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Educational Science/Pedagogy

Also relevant for humanities and social sciences

Course: Educational Science/Pedagogy
Group of courses: Society and Social Sciences

Teaching/course objectives:

Women’s and gender studies in education provide students with competencies for reflecting on gender relations in the past and in the present. They learn to understand the category of gender as both a social one, present throughout people’s lives, and as an analytical one, to be applied in research in order to identify, assess, and possibly dismiss the value of this research with regard to processes of education, socialization, and qualification for each generation. 

In order to accomplish the teaching/course objectives, gender-sensitive approaches to teaching and instructions for designing gender-unbiased curricula should be used. This means that acquiring gender competence –resulting in gender-sensitive interactions with the participants of educational activities at schools, non-school institutions of youth and adult education, and businesses – is a recognized teaching objective. It is possible to prepare the topics of educational subdisciplines for a gender-inclusive kind of teaching by using such suggestions to adopt a multiplicity of perspectives for rethinking teaching methodology.

Teaching content/subject-specific gender studies content:

In the subdisciplines of education, or Erziehungswissenschaft in German, which has frequently been recast as Bildungswissenschaften in recent years, topics regarding education, socialization, qualification, further education, teaching and learning, and counselling have been connected to questions about the importance of gender. As a general rule, all teaching contents may be critically investigated and prepared with respect to gender coding.

With regard to teaching, research findings from a gender perspective are available for the following subdisciplines and fields of action:

  • general and historical education
  • school education
  • vocational and business education
  • nursing and caretaking
  • rehabilitation science
  • comparative and international education
  • adult education.

Insights and overviews of the state of discussion and research can be found in "Handbuch Gender und Erziehungswissenschaft" (cf. Glaser et al. 2006). Now that men’s studies researchers are claiming a need for more research, for instance with regard to promoting boys, the gender perspective may be contrasted even more sharply with traditional approaches.

After years of intensive debates, the women’s and gender studies section within the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Erziehungswissenschaft (German Association of Education Researchers, DGfE) eventually held a conference on the future of feminist theorizing, which was understood as both an assessment of the status quo and a call for a new radicalization of gender theory. The answer to the question, ‘What comes after gender research?’ is: gender research (cf. Casale/Rendttorf 2008).

Current topics and discourses in women’s and gender studies in education may be found in the "Jahrbuch Frauen- und Geschlechterforschung in der Erziehungswissenschaft"(Yearbook for Women’s and Gender Studies in Education), published on a regular basis by the DGfE’s women’s and gender studies section (current issue: Moser/Pinhard 2010). In addition, "Frauen und Genderforschung in der Erziehungswissenschaft" a publication series edited by Sabine Hering, Anna Maria Kreienbaum, and Anne Schlüter, presents new findings from women’s and gender studies research. Volumes in this series contain historical, contemporary, and especially biography-based studies – including studies about the self-concept of female education scholars in the field of women’s and gender studies (2008).

Education-specific contents include:

  • Gender in educational fields of action, especially family-based education, education counselling, parental education, school-based education, child and youth welfare, special needs education and integrative education, vocational education and training, teacher education, media education, and intercultural education, as well as target group work with adults.
  • Theory of education and history of education as approaches in women’s and gender studies
  • Psychological and social theories about the importance of gender and gender competence for education and socialization processes
  • Theoretical, philosophical, and linguistic approaches to constructing/deconstructing gender relations
  • Analysis of gender discourse in fields of action in education research
  • Theories on social labour and the reproduction of social inequality, in times of globalization and from a gender perspective
  • Discussions on policy interventions such as gender mainstreaming and diversity
  • Lifelong learning, biographies, and milieus studied from a gender point of view
  • Trying out research approaches with respect to discrimination as a result of structural disadvantaging in society (e.g. intersectionality)
  • Ways of teaching educational institutions, as organizations, to deal with the challenges posed by ‘gender and diversity’ as new management strategies

With the introduction of bachelor’s and master’s programmes, issues of gender difference, heterogeneity and homogeneity, as well as gender-based selection or inclusion/exclusion have become part of module contents. Ways of implementing these issues are illustrated by the strategies for gender-sensitive teaching and higher education teaching that have been developed for various disciplinary cultures. If we want to discuss gender polarities and, most importantly, engage in integrative gendering, it is essential to consider gender as a principle for didactic innovation in teaching and academic study (cf. Dudeck/Jansen-Schulz 2006; Auferkorte-Michaelis et al. 2009; Derichs-Kunstmann et al. 2009; Mörth/Hey 2010; Auferkorte-Michaelis et al. 2010).  Suggestions for preparing teaching content according to findings from gender studies research are available from the respective disciplinary teaching methodology.

Forms of integration of gender studies content into the curriculum:

Due to the relevance of gender for processes of education, qualification, and development, gender knowledge may generally be included in all education modules. Gender aspects are essential for exploring issues of individual development against the backdrop of societal expectations regarding family and work, and especially regarding career trajectories and leadership skills.

To avoid repetition, it makes sense for module designers to coordinate their activities with regard to gender as well.

Degree stage:

Women’s and gender studies content may be taught at all levels of study. It depends on the topic and is related to the transmission of knowledge about processes and structures in educational fields of action, in professional and disciplinary cultures, and in research fields.  

Keywords:

Educational Science, Pedagogy, Didactics, Early Education, Social Work, Social Education, Social Sciences, Humanities