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ERIC Number: EJ848827
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 40
ISSN: ISSN-1524-5039
Analyzing the Impact of Gender on Depictions of Touch in Early Childhood Textbooks
Gilbert, Andrew; Williams, Shane
Early Childhood Research & Practice, v10 n2 Fall 2008
Early childhood contexts often enact "common-sense identities" that create and sustain the notion that teachers of young children are expressly female and heterosexual. It has also been argued that touch is a key difference between men and women in early childhood classrooms. This exploratory study examined 10 early childhood textbooks to determine whether images depicting touch enacted these common-sense notions. To investigate whether implicit gendered messages existed within the texts, images displaying touch between teachers and children were grouped according to three main recurrent themes: teacher touching child, child touching teacher, and mutually negotiated contact. Findings indicated that, although the images of male teachers were positive, troubling patterns did emerge concerning the type and nature of men's contact with children. These patterns worked to reaffirm larger patriarchal structures at play in schools and society while simultaneously painting women as more suitable to nurture young children. Furthermore, the texts provided clear messages to beginning teachers that acceptable types of touch were delineated by gender. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications of these findings for early childhood preservice teacher education. (Contains 3 figures and 2 tables.)
Clearinghouse on Early Education and Parenting, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 51 Gerty Drive, Champaign, IL 61820. Tel: 877-275-3227; Tel: 217-333-1386; Fax: 217-244-7732; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A