TWU professor wants to end female silence in the classroom

Allyson Jule

Listen to Dr. Jule discuss her research with Stephen Quinn on CBC’s On the Coast.


When Trinity Western University Professor Allyson Jule started her teaching career in the 1980s, she noticed that her female students were quiet in the classroom, despite turning in good work and receiving good grades.

“This surprised me somehow: I thought the girls would be the chatty ones—and they were in other contexts, but not during the formal lessons,” she said. “I wondered if this was just my experience. Was it my way of teaching? Was it just this group of students? Was there something I could or should be doing as a teacher to get them talking?”

Since then, Jule, who is also the co-director of TWU’s Gender Studies Institute, has made gender and education her area of research and has looked for ways to address female silence in the classroom. She will share her research and three case studies during her Leaders’ Series lecture at TWU Richmond on Tuesday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m.

While it is 2016, according to Jule, gender roles still have an impact on students’ performance at school. Not all teachers are trained to take that impact into account when managing classrooms and evaluating students.

“Teacher education programs rarely give more than a passing glance to sociocultural variables like gender, ethnicity or socio-economic status, mainly because teacher education programs are so jam-packed with methodology courses focused on content material, classroom management, lesson planning and curriculum development,” Jule said.

Since 2012, Jule has taught a course called Gender and Education as part of the TWU School of Education curriculum. TWU is one of only a few universities in Canada to offer such a course.   

Jule hopes that her upcoming lecture will get people thinking about gender roles and how classrooms can be places of gender rehearsal, with teachers serving as gender coaches.

“We all have a gender identity, and how B.C. schools manage this matters a great deal to what kind of society we want,” she said.

For information about Jule’s lecture and to register, please visit twu.ca/leaders-series.

By Julie Bertrand

TWU NOW

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