Attitudes of prospective English language teachers towards learning materials focusing on gender sensitivity

Türkmenoğlu, Melike Ayşe
This study aims to explore the attitudes prospective English language teachers have towards gender sensitive learning materials, and their attitudes towards using such materials in their own teaching. Sixty four senior students studying at a public university in Turkey participated in this qualitative case study. Data were gathered through a written questionnaire, audio-recordings of group discussions, and semi-structured interviews. Categorized for being positive, neutral, or negative, the results indicated that there are a variety of reasons for the participants’ attitudes. The most repeated reasons for their positive attitude towards gender sensitive learning materials was raising awareness through the topic and the topic being acceptable. Some of the responses showed that the participants had a neutral attitude towards such materials which were due to participants’ personal concerns and the topic requiring caution. Their negative attitude was mainly due to the controversy of the topic. The participants’ positive attitude towards using gender sensitive materials was mainly due to the authenticity of the topic, and their desire to demolish bias. Their neutral attitude was dependent on students, institution and societal differences. Finally, their negative attitude was due to the reluctance towards the topic and because the topic was found to be inappropriate for learners. Suggestions were made by the participants on the appropriate audience, environment, and context which gender sensitive materials can be used in. Although it may be difficult, such materials can be used in teaching as long as precautions are taken and the materials are adapted according to the audience.