Implementation of “Gender Beliefs and Stereotypes in Professional Activities” (SOI-GR-271)

Author: Nikoletta Liaropoulou, EFL Teacher

School/Organization: 3rd General High School of Chaidari

The learning scenario “Gender Beliefs and Stereotypes in Professional Activities”, originally created by Ana Alves, was implemented by Nikoletta Liaropoulou, in the subject of English as a Foreign language. It was implemented in a slightly different context since it was incorporated into an eTwinning project around the theme of gender equality and carried out by the pupils and their foreign partners in international teams using ICT tools for communication and collaboration. It has been an invaluable experience for everyone since not only did it help raise awareness on such an important topic but also it helped discover and appreciate European art and digital heritage. The specific activities were assigned on occasion of the International Women’s Day.

The implementation context

How it all started
Pupils of A2 class of the 3rd High School of Chaidari, Greece and their Italian partners from ITT Allievi – Sangallo, Terni, Italy, around 35 pupils in total, all 15-16 years old, had been working on the eTwinning project “Girls from Mars, boys from Venus” for a few weeks before their teachers decided to enrich the project with activities from the Europeana portal. The project, carried out during the subject of English as a foreign language, aimed at pupils working on Sustainable Development Goal #5, raising awareness about gender equality and bringing down stereotypes while using the English language in authentic contexts. Collaboration had already been established through Twinspace, the project’s private space on the eTwinning portal and, although the pupils had familiarized themselves with a variety of digital tools, they had never heard of the Europeana platform before. The combination of the topic we had already been working on with art and digital heritage was seen as a great opportunity to develop the pupils’ cultural awareness as well as their ability to appreciate art.

The narrative

Phase one

Before we started working on the activities described in the learning scenario, we had to teach the pupils how to use the Europeana portal, what they could find there and, more importantly, how to treat the material. Special attention was paid to explaining copyright and the different types of attribution. The teacher used an overhead projector and spent one teaching hour browsing the portal and explaining the different parts so that the pupils would be able to go on the following tasks on their own. 

Phase two

As a bonding activity among international teams, pupils were asked to browse Europeana and choose one influential female figure to present and name their team after her. At that point, communication via the Twinspace forum was difficult due to technical problems; however, pupils produced interesting presentations of women 

Phase three

As a warm up activity, pupils were asked to reflect on the topic of gender equality by sharing their opinions on the topic and commenting on each other’s thoughts. For this purpose we used tricider, padlet and jamboard. Before that, pupils had watched a variety of videos, specifically created to raise awareness on the topic. Apart from the videos suggested in the learning scenario, we also watched a series of short videos, created by the Greek organization “Gender Alliance Initiative” (you can watch them with English subtitles here).

Phase four

  • A page with detailed instructions for the next task was created on the project’s Twinspace. The pupils were given the links mentioned in the learning scenario and were asked to browse through the Europeana Galleries to find pictures which show typical tasks or professional activities for women and men. Again, they were reminded to pay attention to attributions. They collected the pictures in the shared padlet and asked to comment on the photos. 

Phase five

Then, during an online meeting, they chose the photos they liked best, further commented on them and came up with short dialogues to use in order to create memes. Each International team chose 3 photos, they decided on the dialogues and certain children offered to actually create the memes, using gifitup on their mobile phones. 

Phase five

  • Following the live meeting and the topics aroused, the students were asked to read 2 articles from the Europeana blog: A woman’s work is never done and Family Matters: Changing roles. Then, the international teams were asked to use information from the articles as well as all the other materials that were studied during the project and prepare a collaborative poster to raise awareness on the topic. The teacher provided the students with a link to canva and they had to communicate through the Twinspace forum in order to design the poster. 

Phase 6 (final assessment)

The students were given the rubrics sheet that was prepared for the learning scenario and were asked to assign points to their team according to the descriptors. They were also asked to assess the activities by creating a word cloud with answergarden. The results were very encouraging!

Learning outcomes

From the students’ perspective 

The use of this learning scenario added a new dimension to our eTwinning project while it helped achieve its main goals, that is to raise awareness about gender equality and combat gender stereotypes as well as practicing students’ English language skills. It was a great opportunity for pupils to further develop their digital literacy skills, such as searching for and evaluating online information. What they enjoyed the most was the creative part of the learning scenario and, according to their comments, it was really engaging for them:

“It was difficult to choose pictures because of the copyright but it was fun” 

“Creating memes was the best”

“I liked creating memes”

Overall, it was an engaging and inspiring experience. It added a new perspective to the theme our students had already started working on. The concept of digital heritage was completely new to them so not only did they find out about it and why it is important but also how to make the most of the Europeana resources. Last but not least, students realized that copyrighted material should be treated with care and respect.

Outcomes for the educator

From the teachers’ perspective

As for myself, I feel I have gained a lot from this experience. I had tried to use the Europeana portal in the past but the process seemed overwhelming. Using a learning scenario as a guide definitely makes things easier so I suggest everyone who wants to use the Europeana resources in their classes start by implementing a learning scenario. Now, I feel more confident and I will definitely continue using it.

What really troubled my students were the copyright restrictions. Although we had discussed it in detail, not choosing copyrighted material was challenging for them. I believe this is a great lesson for their lives as well because, although they know that they shouldn’t use copyrighted material, they seem to have difficulty doing so when needed. What is more, there are other learning scenarios built around the theme of gender equality in case you would like to keep working on the topic. For example, interesting activities to add can be found in the learning scenario entitled (stereo)Typical Women (LS-HU-263). According to this, students could also create comic strips or create a collaborative presentation about influential women of their countries.

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario?  Gender Beliefs and Stereotypes in Professional Activities(LS-DI-569) created by Ana Alves

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Do you want to discover more stories of implementation? Click here.

CC BY 4.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Wellcome Collection.

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