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Business English, Professional English, Legal English, Medical English, Academic English etc.
Online peer-reviewed Journal for Teachers

English for Specific Purposes World (ESP World)

English for Specific Purposes World

ISSN 1682-3257

English for Specific Purposes World (ESP World) Home    Information   ESP Encyclopaedia    Resources    Contacts

Breaking gender stereotypes in technology education: Developing strategies in the English classroom

Carmen Pérez-Sabatera  and María Luisa Pérez-Sabaterb

a - Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia, Spain

b - Instituto de Secundaria de Turís, Valencia, Spain


Recent research on gender issues has highlighted the scarcity of women in technology education. The need to close the gender gap in these university studies has been addressed by administrations and professionals in the field. In this line, this article presents the results of a project carried out in two learning environments: a university ESP course and a general English language class in secondary education. First, in order to observe gender bias, a discourse analysis of textbooks for English as a Foreign Language (EFL) was undertaken, focusing on the specific topics of science and technology to observe the representation of women and sexist language in written discourse. Then, as a speaking exercise, some simulation activities were devised and carried out in the English class aiming at helping students to be aware of gender imbalance in the field of technology. These activities gave rise to a discussion on gender stereotypes in the media as well. The article concludes with the educational value of these learning strategies and their implications for society. The debriefing sessions carried out suggest that the project has served to motivate learners of English and has promoted gender bias awareness in different branches of engineering. The novelty of the project consists in interacting language skills, mainly speaking, with strategies developed to promote the incorporation of females in higher technological education, both in an ESP university course and in secondary education.

Keywords: ELT, ESP, technology education, simulation, gender discrimination.

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