Gender Bias in ESL/EFL Textbooks

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Introduction As children are learning to read, they are exposed to the cultural symbols contained in books and are learning about their culture as well. Hence learning to read is an important mechanism through which culture is transmitted from one generation to the next (Taylor, 2003). Moreover, research tells us that children’s textbook contributes to the transmission of beliefs; particularly with respect to gender (Dionne, 2010) . Past research has indicated that by age seven, children begin to realize gender as a basic principal of their identity. Besides there have been studies witch have confirmed the fact that most of characteristics of femininity and masculinity are not biological and are acquired. In this sense primary school books may well be an important source of gender stereotypes that children will use them in forming their gendered behavior and it comes to be undeniably important as children when they treat information in their textbooks as if it were unquestionably accurate. “What learners read informs who they are, how they fit in their worlds, and how others view them. When learners’ experiences are ignored or omitted, marginalized or trivialized, rendered invisible, presented in fragmented ways as add-ons to the curriculum or stereotyped in texts, so too are they. When they read depictions of themselves as competent people who have voices that are heard and experiences that are honored, they are likewise honored and see themselves as competent.” (Worrel, 2001). The experiences of gender bias that children come across in their textbooks may shape their attitudes and beliefs related to their development of interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships, access to education equality, participation in the corpora... ... middle of paper ... ...ks. Teaching Sociology, 31(3), 300-311. Trecker, J. L. (1971). Women in US history high school textbooks. Social Education, 35(3), 249–260. Turgeon, W. C. (2008). The Persistence of Gender Stereotypes in the 21st century and what we can do about it. Analytic Teaching and Philosophy, 28(1), 18-27. VERIKAITE, D. (2012). Gender-Bias in Textbooks in India. Man & the Word, 14(3), 63-69. Wilde, K. (2008). Women in Sport: Gender Stereotypes in the Past and Present. Retrieved June 6, 2013, from http://www.athabascau.ca/wmst/papers/Wilde.pdf. Worrel, J. (Ed.) (2001). Encyclopedia of women and gender: Sex similarities and differences and the impact of society on gender. New York: Academic Press. Zittleman, K. & Sadker, D. (2002). Teacher Education and Gender Equity: The Unfinished Revolution. Retrieved 17 June 2013 from www.sadker.org/PDF/TextbooksandGenderEquity.pdf‎

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