
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Comments from last week? </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on gender and adult learning: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why is gender an issue in learning? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Doing gender” – gender as socially constructed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Six categories of feminist theories </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gender and epistemology: the WWK project </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Theory to practice: using what we know about gender to influence learning in the classroom / training setting </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Why is gender an issue in education? <ul><li>Determines </li></ul><ul><ul><li>whose knowledge counts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>whose voice is heard </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>whose social science matters </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Alters practice in the classroom </li></ul><ul><li>Either challenges or reinforces the status quo in all social structures </li></ul>
  4. 4. “ Doing” gender <ul><li>Gender is not something men and women have (a sex characteristic), but exists in what they do </li></ul><ul><li>Gender is produced is all social interactions </li></ul><ul><li>Thus, there is no social context that escapes “gendering” </li></ul><ul><li>Treats gender as a social practice that is variable and ongoing </li></ul>
  5. 5. Story # 1 – What kind of feminist is Ellen Randall?
  6. 6. Liberal Feminist Theory <ul><li>Oppression results from attitudes, customs, legal restraints </li></ul><ul><li>Obstacles for women: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of access to good jobs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unequal and/or inequitable pay </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gender stereotypes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Remedies sought: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Even the playing field </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Remove discriminatory laws </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Education/training to remove stereotypes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stay within the system to make a fair society </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Liberal Feminist Examples <ul><li>Women-in-management literature </li></ul><ul><li>Sex as a discrete research variable </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of opportunities resulting from: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Glass ceiling, sexual harassment, lack of mentoring and networks; non-sex blind performance appraisals </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Solutions proposed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Equal access; analyses of gender effects of organizational rules and regulations, affirmative action, work-family life balance; assertiveness training </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Story # 2 – What kind of feminist is Ellen Randall?
  9. 9. Radical Feminist Theory <ul><li>Originated with 1960s women’s lib movement </li></ul><ul><li>Calls for transformation of legal, political, and social structures of patriarchy, including cultural institutions such as the family, church, academy, and even language </li></ul><ul><li>Envisions a new social order </li></ul><ul><li>Believes that women can regain a sense of wholeness and connectedness through cultural feminism: a counter-culture outside of patriarchy </li></ul>
  10. 10. Radical Feminist Thought <ul><li>“ Consciousness-raising” allowed women to explore their experiences in light of systematic male domination </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasis on positive values of qualities identified with women: sensitivity, emotional expressiveness, nurturance </li></ul><ul><li>Women’s ways of knowing are emotional, non-verbal, spiritual in contrast to patriarchal ways of knowing that rely on reason and logic </li></ul>
  11. 11. Radical Feminist Examples <ul><li>Workplace design features: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Participatory decision-making </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rotating leadership </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Flexible job designs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Distributing income equitably </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Valuing non-opportunistic relationships </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sharing power </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Committing to employee growth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promoting community and cooperation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recognizing ability or expertise rather than rank or position </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Story # 3 – What kind of feminist is Ellen Randall?
  13. 13. Psychoanalytic Feminist Theory <ul><li>Reinterprets psychoanalytic theory (particularly, object-relations theories) in terms of cultural influences that influence women’s gender identity </li></ul><ul><li>Women’s ways of knowing are different from men’s because of different psychosexual development </li></ul><ul><li>Gender structures a social system of male domination </li></ul>
  14. 14. Psychoanalytic Feminist Thought <ul><li>Belief that the rules, norms, ethos of business reflect the male developmental experience </li></ul><ul><li>Considers consequences of women’s different psychosexual development for roles in organizations and management </li></ul><ul><li>Recent research treats women’s differences not as a problem, but as advantages for corporate effectiveness </li></ul><ul><ul><li>WWK project </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Women as leaders </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Story # 4 – What kind of feminist is Ellen Randall?
  16. 16. Socialist Feminist Theories <ul><li>Emerged in 1970s as part of women’s lib movements to synthesize Marxist, radical (cultural), and psychoanalytic feminisms </li></ul><ul><li>Highlights the gendered division of labor </li></ul><ul><li>Addresses the intersection of gender, race, class, and sexuality </li></ul><ul><li>Especially concerned with epistemological issues – not only what is known, but how knowledge is constituted and for what purposes </li></ul>
  17. 17. Socialist Feminist Thought <ul><li>The private sphere cannot be separated from the public </li></ul><ul><li>Organizations, families, and societies are mutually constituted through gender relations </li></ul><ul><li>Need for transformational change in personal and social relationships, a gender neutral wage structure, and equal compensation for all work, including dependent care </li></ul><ul><li>Considers women’s social location as standpoints </li></ul>
  18. 18. Story # 5 – What kind of feminist is Ellen Randall?
  19. 19. Poststructuralist / Postmodern Feminist Theory <ul><li>Originated in contemporary French poststructuralist critiques of “knowledge” and “identity” </li></ul><ul><li>Proposes deconstruction of discourses and practices </li></ul><ul><li>Epistemology is problematized by the heterogeneity of subject positions and social identities </li></ul>
  20. 20. Ellen Randall’s dilemma as a Poststructuralist/Postmodern Feminist The separation between the organizational practices that create the glass ceiling and the research practices that produce knowledge about it disappear in postmodern concepts. The “politics of knowledge” and the “politics of identity” constitute each other.
  21. 21. Story # 6 – What kind of feminist is Ellen Randall?
  22. 22. Third World/ (Post) Colonial Feminist Theories <ul><li>Suspicious of “gender” as an analytical lens that can applied across cultures and histories </li></ul><ul><li>Belief that Western knowledge renders them “invisible” : a system of power relations deployed by the “West” on “the rest” </li></ul><ul><li>Extends postmodern deconstruction of Western texts to show how the production of Western knowledge legitimates imperialism and colonialism </li></ul>
  23. 23. Women’s Ways of Knowing Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberger, & Tarule (1986)
  24. 24. The WWK Project <ul><li>Research began in late 1970s by 4 women psychologists studying human development </li></ul><ul><li>Believed that current “knowledge” and “truth” have been shaped by male-dominated culture </li></ul><ul><li>Realized very little research had been conducted on modes of learning, knowing, and valuing specific / common to women </li></ul><ul><li>Influenced by Nancy Chodorow (1978) and Jean Baker Miller (1976) </li></ul>
  25. 25. The WWK Project <ul><li>Interviewed 135 women graduates or students in formal educational settings as well as “invisible colleges” (human services agency programs) </li></ul><ul><li>Sought to examine what was important about life and learning from HER point of view </li></ul><ul><li>Goal was to explore women’s experience as learners and knowers as well as review their histories for changing concepts of self and relationships with others </li></ul><ul><li>Resulted in 5,000 pages of transcripts in a 5 year project </li></ul>
  26. 26. Some of the interview questions… <ul><li>What stands out for you in your life over the past few years? What kinds of things have been important? </li></ul><ul><li>How would you describe yourself to yourself? </li></ul><ul><li>What does being a woman mean to you? </li></ul><ul><li>Looking back over your whole life, can you tell me about a really powerful learning experience that you’ve had, in or out of school? </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes people talk about “searching for the truth.” What do you think people mean when they say that? </li></ul>
  27. 27. Findings : Overwhelming use of metaphors of voice and silence to depict intellectual and ethical development
  28. 28. Silenced Knowers <ul><li>Gets knowledge through concrete experience, not words </li></ul><ul><li>Sees self as “deaf and dumb” with little ability to think </li></ul><ul><li>Survives by obedience to powerful, punitive Authority </li></ul><ul><li>Little awareness of power of language for sharing thoughts, insights, etc. </li></ul>
  29. 29. Received Knowers <ul><li>Knowledge received from Authorities </li></ul><ul><li>Sees self as capable/efficient learner; soaks up information. </li></ul><ul><li>Good listener. Remembers and reproduces knowledge. Seeks/invents strategies for remembering. </li></ul><ul><li>Intent on listening; seldom speaks up or gives opinion. </li></ul>
  30. 30. Subjective Knowers <ul><li>Knowledge springs from inner sources. Legitimate ideas need to feel right. Analysis may destroy knowledge. </li></ul><ul><li>Own opinions are unique, valued. Not concerned about correspondence between one’s own truth and external reality. </li></ul><ul><li>Listens to inner voice for the truth that is right for her. </li></ul><ul><li>Speaks her feelings/experience, with heart. Listens, needs others to listen without judging. </li></ul>
  31. 31. Procedural Knowers <ul><li>Recognizes different frameworks and realms of knowledge. Realizes positive role of analysis for evaluating and creating knowledge. </li></ul><ul><li>Aims to see world as it “really is.” Suspicious of unexamined knowledge. </li></ul>
  32. 32. Procedural Knowers , continued <ul><li>Mode: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Separate: Uses logic, analysis, debate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Connected: Uses empathy, collaboration, careful listening </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Voice: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Separate: Aims for accuracy, precision; modulates voice to fit standards of logic or discipline </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Connected: Aims for dialogue where self and other are clearly and accurately understood, even where different </li></ul></ul>
  33. 33. Constructed Knowers <ul><li>Integrates strengths of previous positions. Systems of thought can be examined, shaped, and shared. </li></ul><ul><li>Sees truth through questioning and dialogue. </li></ul><ul><li>Integration of separate and connected modes of knowing. </li></ul><ul><li>Adept at critiquing arguments as well as empathic listening and understanding. Speaks / listens with confidence, balance, and care. </li></ul>
  34. 34. How can we use what we know about gender and concepts of women’s “voice” to create better learning environments?
  35. 35. Rosemary Caffarella reviewed 25 years of literature on adult development of women and found three themes related to how women learn: <ul><li>Centrality of Relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Diverse patterns of development </li></ul><ul><li>Importance of identity and intimacy </li></ul>
  36. 36. What women have taught us about teaching: <ul><li>Use collaborative interaction as one of the fundamental ways to plan and organize learning experiences. </li></ul><ul><li>Foster a climate for learning where learners and instructors support each other in the learning process, both in and out of formal learning situations. </li></ul><ul><li>Use a cooperative communication style. </li></ul><ul><li>Recognize that feelings are a critical part of fostering relationships in learning experiences. </li></ul>
  37. 37. What women have taught us about teaching: <ul><li>Let go of the myth that we can predict what women want to learn by thinking about only the ages and stages of their lives. </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledge that diverse patterns of life and continual transitions can be powerful motivators of learning. </li></ul><ul><li>Modify the way we offer learning activities so that they fit into women’s often fragmented lives. </li></ul>
  38. 38. What women have taught us about teaching: <ul><li>Recognize that some learners may be wrestling with identity issues, especially in times of major changes in their work situations or job expectations. </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage learners to find, fashion, and use what has been termed the “authentic self” or one’s voice in the instructional process. </li></ul><ul><li>Have instructors serve as role models in helping learners share their changing sense of selves. </li></ul>
  39. 39. Teaching Techniques <ul><li>Reflective journal writing </li></ul><ul><li>Self-disclosure – share personal situations to illustrate content </li></ul><ul><li>Peer support groups, inside and outside of the learning experience </li></ul><ul><li>Use of literature or poetry </li></ul><ul><li>Group processing </li></ul><ul><li>Storytelling </li></ul><ul><li>Reflective exercises </li></ul>
  40. 40. How can you use what you’ve learned about gender to enhance your own practice as an educator and student?