The importance of having gender‐neutral English language teaching in Hong Kong classrooms

Pun Wai ON

Research output: Other contributionHonours Project

Abstract

The issue of gender equality has gained increasing worldwide attention throughout the recent decades. Yet, the pace of gender issues’ improvement in academic field seems fails to catch up with the world’s development trend. It is still not hard to find sexist-language and gender-biased content in different textbooks nowadays. Lee (2007) pointed out that education field has had a significant effect on young learners that everything they see and listen will have huge impact on students’ cognitive growth. Foreign researches also showed that gendered materials have non-negligible influence on children’s gender socialization. With regard to this, this small-scale research reviews the gender representations in a local textbook series “Primary Longman Elect” through content and visual analysis (Research question 1). This research also aims at collecting first-hand data from the educational field for investigating teachers’ awareness on gendered teaching materials and their perceptions towards gender-neutral language teaching (Research questions 2 and 3). The results of textbooks analysis reflect that the frequencies of occurrence of male characters are generally higher than that of female characters. It is also found that some occupations and social roles are gender-stereotyped. Also, male characters usually engage in sports activities while musical activities are female dominant. Though local textbooks are found gendered in certain ways, local English teachers, however, generally do not put much attention on them. On one hand, they underestimate the influence of gendered materials on children. On the other hand, they treat gender issues and language teaching as two independent things. Therefore, gender-neutral language teaching is yet an immature issue in Hong Kong.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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English language
Hong Kong
classroom
gender
Teaching
textbook
language
teaching research
teaching materials
Social Role
teacher
socialization
equality
Sports
occupation
trend
education

Keywords

  • Honours Project (HP)
  • Bachelor of Education (Honours) (English Language) (Four-year Full-time)
  • Programme code: A4B036
  • Course code: CUI4900