NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1177710
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1946
Numbers Are Just Not Enough: A Critical Analysis of Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Elementary and Middle School Health Textbooks
Deckman, Sherry L.; Fulmer, Ellie Fitts; Kirby, Keely; Hoover, Katharine; Mackall, Abena Subira
Educational Studies: Journal of the American Educational Studies Association, v54 n3 p285-302 2018
Textbooks are a multimillion dollar publishing business in the United States. Even as 21st-century classrooms become more multimodal, digital and hardcopy textbooks remain a key feature of American education. Consequently, classroom textbooks have been shown to control knowledge dissemination across the content areas. In particular, health texts have been uniquely shown to communicate values that validate or marginalize students and encourage healthy or harmful activity. Thus, what textbook makers choose to include as worthy of study, and how they portray various groups of people with regard to race, gender, and sexuality has societal implications. Employing quantitative and qualitative content analysis methods, we analyzed 1,468 images across elementary and middle school health textbooks to examine the portrayal of race, gender, and sexuality. We found that, although gender and racial diversity are well-represented in texts, women and people of color were frequently portrayed in stereotypical roles. For example, girls were depicted daydreaming about heterosexual marriage. Furthermore, this analysis revealed limited representations of sexuality. Findings suggest that focusing on the numerical representation of marginalized groups is not enough to address issues of equity and power in classroom curricula. Instead, we argue, educators must consider the ways in which people are positioned in curricular materials, and ask if portrayals perpetuate or challenge traditional stereotypes.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 530 Walnut Street Suite 850, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Tel: 215-625-8900; Fax: 215-207-0050; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A