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Gender studies, E-learning English, аdvantages and disadvantages

Gender studies is a theoretical work in the social sciences or humanities that focuses on issues of sex and gender in language and society, and often addresses related issues including racial and ethnic oppression, postcolonial societies, and globalization. Work in gender studies influences and is influenced by the related fields of Ethnic Studies, African American Studies, Asian American Studies, Latino/a Studies, and Native American Studies.
Work in gender studies is often associated with work in feminist theory, queer studies, and other theoretical aspects of cultural studies. While work in gender studies is principally found in humanities departments and publications (in areas such as English literature and other literary studies), it is also found in social-scientific areas such as women's studies, anthropology, sociology, and psychology.
Gender in Psychology
The aggregate body of literature in the field of psychology says little about gender in certain and absolute terms. An enormous number of pages exist exploring the practical differences between men and women at present, but few if any provide uncontradicted information on the exact cause of those differences. There is an ongoing debate concerning Nature versus nurture that shows no sign of being resolved in the near future; while the issue of whether certain characteristics are determined by genetic factors or by exposure to environmental factors is important in general, it is particularly important in light of modern feminist concerns.
Sex/gender distinction
The sex/gender distinction is a concept in feminist theory, political feminism, and sociology which distinguishes sex, a natural or biological feature, from gender, the cultural or learned significance of sex. Taken to its limit, the distinction maintains that gender is totally undetermined by sex.
The distinction is strategically important for some strands of feminist theory and politics, particularly second-wave feminism, because on it is premised the argument that gender is not biological destiny, and that the patriarchal oppression of women is a cultural phenomenon which need not necessarily follow from biological sexual difference. The distinction allows feminists to accept some form of natural sexual difference while criticizing gender inequality. Some third-wave feminists like Judith Butler and French feminists like Monique Wittig and social constructionists within sociology have disputed the biological-natural status the distinction imputes to sex, arguing instead that both sex and gender are culturally constructed and structurally complicit.
In official documents (eg. IQ tests, government documents) more and more the word 'sex' is being replaced by the word 'gender'. To add to the problems there is usually not enough space to write 'masculine' or 'feminine' which are examples of the correct term, so one is forced to write 'male?' or 'female' which is incorrect. This is a worldwide trend because of the conservative attitude towards the word sex.


E-learning English
E-learning is an all-encompassing term generally used to refer to computer-enhanced learning, although it is often extended to include the use of mobile technologies such as PDAs and MP3 players. It may include the use of web-based teaching materials and hypermedia in general, multimedia CD-ROMs or web sites, discussion boards, collaborative software, e-mail, blogs, wikis, text chat, computer aided assessment, educational animation, simulations, games, learning management software, electronic voting systems and more, with possibly a combination of different methods being used.
Along with the terms learning technology and Educational Technology, the term is generally used to refer to the use of technology in learning in a much broader sense than the computer-based training or Computer Aided Instruction of the 1980s. It is also broader than the terms Online Learning or Online Education which generally refer to purely web-based learning. In cases where mobile technologies are used, the term M-learning has become more common.
F.-learning is naturally suited to distance learning and flexible learning, but can also be used in conjunction with face-to-face teaching, in which case the term Blended learning is commonly used.
In higher education especially, the increasing tendency is to create a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) (which is sometimes combined with a Managed Information System (MIS) to create a Managed Learning Environment) in which all aspects of a course are handled through a consistent user interface standard throughout the institution. A growing number of physical universities, as well as newer online-only colleges, have begun to offer a select set of academic degree and certificate programs via the Internet at a wide range of levels and in a wide range of disciplines.
E-learning can also refer to educational web sites such as those offering worksheets and interactive exercises for children. The term is also used extensively in the business sector where it generally refers to cost-effective online training.
Advantages and disadvantages
Advantages of e-learning often include flexibility and convenience for the learner especially if they have other commitments, facilitation of communication between learners, greater adaptability to a learner's needs, more variety in learning experience with the use of multimedia and the non-verbal presentation of teaching material. Video instruction provides visual and audio learning that can be paused, and reversed for watching again. For organizations with distributed and constantly changing learners (e.g. restaurant staff), e-learning has huge benefits when compared with orgnizing classroom training.
Others are critical of e-learning in the context of education, because the face-to-face human interaction with a teacher has been removed from the process, and thus, some argue, the process is no longer "educational" in the highest philosophical sense (for example, as defined by RS Peters, a philosopher of education). However, these human interactions can be encouraged through audio or video-based web-conferencing programs.
Pedagogical approaches
There are four fundamental pedagogical perspectives which historically have influenced the approach to computer based pedagogy, distance education and continues to provide guiding principles for the pedagogy of e-learning:
Cognitive perspective – which focuses on the cognitive processes involved in learning as well as how the brain works.
Emotional perspective – which focuses on the emotional aspects of learning, like motivation, engagement, fun, etc.
Behavioural perspective – which focuses on the skills and behavioural outcomes of the learning process. Role-playing and application to on-the-job settings.
Contextual perspective – which focuses on the environmental and social aspects which can stimulate learning. Interaction with other people, collaborative discovery and the importance of peer support as well as pressure.


Ethno-Cultural Component in Global English
Intercultural communication principles
Intercultural communication principles guide the process of exchanging meaningful and unambiguous information across cultural boundaries, in a way that preserves mutual respect and minimises antagonism. For these purposes, culture is a shared system of symbols, beliefs, attitudes, values, expectations, and norms of behaviour. It refers to coherent groups of people whether resident wholly or partly within state territories, or existing without residence in any particular territory. Hence, these principles may have equal relevance when a tourist seeks help, where two well-established independent corporations attempt to merge their operations, and where politicians attempt to negotiate world peace. Two factors have raised the importance of this topic:*
improvements in communication and transportation technology have made it possible for previously stable cultures to meet in unstructured situations, e.g. the internet opens lines of communication without mediation, while budget airlines transplant ordinary citizens into unfamilar milieux. Experience proves that merely crossing cultural boundaries can be considered theatening, while positive attempts to interact may provoke defensive responses. Misunderstanding may be compounded by either an exaggerated sensitivity to possible slights, or an exaggerated and over-protective fear of giving offence;*
some groups believe that the phenomenon of globalisation has reduced cultural diversity and so reduced the opportunity for misunderstandings, but characterising people as a homogeneous market is simplistic. One product or brand only appeals to the material aspirations of one self-selecting group of buyers, and its sales performance will not affect the vast multiplicity of factors that may separate the cultures.
People from different cultures encode and decode messages differently, increasing the chances of misunderstanding, so the safety-first consequence of recognising cultural differences should be to assume that everyone's thoughts and actions are not just like ours. Such assumptions stem from potentially devastating ignorance and can lead to much frustration for members of both cultures. Entering a culture with this type of egocentrism, the assumption your own culture is correct, is another byproduct of ignorance and cultural misunderstanding. Main types of misunderstanding are:
Language
Even when two people think they can speak each other's language, the chance of error is high. Usages and contextual inferences may be completely different between cultures. So even though one speaker may have learned the vocabulary of the other's language, selecting the most appropriate words, with the correct intonation, spoken with appropriate eye contact while standing a proper distance from the other are all critical even before one considers the propriety of the topic to be discussed.
It is essential that people research the cultures and communication conventions of those whom they propose to meet. This will minimise the risk of making the elementary mistakes. It is also prudent to set a clear agenda so that everyone understands the nature and purpose of the interaction. When language skills are unequal, clarifying one's meaning in four ways will improve communication:
1. avoid using slang and idioms, choosing words that will convey only the most specific denotative meaning;
2. listen carefully and, if in doubt, ask for confirmation of understanding (particularly important if local accents and pronunciation are a problem);
3. recognise that accenting and intonation can cause meaning to vary significantly; and
4. respect the local communication formalities and styles, and watch for any changes in body language.
5. Investigate their culture's perception of your culture by reading literature about your culture through their eyes before entering into communication with them. This will allow you to prepare yourself for projected views of your culture you will be bearing as a visitor in their culture.
If it is not possible to learn the other's language, it is expedient to show some respect by learning a few words. In all important exchanges, a translator can convey the message.
When writing, the choice of words represent the relationship between the reader and the writer so more thought and care should be invested in the text since it may well be thoroughly analysed by the recipient.
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