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Recognizing the Hidden Curriculum of Gender Roles The Relationship Between Reading and Gender. A Master’s Research Project by Catherine Holland St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Introduction. Schools: tools for socialization Stated curriculum vs. “hidden curriculum” (Giroux, 1988)

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recognizing the hidden curriculum of gender roles the relationship between reading and gender

Recognizing the Hidden Curriculum of Gender RolesThe Relationship Between Reading and Gender

A Master’s Research Project by

Catherine HollandSt. Mary’s College of Maryland

introduction
Introduction
  • Schools: tools for socialization
  • Stated curriculum vs. “hidden curriculum” (Giroux, 1988)
  • Reinforcing traditional gender roles
the problem
The Problem
  • Researchers report gender inequalities
    • On standardized tests (Lietz, 2006; Marks, 2008)
    • Increasing over time (Klecker, 2006)
    • Influencing educational policies (Martino & Kehler 2007)
the problem1
The Problem
  • Gender Similarities Hypothesis (Hyde, 2005)
  • Gender isn’t a predictor of causal thinking abilities (Berkant, 2009)
  • Gender isn’t related to preferred learning style (Younger & Warrington, 2005 as cited in Watson, Kehler, & Martino, 2010)
the problem2
The Problem

Differences between genders are socially created, not biologically innate.

research questions
Research Questions
  • Do boys consider reading to be a gendered activity? Do girls?
  • Is it primarily teachers or their students who replicate and encourage these gender-specific behaviors and opinions?
population
Population
  • AP English Literature students; grade 12
  • English teachers
  • Public high school in Southern Maryland
methods
Methods
  • Affective survey
    • Questionnaire
    • Open-ended question
    • Book descriptions
  • Student interviews
  • Teacher interviews
findings
Findings

*p < .05

findings2
Findings

“Depends on the text. A lot of the stories that we’re doing are not geared toward young men…They’re definitely reluctant.”

“No. They’re a harder sell.”

“No.”

“Um, if it’s about things that they like

to read about. We did The Contender

and it was about boy-things, they don’t like to read about love stories. It has a little bit of boy violence or things that they could relate to.”

findings3
Findings
  • Teacher responses to: “Do you find that the girls in your class like reading?”
  • All four responded yes:
    • Compared to boys in the class
    • More obedient
findings4
Findings

“Not a particular genre, but I like really descriptive books. I’m trying to think of particular books…realistic that I could see happening somewhere to someone real.”

“Love stories.”

“Fiction novels in general. No specific genre.”

“Favorite genre – anything that twists reality. Anything that messes with your perception and then gives you a shock. Thriller is too broad. You could go with a thriller but that’s too broad.”

“Anything funny”

implications
Implications
  • Teachers are noticing reluctant male readers
    • They are more resistant
    • Underlying assumption that males don’t like reading
    • Adjust text choice to appeal to males

Girls may not like the texts they read in class, but they are more willing to try new ones

conclusions
Conclusions
  • Teachers choose “boy-friendly” texts, focus attention on males, but they still don’t like reading
    • These texts describe “masculine” males
    • Make males even more resistant to reading

Based on the interviews, students’ text preferences are idiosyncratic.

Yet students tend to choose texts with same-sex protagonists

recommendations
Recommendations
  • Provide text choices whenever possible
  • Encourage students to cross gender-boundaries in reading; reading is a human activity
references
References

Berkant, H. G. (2009). An investigation of students' meaningful causal thinking abilities in terms of academic achievement, reading comprehension and gender. Educational Sciences:Theoryand Practice, 9(3), 1149-1165.

Giroux, H. A. (1988). Teachers as Intellectuals: Toward a Critical Pedagogy of Learning. Bergin & Garvey Paperback.

Hyde, J. S. (2005). The gender similarities hypothesis. American Psychologist, 60(6), 581-592.

Klecker, B. M. (2006). The gender gap in NAEP fourth-, eighth-, and twelfth-grade reading scores across years. Reading Improvement, 43(1), 50-56.

Lietz, P. (2006). Issues in the change in gender differences in reading achievement in crossnational research studies since 1992: a meta-analytic view. International Education Journal, 7(2), 127-149.

Marks, G. N. (2008). Accounting for the gender gaps in student performance in reading and mathematics: evidence from 31 countries. Oxford Review of Education, 34(1), 89-109.

Martino, W., & Kehler, M. (2007). Gender-based literacy reform: a question of challenging or recuperating gender binaries. Canadian Journal of Education, 30(2), 406-431.

Watson, A., Kehler, M., & Martino, W. (2010). The problem of boys' literacy underachievement: raising some questions. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 53(5), 356-361.