Proceedings of The 6th World Conference on Teaching and Education
Examining Gender Stereotypes in Four Selected English Fairy Tales: Implications for Teaching Reading in The Primary Classroom
Madoda Cekiso and Thenjiwe Meyiwa
Although many studies have revealed the existence of gender stereotyping in English folktales, research on the use of such gender stereotypes, as a platform to teach reading, has not been examined. As such, this study sought to investigate gender stereotypes in folktales of reading texts in the primary classroom. It was meant to raise awareness of gender issues in learning and teaching, especially in the reading process. The study followed a qualitative approach, using critical discourse analysis to examine four folktales from the prescribed English text in Grade two. The findings suggest that females were portrayed as submissive and dependent on men as their saviours. On the other hand, boys were portrayed as having power, strength, and wit. This has implications for teaching reading in Grade two as this portrayal is stereotypical, and not likely to be an accurate representation of many women today in the contemporary South Africa. To this end, the study demonstrates how the South African Constitution document, as well as the Bill of Rights, could be employed in a reading class to teach both reading and gender equity.
keywords: gender stereotyping, folktales, reading, teaching, learning