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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Little Girls Should be Seen and Not Heard: “It's because you always ask WHY!”

Podd, Wendy (2019) Little Girls Should be Seen and Not Heard: “It's because you always ask WHY!”. In: Punk Pedagogies Symposium: programme, 4 - 5 July 2019, Mansions of the Future, 15-16 St. Mary’s Street, Lincoln LN5 7EQ. (Unpublished)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


As a working class female that identified as a ‘punk’ during the 1980s, I never imagined that my destiny would involve completing a PHD and lead me to become a Senior Lecturer in academia. Despite no longer having shaved, black crimped hair and a multitude of piercings, I still identify with punk ideologies that relate to challenging society, equality, free-thought, non-conformity and ideals associated with socialism. This presentation considers the ways in which my identity has informed my approach to teaching and how this can impact upon student learning.
This will consider, my experiences as a lecturer in a University social sciences faculty, and three key aspects; 1) challenging students, 2) discomfort and ‘dis-ease’; and 3) confronting perceptions of a lecturer. In HE environments, there is a growing unease about directly challenging students about their views and perceptions of the world. Increasingly, asking students critical questions or challenging their views, is misconstrued by students as ‘being picked on’ and results in fear of giving the lecturer ‘wrong’ answer. Directly challenging students creates moments of discomfort and dis-ease within the learning environment, which in my view is essential if we are to effectively engage in meaningful dialogues and challenge the world around us.
Over ten years, students have often commented that I am ‘scary’, with one student commenting ‘I’m petrified of you Wendy’. Reflecting upon this, I became increasingly concerned that I was not doing my job properly and that I was unapproachable. I decided to talk to my students and find out why they were scared of me – they informed me, ‘it’s because you always ask WHY’. After some time, I realised that my openness, challenging and critical teaching style did not always conform to students’ perception of a stereotypical lecturer, particularly in the eyes of female students. After considering my own history and identity, I concluded that I am actually scary for all the right reasons and so now embraced my ‘scary’ in my everyday teaching practice.

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Depositing User: Wendy Podd


Item ID: 15849

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Wendy Podd: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2023 16:04
Last Modified: 18 May 2023 09:36


Author: Wendy Podd ORCID iD

University Divisions

Faculty of Education and Society > School of Social Sciences > Centre for Applied Social Sciences


Education > Educational Research
Education > Higher Education
Social Sciences > Sociology

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