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Feminist Pedagogy in Theory and Practice: An Empirical Investigation

Frances L. Hoffmann and Jayne E. Stake
NWSA Journal
Vol. 10, No. 1 (Spring, 1998), pp. 79-97
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4316555
Page Count: 19
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Feminist Pedagogy in Theory and Practice: An Empirical Investigation
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Abstract

Most women's studies theorists agree on the principles and goals of women's studies pedagogy, yet serious concerns about the legitimacy and distinctiveness of these teaching methods have been raised. There is virtually no empirical data on the nature and range of teaching methods currently endorsed by women's studies teachers to inform this debate. The present study provides the first data of this kind. We developed a scale to measure teachers' commitment to four facets of women's studies pedagogy described by feminist pedagogic theorists: creation of participatory classroom communities, validation of personal experience, encouragement of social understanding and activism, and development of critical thinking skills/open-mindedness. Results from 105 teachers from seven midwestern universities indicated strong endorsement of all pedagogy facets across teacher gender, race, age, teaching experience, and institutional affiliation. Contrary to recent critiques of feminist pedagogy, teachers strongly endorsed the critical thinking and open-mindedness goals, particularly if they had more extensive women's studies experience and involvement. Further, teachers distinguished between their pedagogic commitments in Women's Studies versus non-women's studies classes.

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