A Lot to Learn: Girls, Women, and Education in the 20th Century

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9780889614482: A Lot to Learn: Girls, Women, and Education in the 20th Century
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This is a book of stories about education and women's lives--the author's and her mother's. It is biography and autobiography written as social history. In the first section, Dr. Lenskyj presents the background for her mother's narrative, beginning in 1832 when her grandfather arrived in Sydney. Australia, as a convict. She examines her own girlhood experiences in the 1950s as a child of working class parents who was an outsider in a private girls' school. Using sources from Australian women's history, women's studies, and critical social theory, she situates the two stories in the broader, Australian socio-cultural context of 1900 to 1960. The narrative then moves to the Canadian educational context, documenting the interventions of mothers involved in school-community activism in the 1960s and 1970s in the Toronto Board of Education, and the author's own experiences in a school-community council. The author also examines lesbian and gay activism aimed at educational change in the 1980s and 1990s, including her own role on the writing team that prepared curriculum guidelines on homophobia and sexual orientations for Toronto teachers. Finally, Dr. Lenskyj reflects on her experiences since 1986 as an openly lesbian professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, and discusses developments in anti-oppression teaching in the university in the 1990s.

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About the Author:

Dr. Helen Jefferson Lenskyj is Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto. Her other publications include Out on the Field: Gender, Sport, and Sexualities (Women's Press, 2003), Out of Bounds: Women, Sport, and Sexuality (Women's Press, 1986), Inside the Olympic Industry: Power, Politics, and Activism (SUNY Press, 2000), and Best Olympics Ever? The Social Impacts of Sydney 2000 (SUNY Press, 2002). She was one of the recipients of the 2004 City of Toronto Persons Day Honours. She was recognized as one of 75 women in Toronto who have made a significant contribution to women's equality.

Review:

"A Lot to Learn provides a valuable historical analysis of women's experiences of education, from the perspective of both a student and an academic. It raises important and relevant educational concerns--particularly in terms of social justice--that are crucial to educators internationally. It presents critical comments on issues such as parent participation and activism in schooling that many would find useful. It also provides an insightful discussion of the intersections of gender, sexuality and social class in education, woven throughout an interesting historical discussion of the lives of several generations of women in the one family."

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