June 19, 2009

Gendered talking styles when learning in groups

Writing about web page http://edrev.asu.edu/reviews/rev108.htm

The following is an interesting take on the extent to which time spent talking on task and establishing rapport in a group is gendered. Here is a short extract from Education Review (a journal of book reviews) on 'Hayes, Elizabeth; Flannery, Daniele D. with Brooks, Ann; Tisdell, Elizabeth; and Hugo, Jane. (2000). Women as Learners: The Significance of Gender in Adult Learning' reviewed by Richard W. Race, (Keele University):

'Hayes suggests that talk in the classroom needs to strike a balance between report talk and rapport talk. She contrasts this perspective with one that simply favors the practice of teaching women to become more adept at report talk. Her concern with the latter approach is that it ignores an important benefit of women's more tentative approach, namely its sensitivity to multiple sides of an issue. Helping women make better use of report talk, however, might enable them to exercise their voices more effectively in work and academic settings. In the end, Hayes points out the wisdom of efforts to expand the talking-style repertoire of both men and women. 

Hayes concludes the chapter with the reminder that there are multiple voices and multiple identities that need to be honored in all learning environments. Because domination by one cultural voice should be resisted, adult educators ought to examine the connection between voice and power in their classrooms, workplaces, and other sites in which teaching and learning take place. Hayes argues that the best solution is to strive for collective voice and shared power. And she asks the following question to foster thinking about ways to realize such a solution in practice: "How might we support women in developing individual and group voices?" (p. 109).'

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