Rethinking Gender in Early Childhood Education by Glenda MacNaughton

By Glenda MacNaughton

A thought-provoking textual content in an effort to make practitioners study their kid's behaviour and play in a clean light'- Christine Marsh, Manchester Metropolitan University

'A significant contribution to the foreign literature on gender in Early youth .… Glenda MacNaughton has performed an excellent activity in making tricky conception available for academics and scholar lecturers. Her constant use of considerable examples and explorations of ways assorted theories held via academics may well impression on their perform might be greatly worthy to lecturers and instructor educators ' - Debbie Epstein, Centre for examine and schooling on Gender, Institute of schooling, London

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Identities are narrated, they become institutionalized and recognizable by repetitions: actors tell stories, while spectators evaluate them and participate in their construction within a repertoire accessible in situated time and space . . The telling of one’s own story . . is inherently a creative process by which a situated narrative of identity is constructed. (Gherardi 1996, p. 188) In Gherardi’s view we learn identity through several interrelated theatrical processes: telling stories, playing roles, critiquing our performances and being critiqued by others.

Many of these theories derive from Jean Piaget’s work and its dominance in early childhood education’s curriculum philosophies and 44 Gender equity’s just good practice, isn’t it? practices. Nellie had learnt them recently, Sally over 30 years ago. Dominant pedagogical theory in early childhood has consistently maintained the view that curriculum should be informed by understandings about the developmental levels and interests of each child (Spodek 1988b; Farquhar 1990; Taylor 1992). This produced an approach to curriculum that became known widely as developmentally appropriate (DAP).

These models of identity formation are based on modernist understandings of the child which assume that children unproblematically acquire a unified and coherent gender identity from their social world. Modernism is characterised by a belief that progress and emancipation for humanity will occur through the use of reason and individual free will. These beliefs derive from Enlightenment’s ideals of progress, in which progress was defined through a shift from mythical knowledge to scientific knowledge and a shift from religious faith to reason (Usher & Edwards 1994).

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