Exploring Gender in the African Classroom

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Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 on quality education sets a powerful framework for ensuring that educational policies and processes are responsive to the diverse learning needs of girls and boys. This is in recognition of the pivotal role that educational institutions and processes play in setting and enhancing the expectations, opportunities and choices open to girls and boys. In addition, education has the potential to be a space where restrictive gender norms can be challenged and where it is possible to create an enabling environment for girls and boys to achieve their full potential. However, without an intentional focus to understand and address barriers to quality teaching and learning, educational institutions and processes can recreate and replicate inequalities, especially those based on gender differences.

The British Council is committed to collaborating with policymakers, school leaders and teachers in developing curricula, methodologies and educational materials that address gender in education issues. Our approach to gender equality and empowerment of women and girls is informed by a contextual understanding of the different, but equally important, experiences of male and female teachers, educators and learners. As part of the English Connects Action Research (ECAR) programme, the British Council designed a training and mentoring programme for teachers to carry out their own classroom research, but this time in issues related to gender education.

Additionally, this year, the programme involved local teachers acting as mentors for their peers. Thus, three teacher-researchers from Nigeria, Sudan and Ethiopia who participated in the programme in the previous year worked as near-peer mentors for their colleagues, supporting them to carry out their research projects based on their own research experience.

The English Connects Action Research programme in Gender Education supported four selected English language teachers in each of the participating countries, namely Ethiopia, Sudan, Nigeria and Senegal, to gather insights into the gender issues impacting on teaching and learning in their classrooms. The research findings published in this report show the nuanced and multidimensional issues that selected teachers grapple with as they work to build gender-responsive and inclusive teaching and learning environments.


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Copyright remains with the authors of these papers. The papers were originally published by the British Council, Rue AAB-68, Zone B Dakar 6232, Senegal as an e-book which is available here.

The papers have been republished under a Creative Commons CC-BY (Attribution) Licence by Camtree, the Cambridge Teacher Research Exchange.