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Inquiry Proposal

akelly's picture

I want to look into the way that schooling plays a role in the development of gender ideas.  Because we have not focused on gender so far in this course,  I am not completely sure how I want to focus my research.  My praxis placement in a preschool has peaked my interest in this area because at such a young age, there is already a distinct difference in the way the girls play, participate in class, and what they are interested in as compared to the boys.  In addition, the teacher uses gender as an easy divider, further creating separation between the two groups, and also assuming that there are only two groups.  Based off of this experience, I might want to focus on the different theories of creating an environment that is open and equal to all genders and also on the way that gender actually plays out in the classroom. 


MiriamPerez's picture

I have noticed this so much in my little sister! She is three and has just entered preschool this year and she very quickly began categorizing people as boys or girls (even though she can't really say the words and doesn't quite know which gender pronouns go with which) and it's so scary!!! We'll be at dinner and she'll count the number of boys or girls even outside of the school setting. 

jccohen's picture


Great topic, though of course you'll need to narrow it somewhat; one way to narrow (and perhaps you're already intending this) is to focus on development of gender ideas specifically in young children - maybe in preschool and early elementary?  A classic is Barrie Thorne's book, Gender Play, and an interesting piece I recently used in another class is called "When Boys Won't be Boys: Discussing Gender with Young Children" in the 2010 Harvard Ed Review.  Are you thinking to include a few interviews as well, perhaps with your placement teacher and/or others who work with young children?

akelly's picture

I was definitely considering focusing on younger education, but I hadn't decided for certain.  I agree, though, that it would focus my topic more.  I would like to ask the teacher in my placement about it, just in a way that does not sound accusatory like "I've noticed these concerning patterns in your classroom..." But my teacher is very open about why she does what she does, so I'm sure that she would be happy to explain what she does and what she sees.  Thanks for the suggestions.