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Teaching ‘like a girl’? Re-conceptualising gender and care in education settings

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Inaugural lecture with Professor Marie-Pierre Moreau. Over the past twenty years, the ‘feminisation’ of teaching and more broadly of education as a whole has become a well-rehearsed theme across parts of the global North and the global South. Drawing on research conducted with school teachers and with students and academics with caring responsibilities (e.g. Moreau, 2011, 2014, 2016, 2018), I discuss some of the claims which underpin discourses of teaching as ‘feminised’ and the widespread construction of this feminisation, in its various meanings, as a ‘problem’. In particular, I show how, from early years to higher education, those associated with prevalent cultural constructions of ‘femininity’ and/or those who do not align with dominant gender norms are subjected to processes of misrecognition. The lecture takes on Raphael Reed’s invitation ‘to resist the inscriptions that draw us towards some unproblematised acceptance of the “truth” ’ (1999, p. 93). Consistent with a post-structuralist approach, I contend that these claims are not innocuous and call for a more critical and nuanced understanding of processes of feminisation so that rhetorics of gender equality are put into practice.

This talk is part of the Anglia Ruskin University - Community Engagement series.

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