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Gender and language in ELT materials - Essay Example

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This paper aims at examining gender and language in ELT materials in the current practice, to highlight, among other things, the new understandings of gender inherent in the ELT materials…
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Gender and language in ELT materials
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Download file to see previous pages emic and social discourses around the world for several decades now. Gender issues such as equality have taken centre stage in the world today, and many efforts are being directed at eliminating all forms of discrimination against women; gender equality has now been acknowledged as a universal human right and was articulated as the third millennium goal of the Millennium Summit in 2000 (Deirdre and Maryann 2008, p.303). Education reflects the global efforts by addressing issues such as gender equality and inequality in society; however, there could be worrisome possibilities that education of women, men, girls and boys, has been compromised in the past because of both explicit and implicit gender bias. In this respect, gender bias and language in the English Language Teaching materials have been major areas of focus in the current practice, in an effort to crackdown on any forms of gender bias against the women in society. This paper aims at examining gender and language in ELT materials in the current practice, to highlight, among other things, the new understandings of gender inherent in the ELT materials, in addition to the language specifics of ELT materials.
Gender biasness in ELT materials can be explained by the ambivalent sexism theory because they depict both hostile sexism -denoting an active antagonistic view of women that, both explicitly negative and restrictive, and benevolent sexism-beliefs that women should be cherished, adored and protected from harm (Mehta et al 2013, p.38). As far as benevolent sexism is explicitly positive, it restricts women by viewing them stereotypically and in limited low-status roles, thus is just as potentially damaging as hostile sexism. Ambivalent sexism is built on three major aspects namely dominant/protective paternalism, gender differentiation and, heterosexuality; dominant paternalism/competitive or heterosexual hostility and gender differentiation are elements of hostile sexism whereas protective paternalism is an element of benevolent sexism. Dominant paternalism is the mechanism through which attributes thought to be suitable for positions of power and structural control are assigned to men whereas protective paternalism is the idea that women are ‘weaker sex’ that should be protected and cherished. Heterosexual hostility is the belief that women use their sexuality to control men; competitive gender differentiation refers to the belief that men are the only sex with characteristics such as ambition and agency, which are essential for positions of power and high status. It is no doubt that language is a very powerful tool of socialization that often times shapes the social constructions of gender in many societies across the world today; for decades now, studies have been concerned with the social justice issues. One of the predominant themes of these investigations has always been the role of language in the location and maintenance of women in disadvantageous position in society (Corson 1992, p.230). It has been established repeatedly that education plays a major role in creating unjust ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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