Chapter 4. Language, gender and social construction in a pre-school in Gaborone

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This chapter investigates the interaction of pupils in a pre-school in Gaborone, Botswana with the aim of determining whether pre-schools in Botswana develop, enhance, reinforce or challenge gender stereotypes. The data were collected through participant observation and the analysis follows a close reading of classroom transcripts to show how social power, dominance and inequality are played out in the preschool classroom and playground. The study found that boys tend to dominate classroom interactions through games and by using louder voices to attract the teacher’s attention. Both the boys and the girls tend to reinforce gender stereotypes through the games that they play. The study also found that although the teacher tried to use techniques that encourage equal participation by both sexes, she was not successful because she still allocated stereotypical roles to the children: a boy played a doctor and a girl a child-minder.


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