GENDER IN EFL CLASSROOM: TRANSITIVITY ANALYSIS

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Indonesian Journal of Applied Linguistics, Vol. 7 No. 1, May 2017, pp. 206-214GENDER IN EFL CLASSROOM: TRANSITIVITY ANALYSISIN ENGLISH TEXTBOOK FOR INDONESIAN STUDENTSiEmi EmiliaNicke Yunita MoecharamIva Laela SyifaUniversitas Pendidikan [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected] received: 27 February 2017Final Proof Received: 30 May 2017AbstractThis paper is concerned with the topic of gender in EFL classroom, particularly in Indonesiancontext. Owing to the framework proposed by Sunderland (1992), the paper focuses on thediscussion of gender in classroom materials, i.e. English textbooks. Selected reading passages wereanalyzed within the framework of Transitivity system of functional grammar (Halliday &Mathiessen, 2004; Haliday & Mathiessen, 2014). The Processes in the texts (e.g. travel, walk, andclimb) reveal that males were perpetually constructed as ‘adventurous’, ‘risk taker’, ‘active’,‘independent’, and ‘capable’. Meanwhile, the Processes also indicate that the females were shaped asmore ‘passive', ’expressive’, ‘nurturing’, and ‘unassertive’ than their male counterparts (Blackstone,2003; Evans & Davies, 2000). The findings suggest that the gender roles were presented in anasymmetrical manner. The paper provides recommendation in terms of how both teachers andstudents can develop gender awareness in the classroom practices through the use of the textbooks.Keywords: gender in education; gender in EFL classroom; English textbook; transitivity systemGender has been an emerging issue in educationsince it is involved in how teacher and studentsestablish social commitments to teaching andlearning practice. Sunderland (1992) notes thatgender maneuvers not only on the level of materials,but it also manifests in various levels, which interactwithin the contexts of political, sociolinguistic, andeducational, as seen in Figure 1.Many issues related to gender in educationhave been explored, including the portrayal ofgender in learning materials. The content of learningmaterials is considered important to be seriouslytaken into account since it is believed to influencethe process of teaching and learning that takes place.Regarding this, special attention has been given toone kind of learning materials which has beenwidely used in schools: textbooks (see Evans &Davies, 2000; Toçi & Aliu, 2013; Yasin et al., 2012).Moreover, textbook is considered the most potentialinstrument that can help students build desirableattitudes (Sumalatha, 2004, cited in Toçi & Aliu,2013).Figure 1. Gender manuevers in various context206doi: dx.doi.org/10.17509/ijal.v7i1.6877

Emilia, Moecharam, and Syifa, Gender in EFL classroom: Transitivity analysis.Over the past decades, the intention forconducting the research in the field of genderedcontent materials in textbooks has raised a numberof interests (Kereszty, 2009). It is derived from theawareness of providing students with appropriateservice, including learning materials, to avoidmisconception of gender i.e. gender biasness andsexism (Evans & Davies, 2000; Yasin et al., 2012).Sexism in textbooks, as Xiaoping (2005) suggests,can be avoided by presenting the figure of men andwomen in a fair range of human interests, traits, andcapabilities without omitting the action andachievement of women. This statement is supportedby Clegg (2008) and Gove and Watt (2000) whoconsider it important for the students to be exposedwith the learning materials as they willsubconsciously form their own images of males andfemales as members of society as a part of identityformation. Regarding this, Eckert (2003) adds thatstudents at their adolescent period are going througha life-stage at which a tremendous amount ofidentity work is being done, and the conception ofgender is salient towards the formation of selfidentity.Since EFL materials presumably can haveunconscious influence towards students, aninvestigation of how gender is installed in thelanguage of textbooks is needed. Thus, to explorewhat might be the empirical workings of genderportrayal, construction, and/or representation, ananalysis by means of Systemic FunctionalLinguistics was conducted. In short, this paperpresents the results of a study of genderrepresentation in reading passages EFL textbooks.and females hold in society from which a set ofideas about appropriate gender behaviors thatgovern the lives of males and females areconstructed accordingly. Blackstone (2003) andLorber (2003) state that from the moment of birth,one’s gender role is determined on the basis of one’ssex category and is dependent upon social andcultural experiences; and once the role of gender isevident, it will continue to develop as long as socialinteraction takes place.Concerning the development of gender roles, itis argued that mainstream cultures from whichgender roles are stemmed is the central value placedon domination (Eisler in Francis, 2004). This can beunderstood by examining the notions of gendersymmetry and gender asymmetry.The discussion of gender symmetry and genderasymmetry often appear in the research of domesticviolence, along with other keywords such asintimate terrorism, intimate partner violence (IPV)and violent resistance. Thus, the attempt to definegender symmetry and gender asymmetry mostlyfinds its way to sociology and law context.Gender symmetry can be viewed as a theorythat highlights a condition where women commitviolence (IPV) at the same rate as men, which occurin a region, at a particular period of time (Straus andGelles cited in Johnson, 2006). National FamilyViolence Survey conducted in 1975 in The UnitedStates of America recorded a staggering statisticwhere about 11.6% of men and 12% of women hadto go through various forms of IPV within a year.Conversely, a condition where women receivedviolent treatment much more than men in a domesticsetting refers to gender asymmetry. Men’scommission of intimate partner violence againstwomen, in many cases, originates from theperceptions of masculinity and patriarchy (Francis,2004). This paper does not make use of genderasymmetry in the context of domestic violence. Yet,it employs the concept of domination of women bymen in other contexts relevant to their gender roles.Domination of one group over others impliespower asymmetry as its goal, and is dependent on it.The exercise of power asymmetry colors theinteractions between those who are associated withits domination and those who are on the receivingend (Francis, 2004). How power is practiced insociety affects the way men and women behave andinteract with each other as well.It leads to howgender roles are constructed, dictating what meritsgiven to both female and male. In other words,gender can be narrated as a consequence frompowerful discourse that becomes social customs(Blackstone, 2003; Francis, 2004). These two can beaddressed as culture where they consist of set ofbeliefs that position and subjugate the society,giving each of the members prescribed roles andattainments which should meet in order to obtain theGender Roles, Gender Symmetry and GenderAsymmetryGender is defined as socially determined ideas andpractices of what it is to be female or male (Reeves& Baden, 2000). It is not an ontological state ofbeing that one simply ‘is’, but rather a process ofone’s ‘becoming’ produced in and through socialinteraction (Deutsch, 2007; Salih, 2002). Gender issubconsciously and constantly produced and reproduced out of human interactions, out of sociallife, and is the texture and order of that social life(Lorber, 2003). Human interaction develops andgives cues about what sort of behavior is believed tobe appropriate for men and women, giving men andwomen certain roles according to their biological,social, and cultural states—gender roles (Blackstone,2003). Gender roles shape different kinds of lifeexperiences of men and women, and theseexperiences produce different kinds of feeling,consciousness, relationships, skills—ways of beingthat can be labeled as feminine or masculine(Blackstone, 2003; Lorber, 2003).Gender roles, according to Blackstone (2003)and Lorber (2003), are closely intertwined withcultural and the different levels of power that males207

Indonesian Journal of Applied Linguistics, Vol. 7 No. 1, May 2017, pp. 206-214idea of propriety, including the distinct rule ofbecoming male and female—gender roles.In terms of its creation, gender roles aresometimes created based on stereotypes aboutgender (Blackstone, 2003). Gender stereotypes areoversimplified understandings of males and femalesand the differences between them. Individualssometimes base their perceptions about appropriategender roles upon gender stereotypes. Genderstereotypes tend to include exaggerated or erroneousassertions about the nature of males and females.For example, a common gender stereotype aboutmales is that they are not emotional. Females, on theother hand, are commonly stereotyped as beingirrational or overly emotional (Blackstone, 2003;Schmenk, 2004). This stereotypical view based onthe exercise of power in society often explains theoppression of women. However, it is continuouslylessening over time as the awareness of genderequality emerges within society. In educational level,for instance, increasing attention has been given tothe importance of achieving gender equality which itserves as a provision of equal conditions, treatmentand opportunity for both men and women to realizetheir full potential, human rights, and dignity, aswell as opportunities to contribute to and benefitfrom economic, social, cultural, and politicaldevelopment. This has been a point of departure ofhow gendered-content materials in textbooksbecome one of the emerging issues to be taken intoaccount, since textbooks are considered as one ofthe ways for students to acquire and comprehendtheir gender conception (Toçi & Aliu, 2013; Yasinet al, 2012). In order to achieve this goal, one of theways is to conduct an analysis towards the languageuse in the textbooks since language is a mediumthrough which ideas and ideology of the speakersinfluenced by various social contexts can be traced(Halliday & Matthiessen, 2004). Thus, throughlanguage, how gender is installed in one specificdiscourse—classroom discourse—, as this study isconcerned with, can be identified.Gender Issues in EFL TextbooksPrevious research on the topic of genderrepresentation in EFL textbooks had noted issuessuch as the number of males and females’occurrences in teaching materials, male firstness,noun and pronoun system, and discourse of genderroles (Sunderland, 1994; Dominguez, 2003;Stockdale, 2006; Mineshima, 2008).The occurrences of males in most EFLtextbooks indicate women’s invisibility in literatureand media, which should be the primary concernsfor educators and publishers. The fact that womendo not receive as much as attention as men in booksoften lead to heavy gender bias, which mostlymaterialize in the order of mentioning the pair of sex.For instance, the naming of he/she, where he alwayscomes first, or Mr. and Mrs. In their research,Hartmand and Judd (cited in Mineshima, 2008) statethat such automatization might encourage thepositioning of women to be the second class in thesociety.Regarding gender issues that appear ontextbooks and the uses of textbooks in a classroom,Sunderland (2000) proposes an analyticalframework that took account of both the text itselfand what is said about it. This framework is in theform of classification system, which canaccommodate the different discoursal treatmentsaccorded to different text type.Figure 2. An analytical framework for teacher treatment of gendered textbook texts(Sunderland, 2000)208

Emilia, Moecharam, and Syifa, Gender in EFL classroom: Transitivity analysis.The model provides an outlook of how thetextbooks used in this study positioned issues ofgender, whether they maintain the representation ofgender roles or go beyond that representation. Theimplication of this is mostly visible in classroom useof the text.also to why and how it matters to them. Sauntson(2008) particularly adds that in investigating “reallife language practices”, which includes gender andsexuality, a linguistic analysis may be required toexplore what might be the empirical workings n.Last but not least, SFL concerns text (ratherthan sentences) as the basic unit through whichmeaning is negotiated, as it allows involvement intoa whole text as a meaningful passage rather thanisolated sentence or utterance (Eggins, 2004).Therefore, it is possible to discover the portrayal ofgender roles in textbooks—particularly manifestedin narratives by treating the text as a whole which iscontextually bound to thematically social context.Systemic Functional LinguisticsBased on what has been explained in previoussection, gender is practically living in a discourseand can be identified through the use of language.Therefore, to comprehend the relation betweengender and language, it is important to gear towardslanguage in the lens of Systemic FunctionalLinguistics (latter referred to SFL). SFL is a socialtheory of language originally developed by alinguist Michael Halliday and expanded in the lasttwo decades through the work of many scholarsaround the world (Achugar & Colombi, 2008). Thetheory situates language development in its sociohistorical context, linking patterns of language useto culturally relevant situations. Moreover, thetheory suggests that language is the main channelthrough which the patterns of living are transmittedas a medium for an individual to act as a member ofa society to adopt its culture, mode of thought andaction, and beliefs and values (Halliday &Mathiessen, 2004; 2014). That being, gender—treated as societal phenomena—also lingers in theroof of language transmissions from practiceddiscourse, channeling and being channeled from oneindividual to part of society.SFL recognizes language as a social semioticsystem and the most complete system of signs.According to Halliday (1994, cited in Emilia, ously. One is “social” used in the sense ofthe social system, which is synonymous with theculture. While the other “social” is used to indicatethat SFL is concerned particularly with therelationships between language and social structure,considering the social structure as one aspect of thesocial system (Emilia, 2005, p. 47). Not only doesSFL perceive language as a social system, it alsoconsiders language a resource for making meaningrather than a system of rules (Christie, 1990, cited inEmilia, 2005; Halliday, 1994 cited in Emilia, 2005;Halliday & Martin, 1993, cited in Emilia, 2005).Language then works and engineers structures toconstruct meaning, as they represent the world andits reality (Gerrot & Wignell, 1994). That is a pointof departure of how language then becomes therepresentation of the world through ’the soundingmind’—borrowing the speaker’s lens while seeingthe world, leaving the trace to unpack the underlyingideology as well as beliefs, values, and attitudesshared within the language used (Halliday &Matthiessen, 2004). This clearly explicates howlanguage is then eligible to represent how the mindssubject gender—the gendered and gendering—asTransitivity System in SFL to Explore GenderRoles in Textbook LanguageTransitivity in SFL generally refers to how meaningis represented in the clause. Linguistically,Transitivity is concerned with propositionalmeanings and functions of syntactic elements.According to SFL, Transitivity system realizes oneof the three metafunctions of language developed byHalliday (experiential, interpersonal, and textualmetafunctions), that is to the experientialmetafunction. The Transitivity system is the overallgrammatical resource for construing goings on(Martin, Matthiessen & Painter, 1997, p. 100, citedin Emilia, 2005; Fontaine, 2013; Emilia, 2014). Inshort, Transitivity refers to grammatical system bywhich the experiential meaning of the clause isachieved. Furthermore, Transitivity is the resourcefor interpreting and expressing events, happenings,goings-on, mental states, sayings, behaviors, andrelations of different kinds.Unlike Transitivity in traditional grammar,Transitivity in functional grammar does not deal indistinguishing verbs according to whether they havean object or not, but refers to a system for describingthe whole clause, rather than just the verb and itsobject. The Transitivity system construes the worldof experience into a manageable set of process types(Halliday, 1994a, p. 106 cited in Halliday &Matthiessen, 2004; 2014). Transitivity discriminatessix different types of processes in English: Material,Mental, Relational, Verbal, Behavioral andExistential. In addition, each clause, Halliday(1994a, p. 107 cited in Gerrot & Wignell, 1994)further suggests, consists, in principle of threecomponents: The Process itself; the Participants;and Circumstances.Processes are central to Transitivity, it refers towhat is going on with the Participant—the actor—ina particular situation—Circumstance. According toHalliday and Matthiessen (2004), from six differenttypes of processes, Material, Verbal, and Relationalprocesses are considered as the main process inTransitivity. Material and Mental process209

Indonesian Journal of Applied Linguistics, Vol. 7 No. 1, May 2017, pp. 206-214distinguishes between outer experience, theprocesses of the external world, and innerexperience, the processes of consciousness. Inaddition to Material and Mental processes, the thirdcomponent has to be applied to relate one fragmentof experience to another. Thus, the grammarrecognizes the process of the third type, which isRelational process (p. 170).Additionally, Halliday and Matthiessen (2004,2014, p. 171) further identify that there are othertypes of processes located at the three boundaries.On the borderline between Material and Mental arethe Behavioral processes; those that represent theaction form of processes of consciousness andpsychological states. On the borderline of Mentaland Relational is the category of Verbal processes:symbolic relationship constructed in humanconsciousness and enacted in the form of language,like saying and meaning. Moreover, on theborderline between the Relational and the Materialare the processes concerned with existence, theExistential, by which phenomena of all kinds aresimply recognized to ‘be’— to exist.b.The components of Participants (e.g. Actor,sayer, senser, or goal, phenomenon,verbiage), Processes (e.g. Process ofmaterial, verbal, mental, existential), andCircumstances (e.g. Circumstances oflocation and time, matter, manner,accompaniment) were were identified as thepre-requisite to further analyse the clauses.The following are the examples of Materialprocess assigned to both male and femalecharacters:RudiActor(M)is playingProcess:MaterialballGoalwith his dog.Circumstance:AccompanimentLita and Anna are playingswing.Actors (F)Process: Material Goal(Interactive English, “Holiday in the Beach” p. 60)c.METHODSThe research employed qualitative descriptiveanalysis to embark on investigating the portrayal ofgender roles in selected English textbooks for JuniorHigh School students. To obtain the data, theresearch involved two printed English textbooksfrom two different publishers; Interactive English(Iragiliati et al., 2014) and Bright (Zaida, 2014).The analysis of the research focused on 22selected reading passages regarding the gender rolesof the characters. Once the textual data wereobtained, they were approached by the Transitivitysystem (Halliday & Matthiessen, 2004, 2014) basedon the following steps:a. The texts were analysed at clause level.d.The observed components were then labelledby specific roles, based on the representedparticipants (Actor: Sayer, Senser, existentg,Behaver, Carrier; Processes: Material,Verbal, Mental, behavioural, Existentia,Relational; and Circumstances: Location,Time, Manner, Matter, Accompaniment,Angle

discourse—classroom discourse—, as this study is concerned with, can be identified. Gender Issues in EFL Textbooks Previous research on the topic of gender representation in EFL textbooks had noted issues such as the number of males and females’ occurrences in teaching materials, male firstness,