Locating my own teaching of gender in early childhood education within the wider discourse of feminism and post-structuralist theory
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Much has been written on teaching student teachers from a feminist poststructuralist pedagogy (Middleton 1993, Taguchi 2005, Robinson & Diaz, 2006 and Lather,1991) and through the teaching of feminist and poststructuralist theory (MacNaughton, 2005, McCleod 2010, Blaise and Andrew 2005, Fleer 1995). In this paper I investigate my own teaching of gender to student teachers studying early childhood education. As I reflect on my teaching I wanted to challenge the students’ perceptions of gender in relation to early childhood education. From this experience of teaching I have found that many student teachers assume that gender in early childhood education is unproblematic. They also tend to be gender ‘blind’ and are often openly resistant to exploring gender in a more critical way. According to Middeleton (1993) teaching from a feminist pedagogy ‘requires us as teachers to make visible and explore with our students the aspects of our own life histories that impact on our teaching’(p17). In my teaching I have felt it important to articulate and critically engage with my own feminist discourses as I work to discover (as Lenz Taguchi challenges) what poststructuralist feminist teaching can ‘do to you’ (Taguchi, 2005 p244). Through my reading of Lenz Taguchi’s ideas (2005) about teaching it was apparent to me that I was often guilty of teaching from a perspective of wanting to ‘emancipate’ the students in front of me without acknowledging their own identities and experiences. Through my own journaling and exploration of the theory of feminism and poststructuralism I attempt to answer some of the questions that Taguchi poses when she asks ‘if and how contemporary feminist pedagogical methods differ? And For whom is feminist pedagogy emancipative and how? (2005).