Feminism in Class

On the 19th of March, in Finland, we celebrate gender equality and equality in a broad sense. As a result, we honour the work of the writer and journalist Minna Canth. For this occasion, we, Juha-Pekka Lehtonen and Sari Halavaara implemented Maria-Isabela Miro’s learning scenario Women, Feminism and Human Rights.

Result of the classroom activities
Minna Canth – a Finnish feminist and a pioneer of women’s rights

Minna Canth (1844-1897) was a writer, feminist and journalist. She took a hard stand on the women issues such as the education of girls. For this reason, we implemented the learning scenario in the course of “Development of the European worldview”. This saw the participation of students aged 16-17 and lasted for 75 minutes. In class, we included Minna Canth as part of the framework of European feminism. Moreover, we analysed the development of women’s rights in the Finnish society.

Online implementation

We implemented the learning scenario online because of the COVID-19 outbreak. This shift resulted in virtual lessons, during which students worked in small groups using the materials provided in the learning scenario. Namely, Finnish teaching materials and Minna Canth’s texts. As for the introduction to Feminism, we used posters and the following study questions:

1.How did the posters illustrate feminism?  

2. What was the role of women in society according to different types of sources at different times? 

3. Can women contribute to the progress of society the same way that men do? 

4. How have famous women in history changed the perception of women in society? 

Then, we applied the acquired knowledge when implementing our activities.

Our activities

We continued our work using Daniel Shapiro’s tree technique to create mind maps. Based on their notes, each student produced a tree of feminism. The tree roots linked to inequalities and problems, whereas the leaves demonstrated actions and influences in the women’s rights movement. On the other hand, fruits depicted the main achievements of the movement. Followingly, we shared completed trees on the Google Classroom learning platform. Then discussed them together in a virtual lesson, utilizing peer review.

Teachers’ remarks

The original learning scenario is creative and naturally combines inquiry-based learning and collaborative learning. It was easy to add the Finnish twist to the learning package. As a result, the students found the assignments fun, different. This served as a new way to process what they have learned.

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