B.C. teachers need gender training, professor Allyson Jule says

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      Future teachers in B.C. should be required to take a course on gender in the classroom, according to Allyson Jule.

      The professor of education at Trinity Western University in Langley has conducted research on elementary-school and college classes and found teachers tend to “unwittingly” prompt boys to speak more than girls.

      “It doesn’t even matter if the teacher is male or female,” Jule told the Straight by phone. “There is a privileging of what boys contribute to the classroom.”

      Jule is a cochair of the eighth International Gender and Language Association conference, which will bring researchers from 20 countries to Vancouver. From Thursday to Saturday (June 5 to 7), the event will take place at Simon Fraser University’s Harbour Centre campus.

      As an example, Jule said a teacher might ask students to identify the national capital. A girl with the correct answer might receive a “Yes” in response. However, a boy with the same answer might hear, “Yes, Ottawa is the capital city of Canada. That’s right.”

      Teachers need to understand how the type and amount of language they use in the classroom affects students, Jule argued. According to her, the “gender rehearsal” that takes place in class may lead women to be quieter in the workplace, hurting their chances for career advancement.

      “Gender is talked about in teacher education as part of all other kinds of differences—including race, social class, religion, creed, sexualities—but it isn’t profiled as a particularly powerful element to what we are teaching in schools,” Jule said.

      Nassim Elbardouh, an English and French teacher at Britannia secondary school in Vancouver, told the Straight her courses at SFU didn’t delve into gender. She strives to use gender-neutral language in class.

      “I would hesitate to offer a course that maybe reinforces those gender binaries,” Elbardouh said by phone. “But if it was a course that encouraged students to question gender and how we reinforce stereotypes in our classroom and in our practice, then I would support it.”

      Ministry of Education spokesperson Ben Green told the Straight by phone that policy dictates teacher-education programs must have content that “recognizes the diverse nature of our society” and addresses gender equity.




      Jun 4, 2014 at 2:00pm

      Judging by their unreasonable demands in the current bargaining, teachers need logic training since most of the public thinks they are just greedy.


      Jun 4, 2014 at 3:13pm

      Actually, all surveys show that most people support teachers, so... yeah, you're kinda wrong there.


      Jun 4, 2014 at 4:15pm

      If there was ever any reason to highlight the useless naval gazing aspect of an Edumbacation degree then this article shows it quite well.


      Jun 4, 2014 at 11:12pm

      So despite the fact that more than 60% of all degrees in Canada are now earned by women, we still need to do more to help girls in school.


      Jun 5, 2014 at 9:31am


      I was going to react similarly, but thinking about it, I wonder. Maybe if this problem was approached in the right way, both genders of kids would benefit.

      I have read that most of the gender gap in schools doesn't show up on standardized test scores, it shows up on marks for class work and participation, etc. According to the stereotype anyways, girls are "better" behaved and focused.

      If this is true, well I've never been convinced that the answer is to train boys to be more domesticated. The evidence, what there is of it, is that it's "speaking up" that balances (or overbalances) things out in the real world of the workplace and who becomes a leader. I don't want to live in a society of conformists and socially policed consensus, no matter what its politics are.

      Perhaps if girls are taught to speak up and have the right to "disrupt" to an equal degree, boys will not be marked down for the same behavior, and girls will benefit later by having the skills and attitude to ask for a raise, seek leadership, etc. So "gender" training then needs two sides to it: encouraging girls to "disrupt" the class by speaking up, and positive channeling and acceptance of both gender's energy. Change the attitude to what the classroom should be like. Everybody wins.

      But she is from TWU!

      Jun 5, 2014 at 10:15am

      Having learned from the folks who support the various Law Societies that TWU grads deserve to be treated differently to grads from other institutions why should this prof get an audience? Given the assertion from those who support violating the Charter Rights of TWU law grads that the institution promotes "homophobia" perhaps this opinion should be ignored simply because of where this woman teaches.

      I am hoping that this is the year the government does to the BCTF what Thatcher did to the miners union: calls their bluff and breaks them. No salary or benefit increases for the classroom labourers simply because there is a glut of "certified" teachers in the Province. I would give the teachers every demand that does not enrich them personally, leaves benefits as they are and reduces sick days to the ratio they were prior to reducing the number of instruction days. Let them turn down a deal that addresses teaching issues but leaves them at their current level of over-compensation.

      The BCTF loses leverage in a couple of weeks when grad comes and goes so wait them out. Kids who merit a university place won't be hurt by he reduced conditioning time and the ditch diggers can get an early start. Let the teaches stew over the summer and if they won't deal then let them stay out. Sacrifice a year if need be, society won't suffer and achieves will find a way to achieve even without attending a public school. Let the classroom labourers walk a picket line while professionals do their jobs.

      Captain Vancouver

      Jun 5, 2014 at 5:47pm

      Dr. Jule's research helps build a foundation for the phenomenally popular Ban Bossy initiative of the Girls Scouts of America: http://banbossy.com/

      She's quoted in Time Magazine in relation to gender roles and the antecedents to why girls are streamed away from leadership: http://time.com/tag/ban-bossy/