Document Type

Article

Department

Institute for Educational Development, Karachi

Abstract

In the current global push to explore the diverse and complex ways in which the school culture contributes to the shaping of young children's gender identity, early childhood teachers’ role in this process is an area of concern which has received limited attention. Furthermore, the schooling experiences of early years children in developing world contexts such as Pakistan remain largely absent. As such, this article discusses findings from a study investigating the role of women teachers’ practice in the construction of children's gender identities in the kindergarten classroom culture of one urban co‐education school in the highly gender‐segregated Pakistani context. Seven teachers and approximately 120 children were involved. Data collection included teacher interviews and observations of teaching practice. Data were qualitatively and quantitatively analysed. The complex and dynamic nature of the gendered classroom culture reflected the teachers’ active perpetuation of the dominant patriarchal ideologies in their practice. However, their practice also presented possibilities for change in unconscious and, occasionally, conscious attempts to push gender boundaries towards more equitable gender relationships. The teachers’ gendered practice has significant implications for children's evolving gender identity construction.

Publication

Early Child Development and Care