Date Approved

6-30-2005

Embargo Period

4-11-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.S. in Teaching

Department

Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Madden, Marjorie E.

Subject(s)

Education, Elementary--New Jersey; Gender identity in education--New Jersey

Disciplines

Elementary Education and Teaching

Abstract

This study is a qualitative case study that explores the connection between literacy and gender in a first grade classroom environment. The subjects for this study are twenty first grade students in a regular education classroom located in a southern New Jersey elementary school. For this study, students were observed with the attempt to answer three questions: 1) What gender stereotypes have these first graders internalized coming into the classroom? 2) How are these gender beliefs expressed in the language arts classroom? 3) What are teachers doing to foster these biases in their students? Data collected includes student writings, discussions, and everyday recorded events. This data is analyzed utilizing the qualitative approach, where themes are identified and linked back to the initial question. Findings reveal a strong link between gender and literacy. This is evident particularly through the ways students voice gender understandings in various literacy activities. This study also suggests the power of the teacher, either positive or negative, in shaping the gender identities of students. Understanding this power becomes an implication of this study for teachers who wish to create unbiased classroom environments.

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