Language News: Gender in Sweden

Anybody who has worked with small children knows that one of the fastest ways to get a large group of them to be quiet (or do anything else you’d like them to do) is to pit the girls against the boys.  But, what if we didn’t do that?  A school in Stolkholm, Sweden is experimenting with this possibility–even going so far as to remove gendered pronouns from their forms of address whenever possible.  The technique is drawing criticism, but it raises some interesting questions about the effects that an educational system can have on gendered behavior.  You can read more about this on the Huffington Post, by clicking on this link about the school:  Egalia.

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About LingEducator

Dr. Jaclyn Ocumpaugh received a PhD for her dissertation on regional variation in the acoustics of Mexican American English (Michigan State University, East Lansing). Before that, she received an MA in English/Linguistics from North Carolina State University for her work on the acoustics of /r/--a sound which is highly variable in the English language. Her passion, however, has always been to understand the social implications of language variation. In addition to her work in acoustic sociophonetics, she has worked with rape trial analysis, developed cognitive methods for understanding discourse level variation between men and women, and created sophisticated tools for teaching future educators about the kinds of dialect variation they will find in the classroom. She has taught classes in English, Linguistics, and Education at Old Dominion University, William & Mary, the University of Mary Washington, and Virginia Wesleyan College. She is currently a Post Doctoral Fellow of Learning Sciences and Technologies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she is helping to develop models of student engagement in the classroom. She also consults in the private sector.
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