Gender and Achievement: Exploring Boys’ Narratives of Male Identity and Education during Key Stage 1

Prof Doc Thesis

Wade, B. 2018. Gender and Achievement: Exploring Boys’ Narratives of Male Identity and Education during Key Stage 1. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsWade, B.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

This research sought to explore the perceived gender achievement gap between girls and boys in the UK. In order to draw focus, the research focused on male identity, and its relation to education, for a group of boys in Key Stage 1. A literature review of research in this area was undertaken with analysis highlighting the relationship between maleness and education; a focus on tensions, process and the need for nuance; a critique of narratives around maleness and education; and a focus on older children. Underpinned by a social constructionist research perspective, a qualitative methodology was employed involving a semi-structured group interview with six boys aged 6-7 in a single rural primary school. A “small stories” narrative analysis focused on positioning within the boys’ narratives, positioning within the interview interaction, and the relationship between the interview narratives and wider narratives. The data was presented in the form of ten stories, re-storied from the interview transcripts.
This data suggested the boys presented a strong sense of maleness, particularly in relation to their bodies, interests and some physical elements of school. However, how the boys related this maleness to education in general was less straightforward. The interview interaction suggested boys’ views were open to change, challenge and disagreement. The boys were able to negotiate their views at times, and their responses, often based on their anecdotal experiences, contained a level of nuance. Moving forwards this research suggests ways of including young children in the research on this topic, methodologies to make this possible and reinforces a move away from simplistic binary notions of how all boys or all girls might feel about school. The research argues for a close focus on context, differences between and within pupils, and attention to the specific social processes that link male identity and attitudes towards education.

PublisherUniversity of East London
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PrintMay 2018
Publication process dates
Deposited20 Nov 2019
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License: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
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