Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 11 : 5 May 2011
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.
         S. M. Ravichandran, Ph.D.
         G. Baskaran, Ph.D.
         L. Ramamoorthy, Ph.D.





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Dealing with Gender Bias inside Bangladeshi Classrooms
An Overview of Teachers' Perspectives

Syeda Farzana Sultana, M.A.


In this paper, the author investigates to what extent the English language teachers in different private universities in Bangladesh are aware of gender bias, how it influences their teaching and how they react and respond to it. To find answers to these questions, a questionnaire was used to be completed by teachers from different private universities in Bangladesh. Question papers designed by a few teachers were studied, some classes were observed and a few teachers were interviewed.

The findings are discussed in the paper and, consequently, some suggestions are also made. The findings show that the Bangladeshi private university teachers are not much aware of gender bias; more initiatives should be taken to make them cognizant of it.

Key Words: Gender Bias, non-sexist language, gender inclusive language.

1.0 Introduction

We all carry cultural images of men and women. Did we ever notice if the way we talk depends on the listener's gender or on the speaker's gender? These are very simple questions to ask and answer, but when it comes to the question of teaching a language in class, these simple questions turn out to be momentous.

Kernberger (1990) points out that "transmitting cultural values and definitions of reality is integral with language teaching." Language is one of the most powerful components of a culture. The social practices, values, norms are reflected through languages.

A lot has been done in the field of gender bias in language teaching in the recent years. Yet Sunderland (2000) holds the view that "Research into gender and language education is still less self-reflexive and self-critical than it should be." In Bangladesh, reasonably, there is still a lot to do in this field. The language teachers need to be more concerned about their practices in classrooms.

Focus of this paper

This paper aims at finding out how this critical issue influences classroom teaching as Grayson (2006) points out, "actions, instructional practice and interactions between teacher and students, and between students and students, need to be examined." This paper tries to find out how far the English language teachers in different private universities in Bangladesh are aware of gender bias and how they react and respond to issues related to gender bias. To find out the answers, a questionnaire was used, a few question papers were studied, some teachers were interviewed, and a few classes were observed. The findings are discussed in the paper and a few suggestions are made at the end.

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Syeda Farzana Sultana, M.A.
Assistant Professor
Department of English
American International University- Bangladesh
205, 206 Sultanganj Road, Rayer Bazar
Dhaka 1209, Bangladesh

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