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ERIC Number: EJ1149087
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1029-8457
Identifying Tensions around Gender-Responsive Curriculum Practices in Science Teacher Education in Zimbabwe: An Activity Theory Analysis
Chikunda, Charles
African Journal of Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, v18 n3 p264-275 2014
The physical sciences, mathematics and technology subjects in Zimbabwe, like in most other African countries, are still male dominated. This is despite numerous efforts over the years directed towards gender equality in these disciplines. Many studies point at teacher education as not doing enough to assist future teachers in these disciplines with knowledge, skills, attitudes and values required for gender-responsive curriculum practices. This article focuses on science, mathematics and technical subjects in a pre-service teacher education college in Zimbabwe. The aim was to generate insight about surfacing tensions that may constrain the implementation of gender-responsive curriculum practices in the department. Cultural Historical Activity Theory provided a theoretical lens to generate and analyse data. The department was heuristically the activity system, hypothetically taking gender-responsive curriculum practices as the object. A total of 36 lecturers participated in the study through six in-depth individual interviews, four with purposively sampled middle managers and two with lecturers to represent academic (science and mathematics) and practical (technical) subjects. Two focus group discussions were held with 30 lecturers who were sampled in a stratified manner. Findings revealed that habitus as defined by Bourdieu and produced by patriarchal social conditioning plays a very important role in teacher educators' identities and this influences their curriculum practices, constraining implementation of gender-responsive curriculum practices in science, mathematics and technical subjects in this teacher education college. Instrumentalist views of science on the part of teacher educators were also identified as having regulatory properties impacting negatively on gender-responsive curriculum practices in the activity system. This is despite numerous gender-related policies available with the potential to transform the curriculum. The study recommends a curriculum transformation exercise in teacher education that goes beyond policy formulation, but engages with intended policy implementers such as teacher educators in a manner that will help them to reflect on cultural norms and values in relation to gender and curriculum practice.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Zimbabwe
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A