Re 3: Gender free classrooms??

From: Christina Perez (christina_perez@TERC.EDU)
Date: Mon Jun 28 1999 - 12:33:05 EDT

To remind everyone, the original message read:
"I am getting my Masters degree in Elementary Education and am very interested
in teaching in a gender free classroom and school for that
matter. Are there resources you have to help me find this type of school?
Does this type of school exist?"

In my mind, there is a difference between being "gender free" (from the
first posting) and being "gender neutral" (or gender equitable - the
message below). Gender free implies that the teacher (and school) ignores
gender completely, whereas gender equity argues for equal opportunity for
both boys and girls. It is impossible to have a gender free classroom, as
we all enter into every social situation with a set of learned behaviors
that are based on our gender. We act based on these learned behaviors, and
react to others based on them. Ignoring gender completely would actually
be doing a disservice to students. For example, if girls are taught in
other spheres of society that they are good at some things but not good at
others (such as technology or math), then by ignoring this process of
socialization (by ignoring gender) you are also helping to perpetuate it.
To defend John (below), I don't think he said he wouldn't want to be in a
gender equitable classroom. I think he was expressing reservations about
the concept of a gender free classroom (though being a eunch is not "gender
free" - it is "sex free"). Perhaps the wording from the original posting
was not very accurate...

Christina Perez
Cambridge, MA

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