Analysis of the Fictional Elements and Their Connection With Gender Stereotypes in EFL Learners' Productions: A Case Study With Pre-Service Infant and Primary School Teachers

Analysis of the Fictional Elements and Their Connection With Gender Stereotypes in EFL Learners' Productions: A Case Study With Pre-Service Infant and Primary School Teachers

María Victoria Guadamillas Gómez (Univesidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Spain)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3379-6.ch001

Abstract

This contribution analyses short biographies written by pre-service infant and primary school teachers about fictional women in history. The pieces of writing were produced by upper-intermediate English learners within a project carried out in two different classes, and in which reading, storytelling, and creative writing were combined with the main purpose of contributing to women's empowerment and visibility in society as well as writing and oral skills' development. In this regard, students read a selected group of biographies, and, later, they created their own fictional biography in which language use, drama—storytelling—and arts were utilised. For the analysis of the stories, attention is paid to the fictional elements introduced (validity of the story, interiority in the main character/s, and narrative congruence, among others), and the presence of adjectives which tend to be attached to female characteristics. In general, the results have shown that there is not a direct relationship between fictional elements and female stereotypes in the stories.
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Biographies In Education

Our project first focuses on reading biographies of outstanding women in history and then moves to writing fictional biographies of women. Utilising collaborative writing in the education field has been proven an effective and reliable means of accessing students’ – future teachers – thoughts and beliefs (Butt & Raymond, 1989; Pavlenko, 2007). In this regard, researchers can collect materials for research and practise written skills with students. Some studies, which have recently been developed, are mentioned below.

Reading biographies with the aim of reducing stereotypes has been utilised in the context of engineering by Hoh (2009), who introduced 20 outstanding stories of women in computer engineering to raise awareness of their contribution to society. The author concluded that “providing detailed information about the personal lives and work experiences, the biographies might be useful in countering existing cultural stereotypes of female engineers and initiating changes in perceptions needed to narrow the gender gap in engineering” (p. 113).

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