Gender, Participation and Silence in the Language Classroom: Sh-Shushing the Girls

Published in 2003 and now in its second printing, Gender, Participation and Silence in the Language Classroom: Sh-Shushing the Girls is a personal account of Dr. Jule’s ten month study of one grade-two English language learning classroom at a Canadian Punjabi Sikh school where all the students share a Punjabi Sikh heritage. Dr. Jule taped and transcribed teacher-led discussions that revealed the boys occupied more linguistic space (used more words) than the girls by a ratio of 9:1 and sometimes 10:1 (boys: girls).

The book examines how it is that the girls’ silence may have something to do with the construction of gender roles within the classroom and something that emerges as a result of teacher methods. That both gender and ethnicity can be constructed inside a language classroom is “an intuitive truth” that Dr. Jule believes needs to be explored in as many ways as possible and better debated among language educators.

Share this: