Document Type: Conference Papers
Year published: 2006
Conference: 2nd International Conference on Gender Equity Education: Challenges and Possibilities in Gender Equity Education (2006: Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong, China)
Home economics has been a school subject in Hong Kong for over fifty years. It stayed mainly as a female subject until 1999 when a survey on Equal Opportunity in Education was carried out by the Hong Kong Equal Opportunities Commission. The report of that survey revealed that boys were generally deprived of the opportunity in learning home economics in the curriculum. Schools were alert to the situation and home economics has subsequently been offered to both boys and girls in a co-educational environment in most schools in recent years. However, the participation of boys in home economics has caused some concerns in the field. Teachers are particularly anxious of their interaction with boys in a once female-dominated learning environment. Despite they understand that gender bias can be a serious detriment to learning, many are aware that they lack the ability to foster a more equitable teacher-student interaction in the classroom in order to meet the learning needs of both genders. Studies which looked at teacher interactions with boys and girls in different subject areas are abundant, such as Mathematics and Science. However, published studies on interaction in home economics classes are rare particularly in Hong Kong context. This may due to the fact that its history in co-educational learning environment is still short in Hong Kong. This study is a pioneer work which aims to find out whether home economics in Hong Kong co-educational classes supports patriarchal patterns of domination by males as researched in many studies. It also examines whether classroom processes in home economics lessons sustain or break down barriers between the sexes. It is hoped that useful strategies can be generated from this study to help all students participate equally in the classrooms in general, and within home economics lessons in particular.