This post is part of the Countdown to Conference (C2C) series. We would love to feature a brief blog post from you too! Visit our main Countdown to Conference page for details!
C2C: The possibility of being a feminist preschool teacher
By Nehir Gündoğdu, Kilis 7 Aralık University, Turkey
I am excited to attend GEA conference and really looking forward to hear and tell stories about feminist journeys. Undoubtedly, coming from different parts of the world to spring up new ideas sounds amazing but certainly it has a different ‘cost’ for everyone. Recently I am following Raewyn Connell’s Survive and Thrive at an Academic Conference series that greatly articulates effort and responsibilities of individuals and institutions in an academic conference. These fascinating pieces are helpful to reflect previous and future conference experiences and as Connell argues the ‘cost’ of attending a conference requires great level of energy from all but it can be really pricey for some as well. This some are most likely to be from developing countries (in my case Turkey), who have to pay for getting a visa, expensive plane tickets, and other high costs. In addition, the funding given in weak local currencies is rarely compatible with the expenses made abroad.
Discussing and questioning feminist concerns about current education systems and neoliberal practices are not always welcomed in authoritarian contexts.
This is one side of story and sadly the other side of it does not bring any light neither. Discussing and questioning feminist concerns about current education systems and neoliberal practices are not always welcomed in authoritarian contexts. In other words, you come back from a conference filled with diverse transformative knowledge and experiences but it may not be possible to apply those to your own practices straightforwardly due to the mainstream discourses. Frustration may be inescapable in this scenario and I may sound a bit pessimistic here but I am also aware that these challenges create an enthusiasm to search for new ways of seeing the world. Hence, thank you to GEA for creating such an opportunity and supporting me to attend the 2018 conference.
Previously I presented a paper, which is called ‘Hegemonic Masculinity in Preschools’, in Gender and Education Association Biennial Interim Conference 2016 in Sweden which was based on my doctorate research focused on children’s engagement within preschool settings in making their gender identities in the context of Turkey. After finishing my PhD and starting to teach preschool teacher students, my curiosity is growing about the role of the teacher in children’s learning and exercising gender roles in classrooms. My initial question is how it might be possible for pre-school teachers to make feminist interventions in their classroom practices. The paper is inspired by Davies’s Frogs and Snails and Feminist Tales but I have changed the idea of telling feminist tales to preschoolers to telling different teacher interventions to gender related situations in classrooms. Then, I plan to discuss about teachers’ ideas and boundaries upon these interventions to see what their positions can be and how far and close they can be when the issue comes to make feminist interventions.
Overall, I am looking forward to share my research with all GEA folks in December and I hope our discussions fulfil our expectation.
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