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Assessment 2 Case Study Report
Swinburne Online University
Table of Contents
1. Executive Summary 3
3. Analysis 3
4. Strategies 5
4.1 Strategy 1 5
4.1.1 Strategy 2 7
4.1.2 Strategy 3 9
5. Evaluation and Recommendations 11
6. References 13
1. Executive Summary (Rahna)
This case study report will discuss and analyse a short conversation between two 4.5-year-old children on gender issues and equality, and some of the social justice implications. Three team members: Rahna Amin, Daniel Naqvi and Philomene Selvadurai will analyse the scenario, develop effective teaching strategies to respond to the situation - including other social justice issues, evaluate these strategies for their effectiveness, discuss the implications, and make some recommendations for good practice.
2. Introduction (Rahna)
The Australian Human Rights Commission (2013) states that in order to access the best talent that exists in society, and preserve the well-being of our population, we must create equal opportunities for all our citizens. These opportunities start in the early childhood years, research from neuroscience has unambiguously shown that the brain is on a steep learning curve with tremendous neurological growth between the highly formative years of zero to five (Centre on the Developing Child at Harvard University, 2011). This childcare centre needs to capitalise on these findings.
3. Analysis (Rahna)
There was an abrupt end to Matt and Lisa’s conversation, undoubtedly, the presence of the teacher, combined with the somewhat contentious nature of the discussion would have influenced this. Moreover, the gender of the teacher may have played a role. Devarakonda (2015) reports on a study where male and female practitioners responded differently to conflict between boys and girls: males perceived it as natural rough and tumble, whereas females saw aggression and intimidation. Nonetheless, some of underlying issues in the conversation are related to equality practices, promoting equality/equal opportunities/equal chances, anti-discriminatory practice, anti-bias practice, inclusion, inequality and stereotypes (Lindon, 2012).
Analysing further, some of the contributing factors in gender bias in children may be the result of the following circumstances: family (this is discussed in more detail below), the children themselves - their attitudes, values, beliefs and past experiences; religion; culture - stereotypes/societal norms, societal expectations, peer pressure, conformity; teachers – their values/beliefs, role modelling; fear of expression; power relations; androcentrism; misogyny; media/commercialism – media reports, marketing, gender specific toys; technology; science or pseudoscience - boys better in maths/visuospatial tasks, girls in languages/ better at communication/multi-tasking; language/s – Robinson and Diaz (2006) argue that some languages are shaped by using negative/stereotypical words for different genders, and finally, the influences of the environment.
The issue of gender is important to children and families because parenting practices, religion and culture are strong guiding principles that children are influenced by and follow (Aina and Cameron, 2011). Furthermore, families will have their own opinions, constructs of gender, values and beliefs and may not want to challenge stereotypes or to change their thinking.
Some other categories of diversity and differences that may affect children’s wellbeing and attitudes in this scenario, include: Nationality – some nationalities may have different expectations and roles assigned to genders. Culture – at a societal level, some westernised/democratic cultures may encourage equality more than others. Devarakonda (2015) states that children tend to adjust their behaviour to fit in with the norms and expectations of their culture. Disability – these people may feel that they are being marginalised or discriminated against because they would not have the physical/mental capability to become a firefighter/another profession. Single-parents/same sex - may not be able to provide positive role modelling from both genders.
As the children’s teacher, some possible suggestions to explore the concepts of gender and equity with children, would include: First, follow the legislation on equality issues and ensure that they are being adhered to (Robinson & Diaz, 2006). Second, evaluate the centre’s policy and practices to make sure that the centre is providing equal opportunities for all children so that they are encouraged to reach their full potential. Third, professional development sessions should be made available to all practitioners, and the follow-up from these sessions monitored for effectiveness. Finally, the curriculum must reflect the centre’s stance on equality, and educate children using modelling and age-appropriate resources that consider children’s emotional and mental wellbeing.
Parents and families are crucial to include in these conversations because their background, culture, values and beliefs must be respected and their opinions included (Devarakonda, 2015). Furthermore, the family - as the child’s first teacher - would be included in every aspect, including all the talks, invited to contribute and kept up to date by correspondence and newsletters.
4.1 Strategy 1
Literature: The Power of Picture Books - Rahna Amin
Description - Addressing complex social justice issues by utilising the power of picture books. This will be framed by research from neuroscience.
The teaching strategy for children to learn about some of the social justice issues in this scenario (and beyond) will be reading carefully selected stories that send strong overt and subliminal messages about promoting equal opportunities. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child [UNICEF] (n.d.), states that bringing some social justice issues into the classroom, such as gender inequality, poverty, discrimination and conflict can be intimidating for young children, and one of the most powerful tools that teachers have are picture books. This supports children’s wellbeing because picture books can act as a safe window for children to look through whilst they understand some of the important issues affecting the world (Aina & Cameron, 2011).
This strategy has also been chosen because children are naturally interested in stories. They are easy to understand and remember, and in the presence of a good storyteller, even children who have trouble focussing or sitting still will quite often be highly engaged. Thirty years of research from neuroscience unambiguously shows that using stories for learning is one of the most effective teaching strategies that teachers can use (Willingham, 2009). This is because stories are psychologically privileged by the brain over other methods of learning (Psychology Today, 2016). In fact, listening to stories is so superior that the brain even has a specific area exclusively devoted to stories (Willingham, 2009).
There is something inherent in the story format - causality, conflict, complications and character - that makes stories easy to understand and remember (Bartlett, 1995). To provide an example related to this scenario, the teacher can use the picture book The Running Shoes (Amazon, 2016). The related causal events are: father has died and a poor Cambodian girl desperately wants to go to school like the other boys in her village. The conflict is that there are many obstacles in her way, including poverty and gender discrimination. The complications in the story are the girl’s efforts to remove these obstacles and find solutions for the problems. Finally, the character is strong and interesting, and children can observe her in action showing that the issue is more about ability rather than gender. Although this book deals with sexism, gender inequality and stereotypes it also deals with other social justice issues: poverty, single-parenting, sectarianism, cultural diversity, minority ethnic groups. Aina and Cameron (2011) state that educators should make a concerted effort to provide positive and empowering stories with images of diverse characters that model positive self-concepts for children and promote an anti-bias attitude among the whole class.
An additional benefit of using this teaching strategy is that parents’ backgrounds, knowledge, culture, and expertise can be utilised (Lindon, 2012). The teacher can provide parents with a book list and they can add their own values and beliefs as they read some of the book aloud with their children.
The following are examples of some of the stories that will be used: The Paper Bag Princess - sexism; gender stereotypes; equality. Tough Boris - gender stereotypes; cultural diversity; disability; and Amazing Grace – racial equality; minority ethnic groups; gender stereotypes; gender equality (UNICEF, n.d.).
4.1.1 Strategy 2
Inviting members of the community to talk about their careers. Daniel Naqvi.
Children may have the assumption that some jobs are for males and some jobs are for females. This attitude and belief extends to other areas of pre-school, including what areas to play in and what toys to play with (Aina & Cameron, 2011). This way of thinking could lead to negative outcomes. The issue of gender equality will be unintentionally discussed during incursions and activities based around career aspiration. It is hopeful that children will eliminate any pre-existing beliefs that there are about gender based jobs.
Prior to an incursion from females working in a male dominated industry, posters can be hung in the classroom depicting women and men as fire fighters, policeman and tradesmen. The classroom environment can influence a child’s view on social issues, the way they think of themselves and the way they think of others (Aina & Cameron, 2011). By including images of both genders working in a certain jobs or trades, it is hopeful that children will realise that jobs are not restricted to a certain gender. A key feature of Goleman’s emotional intelligence theory is self-awareness. Once children are aware of their feelings and see people of their gender performing tasks that require strength and intelligence, it allows them to believe that it is possible for them to achieve their dreams too (Learning theories, 2015).
Career aspirations begin at pre-school (Aina & Cameron, 2011), it’s where children begin to understand their future self. Inviting a female firefighter to the preschool will enable young children to believe that being a firefighter is not limited to gender. The firefighter could talk about what is involved in becoming a firefighter. This will include passing a written test, medical test and physical test (Melbourne Fire Brigade, 2009). Without addressing the issue of gender equality, this presentation will demonstrate that females are just as intelligent and can be as physically strong as males. This presentation could motivate all children in the class to believe in their dreams, in particular females and those wanting to be firefighters. According to Goleman’s emotional intelligence theory motivation is crucial to one's success. Motivated students are more likely to achieve academic success, be more capable of achievement and have more confidence (Learning theories, 2015). This presentation could empower all students to believe in themselves.
This strategy could be extended to include children’s family members who may work in an industry dominated by a particular gender. This could be a male nurse, female truck drivers or male hairdresser. Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory suggests children learn what is acceptable behaviour based on the people in their life and those in their community (Powell & Tod, 2003). Introducing a variety of community members to students will help them understand that careers not limited to their gender and a person's ability and skills is not limited by their gender.
4.1.2 Strategy 3
Play in the early childhood sector. Philomene Selvadurai.
Play is the important aspect in the early childhood sector, as the curriculum is based on play. Learning through play, is one of the elements of the Early Years Learning Framework (DEEWR, 2009). Play is used as a learning strategy and it is powerful learning tool (Kearns, 2010).
Free choice play, guided play and directed play are all types of play. For this scenario free play is applicable. Free play is discovery learning and could be implemented through a variety of activities, which are open-ended experiences. The children choose these experiences and develop their skills through interactions with their peers. This aligns with Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory, where children interact with their environment (Kearns, 2010). So in this scenario it would be advisable to implement learning spaces that would enable Matte and Lisa to understand the concept, that many occupations have both genders working together. The following learning spaces could be implemented for Matte and Lisa.
Dressing up costumes such as police officers, ambulance officers, firefighters, doctors for both genders will be placed in an attractive area. A learning space is setup with community and roadway essentials, which has community workers of both genders. This would enable Matte and Lisa to understand the concept that both girls and boys could be fire fighters, ambulance officers and chefs (Scholastic essentials, n.d.).
The construction space could be setup either indoors or outdoors with one of the following blocks - 3D magnetic blocks and wheels, Duplo construction, and PolyM blocks. Implementing excavators, giant diggers, wheelbarrows and dump trucks in the sandpit and displaying a few pictures of both genders working on these trucks and exploring the blocks. This would enable Matte and Lisa to understand that both genders could engage in the play (Kangaroo Educational, n.d.).
Dramatic play is one of the classifications of play, where children physically and visibly get involved in an activity. So this would help Matte and Lisa to understand the concept that both genders could work together (Kearns, 2010). So to name a few learning spaces, which would enable the children to engage in dramatic play, as well as understand the concept of both genders, are. Puppet shows with puppets from different occupations, steering wheel set, and dolls with professional clothes and workbench and tools set. A mailbox and stamps, hair dressing saloon and kitchen sets could also be implemented. All these could be set up either indoors or outdoors and all the children are encouraged to participate (Kangaroo Educational, n.d.).
Finally reading books about the occupations especially the book “ When I grow up”. This book has illustrations of both genders and has enabled the children in an early childhood sector to understand this concept.
The play spacers mentioned above would cater to all the children. Even though the highlight of these activities are for children to understand the concept that both genders could work in most occupations. These activities enable children with physical and intellectual disabilities, children from various ethnic and religious backgrounds to explore and participate in learning.
5. Evaluation and Recommendations (First part – Daniel)
Using picture books proved to be the most effective way of addressing social justices issues in preschool. Issues such as gender stereotyping, cultural diversity, race equality and disability could all be addressed with the use of picture books. Picture books not only address the issues, they does so in a safe manner for children (Aina & Cameron, 2011). A book list would be sent home to parents and guardians, allowing them to participate and contribute to their child’s understanding of social issues. There may be limitations here for parents and guardians who do not speak or read English at home.
Inviting members of the community to give presentations in preschool would introduce and clarify gender equality issues. Inviting community members who work in an industry dominated by the opposite gender, gives children the opportunity to witness and understand that their career aspirations are not limited by their gender. This strategy could unintentionally deal with other social issues such as race equality if the guest is of a race that is victimised by stereotyping; otherwise this strategy mainly focuses on gender equality.
Learning through play and making learning more inclusive by adding pictures of diversity addressed issues such as gender equality and cultural diversity. Children learn through social interactions (Kearns, 2010) - this play-based strategy will expose children to various themes. Some cultural and religious issues may arise during play-based learning and families will have minimal input.
Based on the research made by our team members, it would be advisable that all three recommendations be implemented in this scenario. Implementing picture books during discussion time and introducing a book list for families.
The second recommendation is implementing incursions of personnel from a variety of work forces such as policeman, tradesmen, doctors and nurses. This should include both men and women. This should be implemented on a regular basis and these session should be an interactive session thus enabling the children to interact with these personnel.
The final recommendation to be implemented is play through a variety of learning spaces, such as dress ups, home corner and a puppet theatre with puppets from different occupations. Parents from different professions should be encouraged to visit the centre and engage in dramatic play with the children.
Aina, O. & Cameron, P. (2011). Why Does Gender Matter? Counteracting Stereotypes with Young Children (pp.1 2). Retrieved from http://southernearlychildhood.org/upload/pdf/Why_Does_Gender_Matter_Counteracting_Stereotypes_With_Young_Children_Olaiya_E_Aina_and_Petronella
Amazon. (2016). Frederick Lipp – running shoes. Retrieved from https://www.amazon.co.uk/Running-Shoes-Frederick-Lipp/dp/1580891764/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473131728&sr=8-1&keywords=the+running+shoes+frederick+lipp
Australian Human Rights Commission. (2013). Women in male dominated industries: a toolkit of strategies. Retrieved from
Bartlett, F. (1995). Remembering. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. (2011). Experiences build brain architecture [Video file]. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/VNNsN9IJkws
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations [DEEWR] for the Council of Australian Governments. (2009). Belonging, being and becoming; the early years learning framework for Australia. Retrieved from http://www.deewr.gov.au/Earlychildhood/Policy_Agenda/Quality/Documents/Final%20EYLF%20Framework%20Report%20-%20WEB.pdf
Devarakonda, C. (2015). Diversity and inclusion in early childhood. London, England. SAGE Publications.
Kangaroo Educational. (2016). Kangaroo resources for school and early years 2016-2017. Brookvale, NSW: Australia.
Kearns, K. (2010). Frameworks for learning and development. French Forest NSW, Australia: Pearson Australia.
Kearns, K. (2010). Birth to big school. French Forest NSW, Australia: Pearson Australia.
Learning theories. (2015). Emotional intelligence. Retrieved from https://www.learning-theories.com/emotional-intelligence-goleman.html
Lindon, J. (2012). Equality and inclusion in early childhood (2nd ed). London: Hodder Education.
Marvig, E. (2013). When I grow up Australia: Oz Publishing Ltd.
Melbourne Fire Brigade. (2009). Recruitment. Retrieved from http://www.mfb.vic.gov.au/Recruitment/Selection-Process.html
Powell, S., & Tod, J. (2004). A systematic review of how theories explain learning behaviour in school contexts (p. 4). EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London
Psychology Today. (2016). The power of stories. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/collections/201106/the-power-stories
Robinson, K. H., & Díaz, C. J. (2006). Chapter 7 Gender performativity in early childhood education. In Diversity and difference in early childhood education: Issues for theory and practice (pp. 127-146). Maidenhead, England: Open University Press.
Scholastic- Australian Curriculum Resources. (2016). School Essential Catalogue 2016.Australia
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. (n.d.). Rights respecting schools: children’s rights and social justice booklist. Retrieved from https://rrscanada.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/childrens-rights-and-social-justice-booklist.pdf
Willingham, D. (2009). Why don't students like school: a cognitive scientist answers questions about how the mind works and what it means for the classroom. San Francisco CA: Jossey Bass.
Proof of collaboration – Google Doc link:
Running Head: Case Study Report 1
Assessment 2 Case Study Report 15
Rahna Amin 7713274
Rahna Amin 7713274ese personnel.
Psychology Today. (2016). The power of storie