The spatial politics of gender and EAP classroom practice

Publisher:
Pergamon
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 2009, 8 (2), pp. 100 - 110
Issue Date:
2009-01
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This paper explores some of the challenges faced by EAP teachers as they address gender issues that arise when teaching in a non-Western cultural context. It draws on interviews with four Australian teachers regarding their experiences in delivering EAP programs in East Timor as part of an international aid effort, and focuses on critical incidents in which gender was perceived as an issue in classroom practice. Through these incidents, we see the ways in which teachers navigated the competing claims of gender equity and cultural sensitivity in the pedagogic domain of the classroom. A spatial analysis is proposed as a means of exploring the teachers' accounts and as a means of countering the temporal narratives of progress that shape conventional discourses of development, EAP and gender equality. The paper concludes that the teachers' racial and economic position, and their status as cultural outsiders, affects the ways in which they can speak and act on issues of gender.
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