An investigation into teachers' gender perceptions and their influence on female learners' e-learning proficiency

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University of Fort Hare


The purpose of this study was to determine whether gender perceptions of teachers do have a negative impact on e-learning of female learners in rural and semi-rural schools. A narrative enquiry was used to examine existing gender perceptions of six (6) teachers and119 male and female learners in both rural and semi-rural schools in East London, King William‘s town and Butterworth districts in the Eastern Cape Province in order to discern their values and ideologies that could affect female learners negatively in their e-learning endeavours. Using critical theory of pedagogy, feminism, and constructivism as a theoretical framework, this study argues that that e-learning for females, in particular, girls in rural and semi-rural areas, is tied to their socio-economic well-being and gender perceptions. The study applied the sequential mixed methods approach of qualitative narrative inquiry (interviews) and quantitative research (questionnaires). The findings in this study indicated that the teachers ‘gender perceptions do influence the proficiency of female learners in e-learning classes. Additional factors such as the schools ‘pedagogical concerns and culturally engineered gender stereotypes due to unconditional acceptance of Xhosa rituals such as forced marriages, polygamy, finger-cutting and labial stretching, as a norm, were also found to negatively affect e-learning proficiency of female learners. However, it is also evident that the teachers‘ gender perceptions are not the only factors that influence e-learning proficiency in female learners. The patriarchal societies‘ gender constructions, through socialization by the society and communities surrounding the schools, have an added influence on the female learners‘ low success rate in e-learning. Moreover, lack of support from the Department of Basic Education in e-learning was found to be a contributing factor towards the teachers‘apathy, which influences their perceptions towards e-learning. Finally, this study discovered that there seems to be evident policy gaps between the Constitution, the Department of Education and the Traditional Leadership. The afore-mentioned fraternities seem to influence the schools in rural and semi-rural areas in the Eastern Cape to lean towards patriarchal authority and dictatorship, rather than towards transparent and fair governance for female learners in traditionally male-oriented subjects such as technology.



Sex discrimination in education -- South Africa -- Eastern Cape, Sex role -- Study and teaching -- South Africa -- Eastern Cape, Women in technology -- South Africa -- Eastern Cape, Women -- Effect of technological innovations on -- South Africa -- Eastern Cape