CTET Exam Notes : Child Development and Pedagogy (CDP)
Topic : Gender as a social construct; gender roles, gender-bias and educational practice
Every individual is unique. This uniqueness of the individual is one of the most fundamental characteristics of life. Even children in the same family differ from one another. At all periods of human history, attempts have been made to observe and describe differences between individuals and among various groups of individuals. Educationlists, politicians. planners. sociologists and administrators have felt a need for some way of organizing or systematizing the many-faceted complexity of individual differences. Both philosophers and psychologists have attempted to produce such system.
GENDER ISSUES : THE CONCEPT
Variability among individuals is a universal phenomenon. This fact gives rise to a question about the characteristics in terms of which these differences are found. Such differences have been measured in both physiological as well as psychological terms. Differences in intelligence and the more narrowly defined intellectual processes such as memory, judgement and problem solving have been demonstrated a number of times.
Equality is a dominant concern of the modern time. It refers to equivalent qualifications, equivalent abilities, equivalent capabilities. same rights and same opportunities of learning and of working. In other words. it does not perceive any difference between two sets of individuals : males and females. But the very ideology of gender is based on an idea of assumed differences between males and females, even though there is a concern to obtain equality between the two in the social as well as educational world. This give rise to the pertinent question whether females differ from males in terms of traits. skills. values and competencies or not. If they are not different. the reasons for discrimination between males and females in various areas/domains and notably whether the reasons arc inherent in the individuals or they are because of economic and political reasons have to be studied.
Differences in Terms of Sex
No topic in Psychology is of more perennial interest than sex differences. Many social problems having to do with adjustment in marital life, education and living and working conditions in general depend upon such knowledge for their successful solutions. Many educationists or educational psychologists compared the performance of males and females as the subject of the study. They divided the sample into two separate categories. males and females. Research studies done in this area have demonstrated such differences on both sociological as well as biological bases. The purpose of the studies following this phase was to achieve better understanding of differences between two groups formed on the basis of sex. Many of these studies related to the psychoanalytic theory postulating basic emotional differences determined by biological rather than social causes. Later on. studies were conducted to find out not only how much average differences in a particular trait the two sexes had but also what other traits and external factors were correlated with each of these sex groups.
Differences in Terms of Age
Age is one of the crucial factors which influences individual difference. With an increase in age, many differences appear in both boys as well as girls. The intra-group differences are also found due to difference in age. It is evident that an individual's ability to adjust to the environment grows with the age. With increasing age the individuals develop ability to deal with more and more different problem solving situations which result in better adjustment with the environment. As a child grows from infancy to maturity, his/her mental powers increase. His/her body, nervous system, brain and its functions mature and there is a corresponding maturity and development in the mental capacity. Also, the child grows in experience and this too adds to his/her mental capacity. Thus you will find that age is an important factor contributing to individual differences. But as compared to its influence in adulthood, you will find that its influence during childhood is greater. It means a few years in the age of the child make much more difference than a few years in the life of an adult.
Differences in Terms of Caste
Studies done on various racial differences showed that the differences were there in the so called higher mental processes such as reasoning, attention, foresight and judgement. The primitive races excelled in terms of sensory and motor characteristics, keenness of the senses, quickness of response and perception of slight details. Such studies on the race difference problem have shown a decrease in the certainty with which it is possible to predict differences. In fact it is very difficult to carry out psychological studies on pure races. When we compare two races living in one country the question of classification becomes very difficult. The influence of cultural and social milieu gets mixed up with that of variety of hereditary endowments of various ethnic groups. The psychological tests used for such studies are also not available to study such group differences. It is also not possible to isolate
innate ability from the influence of environment. Yet it is difficult to identify the influence of particular geographical regions with differences in climate, ways of living or in cultural environments which over a period of time has an impact on the mental make up of the individual. In fact the degree and form of mental development is the result of the interaction between individual abilities and environmental influences. Therefore, it is necessary for you to keep such differences in mind while dealing with various racial groups while organising teaching activities. The flexibility in teaching methods may help overcome such problems. Besides,certain groups may in certain areas which could fruitfully be utilized for peer group learning.
Differences in Terms of Socio -Economic Status
A number of studies have demonstrated consistent differences between the average ability, achievement and aptitude of individuals belonging to different socio-economic backgrounds.
Children with very low mental ability who are classified as stupid children, were born to parents of all SES levels but these are much less common amongst those belonging to higher economic status. When scales are used to measure economic status, the relationship can be correlated with intelligence. The correlations between the two come to be about 0.30. It was observed in some studies that when subjects are asked to rank occupational titles on the basis of prestige, these ranking tend to follow the pattern of the differences in intelligence. While this and many other studies have pointed to a relationship between social status and intelligence, for the groups called infants it does not seem to hold true. What do we understand by class differences? It is important to know the meaning of socio economic class differences because such conclusions are significant for social policies in a country! which tries for equalization of opportunities and has a concern for maximum development of all her citizens. I n fact, as you know, this is more general hereditary environment discussion which raises many questions, for example, "Are poor people poor because they are poor". It is quite probable that some of the differences between social classes do rest on differences i n genetic endowment.
Differences in Terms of Personality
Differences in personality make-up bring about differences in intellectual pursuits and achievement. Individuals, because of diversity in interest and goals. habits, background. mental abilities. etc., seek general outlets for expression realization. Some are extroverts and some introverts. Some feel comfortable with one learning method while others go for a different learning method. Some are aggressive others are submissive.
Nature of Gender Issues : Nature of gender issues as an under :
Society perceives a female child as different from a male child. As such it assigns stereotyped roles to the female child.
It is seen that some teachers in the school, while teaching, give examples and use teaching strategies which are biased against girl students. Such teachers opine that girls should have a different type of education which may be helpful for them to develop as a good housewife and a mother.
In fact, girls and boys may to some extent differ in terms of certain abilities and both these sets of individuals excel each other in terms of certain abilities. Therefore we should evolve specific teaching-learning strategies to develop their inherent abilities to the maximum and also to prove extra opportunity for development of other competencies in which they are weak. We must make some bold efforts for replacing the professional value system by a belief in the equality of sexes. An attempt should be made to recognize the individual differences between girls and boys and make use of these during the teaching-learning process.
Another issue to be discussed is the social attitude towards girls which is reflected not only in the treatment received by girls, but also in the instructional materials meant for them. This becomes more serious in case of girls coming from weaker sections of society i.e., Scheduled castes, scheduled tribes. They carry the stigma of belonging to a weaker section. Both these educational and social perceptions come in our society. Most parents hesitate in sending their daughters to school for educational and social perceptions come in the way of the development of a girl child in our society. Most parents hesitate in sending their daughters to school for education, because to them the money which is required for educating girls could be more usefully spent on their marriage instead of education.
State governments have started a number of welfare schemes for female children and some programmes have been developed to promote their education, yet girls remain the biggest group outside the educational system. The economic educational and social issues related with education of girls are of great importance for the teacher to consider.
Implications for Teachers
The researches have established that various individual differences are found between two sets of individuals i.e. boys and girls. However, reformers and planners have attempted to bring girls at par with boys. In such a situation, it becomes very difficult for a teacher to accommodate two view points in over to deal with the individual girl children in the classroom. Indian girls tend to be timid and take a lot of time to open up and participate in the learning process. To encourage them for participate learning and in performing various curricular and co-curricular activities results in better self-image. For this a teacher may develop specific activities for girls which may bring them at par with boys. This parity may be in terms of all the competencies supposed to be acquired by children studying in the same educational setting.
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