Monday, 15 August 2016

Gender, stereotypes and sustainability

One of the Institute's science education lecturers, Kelly Davis, has recently published some research around gender in the context of environmental sustainability. Whilst gender and sustainability might at first glance seem to be two unrelated issues, Kelly argues that they are connected - women are under-represented in science education, which plays a central role in school strategies to raise awareness of environmental issues. She suggests that one of the reasons females are under represented in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects in schools in due to gender stereotyping and an 'unconscious bias' by some that these subjects are solely a male preserve. Clearly, female scientists have as much to offer as their male counterparts, and lecturers in higher education involved in initial teacher education should strive to combat stereotypical thinking and challenge unconscious bias, to pave the way for a more equitable gender balance in STEM education, she says.

Here's the abstract of Kelly's article, published in the journal Science Teacher Education. The full article can be read at this link

As a lecturer in science education, the concept of environmental sustainability is heavily embedded within my teaching.  This article aims to highlight the links between gender and sustainability.  The sustainable development agenda 2030 states that one of its targets is to ‘achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’ (United Nations, 2015).   However, the reality is that women are still under-represented in science, technology, engineering and mathematical (STEM) fields (Penner, 2015).  This article explores the issue of this under-representation of women, and also specifically looks at changing practice within a primary science teacher training programme.  The article not only explores gender equality for women, but also for men, highlighting the stereotypical barriers trainee male primary school teachers encounter.  The issues of ‘unconscious bias’ and ‘stereotype threat’ are also discussed and changes in practice recommended.  The article highlights the fact that teachers and higher education professionals are in the fortunate position where they can facilitate change; after all, education is the key to a more sustainable future for all (Nevin, 2008).

Nevin, E. (2008) Education and sustainable development, Policy and practice: A development education review, (6), 49-62.
Penner, A. M. (2015) Gender inequality in science (347), 234.
United Nations (2015) Sustainable Development Goals. Available online at this link. (Accessed 9 March, 2016)

Photo by Pexels

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Gender, stereotypes and sustainability by Steve Wheeler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Enhancing your research and teaching

Our Director, Prof Megan Crawford, writes about her experience of engaging with her field of study.

What do academics at university do apart from the obvious teaching and research? I suspect that both new academics and students think that this is focus of everything, and in a way it is. However, most academics have to engage with their field of study in order to bid for research grants, and to keep up-to-date with their subject and where new ideas may be developing. In my own case, my field is educational leadership and management, so I thought I would use our blog to tell you about two things that I do that keep me connected and engaged with research and events.

First, I am on the Board of a Journal. In my case it is Educational Management, Administration and Leadership  (EMAL), published by Sage. You can download a free specimen copy from here. EMAL is a journal in the Social Science Index, which means it is highly regarded. As a member of the editorial board, my duties include meetings in London four times a year which look at the strategy of the journal, how it is being marketed, and what its current rates of acceptance for articles are. The Board then advises the editor Prof Tony Bush on these and other matters. I also review articles for the journal that are in my specialist area of expertise. This is a key role, as many of those submitting are new writers, and my reviews are important in helping them develop, whilst at the same time keeping the journal's high standards in mind.

I am also a member of a Professional Society, the British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society BELMAS. The name may sound familiar? That's because it is BELMAS that runs EMAL, and publishers bid to work with them. As noted above, the current publisher is Sage. BELMAS publishes two journals, runs an annual conference, and has day events for researchers and practitioners. First year membership is free, if you are interested. The Society is run by a Council, and I was Chair of Council which was very good experience in understanding how learned societies work. If you are interested in this field of educational research and practice, BELMAS is a very good organisation to join.

I have found being a Journal board member and in BELMAS very useful for my teaching and research. If educational leadership is not something you are interested in, there are many other journals and societies. My recommendation would be to explore what's out there, as there is bound to be something that fits your interests.

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Enhancing your research and teaching by Megan Crawford is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.