Gender Lessons’ Avoidance, Resistance and Solidarity in Nigerian Higher Education Classroom: Implications for Gender-Transformative Pedagogy

EADI-ISS General Conference 2021: Solidarity, Peace and Social Justice

26 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2021 Last revised: 22 Jul 2021

See all articles by Adaobiagu Obiagu

Adaobiagu Obiagu

University of Nigeria - Department of Social Science Education

Date Written: July 8, 2021

Abstract

Despite the introduction of social justice contents (including contents targeted at promoting gender equality) into school subjects and programmes across countries following the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development initiative launched in 2004, schools are implicated as sites where gender inequality and violence are nurtured. Whereas existing educational literature has explored the extent to which gender contents are represented in curricula and teachers' engagement with gender issues, little knowledge exists on how higher education students, especially student-teachers, receive or react to gender education and the challenges faced by lecturers teaching gender topics in deeply patriarchal contexts such as Nigeria. Yet understanding how gender contents are received by prospective teachers is important for making gender education changes that will produce gender-oriented/responsive teachers who effectively implement introduced gender contents for gender equality/justice promotion. This paper covers this gap by drawing on the author's experience in teaching gender contents of a family course (from a neutral and problem-solving perspective) to undergraduate education students for two years in a Nigerian university. The paper, employing feminist and male-agency lenses, adopts a critically reflective approach to deconstruct student-teachers' classroom discussions and reactions to problem questions and gender study-materials. Among the findings of the study are: (a) gender contents are controversial topics in Nigeria and teaching gender contents in a higher education context of a deeply patriarchal society is difficult, (b) students' sociocultural experiences and (mis/pre)conceptions/perceptions of gender and feminists' ideas serve to inhibit their interest and readiness to critically engage with gender discussions, and (c) male students supported gender discourses framed around development and human rights but avoided, and sometimes resisted, some discourses on gender-relations and power dynamics, especially in the private realm. The implications of the findings for gender-transformative pedagogy –that will empower teachers for gender equality/justice solidarity, classroom practices and agency that would prevent/disrupt gender stereotypes, hegemonic masculinity, passive/objectified femininity, misogynistic and misandristic tendencies and promote gender justice practices among learners– are discussed.

Keywords: Gender education, gender equality, social justice, preservice teachers, Nigeria

Suggested Citation

Obiagu, Adaobiagu, Gender Lessons’ Avoidance, Resistance and Solidarity in Nigerian Higher Education Classroom: Implications for Gender-Transformative Pedagogy (July 8, 2021). EADI-ISS General Conference 2021: Solidarity, Peace and Social Justice, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3888423

Adaobiagu Obiagu (Contact Author)

University of Nigeria - Department of Social Science Education ( email )

Nigeria

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