Gender and language in the efl classroom
Durán, Norma Constanza
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Acknowledging the broader vision of critical applied linguistics and its concern for issues like gender in the field of language teaching, and considering this is an area which has not been extensively explored in the ELT Colombian context, this study was aimed at examining the local state of the art of this topic guided by the following research questions: What do T-S / SS SS classroom oral discourse patterns tell us about gender relations in an EFL setting? and How are T- S / SS-SS gender conceptions revealed in their reflections about the discourse used in the EFL classroom? Within this framework this study explored how gender is produced and / or sustained through patterns of talk in classroom interaction and teachers and students discourse. The participants in this study consist of a group of eleventh grade students and an English teacher of a high school in Bogotá city. The instruments used for data collection were direct observation of classroom interaction. The teacher s and students´ interactions were also audio and video recorded. Interviews on the teacher s and students´ discourse were carried out. The analysis of the data revealed that in fact there are imbalances in relation to boys and girls participation during interaction, made manifest by verbal and nonverbal attitudes that reinforce undermining feelings among girls specially, there is also sound evidence of girls low self esteem in response to the lack of value and respect granted to their opinions by their male peers. Stereotypes are part of teachers and students conceptions regarding gender and thus they are maintained to a great extent. The teacher s attitude in the classroom with respect to boys and girls also appeared to show inequality that favored boys, as shown in the unanimous students perception of teacher s preferences in the classroom. The girls showed evidence of awareness of the teacher s conscious or unconscious indifference towards them, which seemed to affect their autonomy and confidence as language learners. This was reflected in their lack of active participation and submissive roles they adopted when working in mixed gendered groups.