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Gender issues in elementary mathematics teaching materials: a comparative study between China and Australia

posted on 2016-01-01, 00:00 authored by Y Wu, Wanty WidjajaWanty Widjaja, Jun Li
International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) cross-national studies (FIMS, SIMS and TIMSS) show that gender differences in mathematical achievements and attitudes have decreased considerably over thirty years (Hanna, 2000), however, mathematics is still historically stereotyped as a male domain with crucial evidence supporting this belief (Forgasz, Leder, & Kloosterman, 2009). Previous research showed that gender differences in mathematics participation,
performance and achievement existed widely in the majority of English speaking countries, specifically favouring boys (Forgasz, 1992; Hyde, Fennema, & Lamon, 1990; Tiedemann, 2000). Hyde, Lindberg, Linn, Ellis and Williams (2008) pointed out that the stereotype that females lack mathematical ability persists and is widely held by parents and teachers.
Mathematics teaching materials play an important role in mathematics teaching and learning. The contents within mathematical teaching materials are rational, and deliver both explicit and implicit information. The explicit information refers to mathematics knowledge that students can learn from textbooks, while the latter one, also named as hidden curriculum, contains social and cultural messages. Hidden curriculum is a side effect of education. It has deep and long-term influences on students’ construction of math-gender stereotype that impact their future mathematical
learning (Zhang & Zhou, 2008). Therefore, this study will investigate Chinese and
Australian elementary mathematics teaching materials to explore the messages of gender equity and inequity delivered through hidden curriculum including names, images and problem-solving contexts. Based on the findings, practical implications concerning the promotion of equitable gender environments within elementary mathematics teaching materials from a cross-cultural perspective will be discussed.


Title of book

Multidisciplinary research perspectives in education : shared experiences from Australia and China

Chapter number



149 - 160


Sense Publishers

Place of publication

Rotterdam, The Netherlands





Publication classification

B1 Book chapter; B Book chapter

Copyright notice

2016, Sense Publishers




I Liyanage, B Nima

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