ERIC Number: EJ1047588
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Reference Count: N/A
Discussing Gender Roles and Equality by Reading "Max: The Stubborn Little Wolf"
Lara, Gilberto P.; Leija, María G.
Social Studies and the Young Learner, v27 n2 p22-25 Nov-Dec 2014
In the beginning of this article, the authors share the story of Mr. Paredes, a fourth grade teacher in a bilingual classroom, who explains his approach in selecting particular pieces of children's literature that address gender roles and equity. His hope, he states, is that the students will be able to identify the stereotype and challenge it. With this in mind, one can imagine his expectations and the student conversations one morning as they read "Max, the Stubborn Little Wolf" by Marie-Odile Judes, a story about a wolf who wants to be a florist against his father's wishes of him becoming a hunter like him. The father, unwilling to accept the son's choice of career, devises several ways of discouraging him from becoming a florist. Mr. Paredes began the day's lesson by asking his students to brainstorm different jobs that people can have when they grow up. Students listed: teacher, nurse, basketball player, host, singer, FBI agent, police, and firefighter. For each profession listed by the students, Mr. Paredes asked if a woman, man, or both could make the career choice. The fourth grade students readily believed that most of the professions were open to both genders--except the firefighter role, which they considered "too dangerous and too hard." Traditionally, social expectations regarding gender led boys to adopt "masculine" domineering roles and encourage girls' "feminine" passivity. These expectations limited freedom of choice for both genders. Today, many parents and educators are actively challenging traditional roles, opening up "avenues of opportunity" in today's society, and increasing the "degree of personal freedom" for children. Teachers can be alert for opportunities foster tolerance, to create dialogues that reveal the complexity of gender roles and gender equity. Children's literature is an excellent vehicle for sparking such dialogues. At the heart of children's books like "Max, the Stubborn Little Wolf" and conversations that Mr. Paredes facilitates around such books are the identities of young children and the freedoms and responsibilities that they will assume as citizens in our democracy.
Descriptors: Sex Role, Gender Bias, Social Bias, Social Justice, Childrens Literature, Sex Stereotypes, Consciousness Raising, Elementary School Students, Teaching Methods, Identification (Psychology), Bilingual Students, Grade 4
National Council for the Social Studies. 8555 Sixteenth Street #500, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Tel: 800-683-0812; Tel: 301-588-1800; Fax: 301-588-2049; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.socialstudies.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 4; Intermediate Grades
Authoring Institution: N/A