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Gender Training for Science Teachers in Kenya: Does It Really Make A Difference?

Esther W. Kamau-Ndung'u


The importance of science education cannot be overemphasized in today’s world. Nonetheless, the absence of women in scientific fields reflects serious gender inequities, which has been argued largely emanate from science teachers’ classroom practices. Many factors influence teachers’ classroom practices, key among them teacher training. This paper presents findings from a qualitative case study that investigated how teachers on an in-service program for mathematics and science in secondary schools address gender issues in the classrooms following gender training. The study employed multiple data collection methods: document analysis, observation, and individual and focus group interviews. It engaged two male science teachers, and students in two final year secondary classrooms from one public co-educational school. Study findings showed that gender issues formed a very small component of the teacher in-service training, yet the aim was to bring about an attitudinal change among mathematics and science teachers. Additionally, the training was itself gendered because it mainly focused on the learning of science by girls only. Consequently, teachers were not adequately prepared to address gender issues, particularly those related to the boy child, and their classroom practices showed minimal gender sensitivity. The article argues that there is need to not only equip teachers with knowledge on gender issues but also the skills of addressing such issues so as to encourage both boys and girls to learn science. It further advocates for inclusion of a gender component in teacher preparation and development programs in order to raise their consciousness and capabilities of dealing with the effects of a dominantly patriarchal society.


Gender; Gender issues; Teacher training; Science teachers; Pedagogy

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JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies. ISSN: 1530-5686 (online).
Editors: Nkiru Nzegwu; Book Editor: Mary Dillard.

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