UNESCO

Training teachers to integrate gender equality and gender responsiveness in school and educational activities

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Ha Noi, 9-10 August 2017 – Over 60 teachers from lower secondary schools and teacher training colleges participated in a two-day training of trainers workshop on gender and gender-responsive school practices.  Organized by UNESCO and the Department of Teachers and Education Administrators of the Ministry of Education and Training, the workshop is among the follow-up activities to the e-learning course on gender-responsive teaching methods that was recently piloted among 170 teachers and school managers from 30 selected secondary schools in Ha Noi, Hue and Ho Chi Minh City.

With the overall goal of equipping educators with the knowledge and skills necessary to be future resource trainers in the subject of gender and gender-responsiveness in school, the workshop walked the participants through the theoretical underpinnings of gender, real life scenarios of gender discrimination in schools and the society, and the effective approaches to integrating gender equality in teacher education and student learning.

Facilitated by experts from the Hanoi National University of Education, the workshop sessions provided avenues for teachers to exchange ideas, challenge assumptions and raise questions on their experiences of bullying and discrimination due to gender stereotypes that impinge on facilitating learning and managing student behavior.

One of the activities led participants to draw an image of their perception on what a “real” man or woman is, wherein each group illustrated striking features of both sexes and later reflected and debated on their assumptions. The activity became a starting ground for teachers to delve into the concepts of sex, gender identity and sexual orientation. These concepts provided basis in discussing the significance of gender equality and the need to redefine and address oppressive social constructs on the role of men and women in the family and society.

Through collaborative work and hands-on activities, participating teachers were introduced to pedagogical techniques and pointers on how to develop an interactive gender-responsive educational activity, which incorporates the fundamental elements of a warm-up exercise, discovery and experience-based teaching, and the practical application of the subject.

Evaluating the workshop, a male Math and Physics teacher realized that “STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects are not just for boys, because female teachers in the workshop inspire so many girls to excel in this field as well”.

At the heart of the group discussions, the importance of family in education was a recurring topic. Notably, one female lower secondary school teacher captured this concern stating that “teaching students about gender equality requires cooperation from parents of the students, as gender stereotypes are very much shaped by the family sphere where many parents impose on children the choice of academic courses or career track based on their expectations on the rigid traditional roles of men or women”.

In upcoming training of trainers workshops to be held in Hue and Ho Chi Minh City, UNESCO remains committed to assisting Viet Nam in fulfilling the Action Plan on Gender Equality of the Education Sector for 2016-2020. Through this effort, UNESCO believes that building the capacity of teachers, school managers and lecturers on strengthening and mainstreaming gender and gender equality in teaching practices and school management is a leap forward towards achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

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Click here to access the e-learning course on gender-responsive teaching methods.