University of Naples "Federico II", Department of Humanities (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 4440-4449
ISBN: 978-84-606-5763-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2015
Location: Madrid, Spain
This paper proposes the report of an action-research with undergraduate female students. This action- research aimed to explore the usefulness of experiential workshops with young female university students to promote critical thinking and reflection about gender issues, gender inequality and discrimination. The scope was not only to make people to reflect about social and cultural prejudices, most of them internalized, but also to promote the meaning perspectives’ transformation, according to the theory of the Transformative Learning by Mezirow (1975, 1991), in young women enrolled at university.

The action-research was carried out through various workshops, during the academic course of Historical educational models. In the workshops, the students lived different practices and exercises to make raising consciousness about the ethical topic discussed.
We would like to investigate the influence of these educational workshops on the participants and on their critical thinking.
We adopted also a qualitative instrument for the evaluation of the validity of the experiential workshops, and this instrument was the drawing: students were asked to draw a drawing to represent what means for them the concept of feminity. The drawings were gathered and then analyzed by three independent judges following a structured grid for the qualitative analysis of the drawings. The aim was not to analyze in a diagnostic lens the representations, but to see similarities and differences following a gestalt approach to the drawings, and to formulate various working hypotheses and interpretations.

The results of qualitative analysis of the drawing was then compared with the analysis of their narrative reports about the experience and the individual and collective transformation they passed through. One of the most innovative aspects of the research was the circularity between the practice and the reflection, between the action and the research. Moreover, from the methodological point of view, it was really innovative the adoption in educational field research of the analysis of adults’ drawings, usually adopted in the field of psychology and of the clinical disorder diagnosis.

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Education, action-research, gender issues, perspective transformation, educational processes.