Using Fiction to Create Gender Awareness in the ESL Classroom
Abstract: The following study investigates using fiction to create gender awareness and understanding in the ESL classroom. As stated by Skolverket (2013), all teaching is to embody a gender perspective. However, for many educators, this is a multifaceted and difficult subject to grasp. Even more intricate is how to implement gender awareness into teaching, and the demanded knowledge level on the subject is challenging. Therefore, most L2 teachers do not take advantage of the possibilities offered by using fiction to address gender consciousness and question norms. Consequently, this study proposes investigating how fiction creates gender awareness and understanding in the L2 classroom and what strategies teachers might use to better facilitate learning about gender using fiction. This paper presents a literature review and analysis of contemporary research implicating why teaching gender through fiction is important. Moreover, the research suggests how this can be taught in the classroom and in teacher training to enforce didactic confidence on sensitive subjects. The different findings for teaching gender through fiction in an ESL classroom expand students' metacognitive thinking and help develop an understanding of the power of social constructs. Fiction may be a significant tool for learning both language and cultural necessities in a global context. We conclude with a discussion of the studies' implications for the Swedish educational context, including what pedagogical considerations must be taken into account when implementing gender awareness teaching using fiction in the L2 classroom. Finally, the findings are discussed in relation to Butlers' theory on gender, Flavells' metacognitive strategies on reading, and Ruddell and Unraus' motivated meaning-constructions process theory.
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