I came across an interesting research program exploring gender roles exhibited by parents to toddlers and how it influences the development of children’s creativity. This research was held in a Korean kindergarten setting where majority of children were exposed to traditional male and female gender roles: Men are breadwinners and female are stay-at-home mums.
Research discovered that children exposed to traditional gender roles developed constricted gender views and behaviours, inhibiting the development of divergent thinking and creativity. On the other hand, those who displayed bigender traits showed creative thinking and even higher emotional intelligence.
This research made me think about the tendencies I have observed in my own classroom: I have noticed one introverted boy displaying bigender traits who happens to be incredibly intuitive, sensitive towards others feelings, helpful around class and creative in his expression. It also made me reflect on my own subconscious behaviours that could have been modelled to my kids to their own detriment.
Apparently, children’s gender identity becomes concrete around the age of 6 or 7. I am teaching a class of Grade 2s who are already displaying set masculine and feminine traits. I am in a dilemma as to whether I should let them be or intervene.
Link to research: https://books.google.com.au/books?id=XtQ_JV85bHQC&pg=PA153&lpg=PA153&dq=creativity+and+gender+identity&source=bl&ots=uBi1Xy-WDG&sig=E4XbNhq67f-cnf-e_kdGT1L4R14&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiq-Myf_dXKAhUE0mMKHcvhAs04ChDoAQgwMAU#v=onepage&q=creativity%20and%20gender%20identity&f=false