Gender and discourse: Adolescent girls construct gender through talk and text
AuthorBlair, Heather Alice, 1952-
KeywordsEducation, Language and Literature.
Education, Sociology of.
AdvisorGoodman, Kenneth S.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe initial purpose of this study was to better understand issues of gender in classrooms in relation to language and literacy. In particular, this research was designed to examine the construction of gender in the talk and text of adolescent girls in one Canadian urban grade eight classroom. This research was based on the theoretical premise that gender is a social construct, talk is a social construct, and text is a social construct. In order to demonstrate the social construction of gender with middle school girls, this analysis was framed within the larger Canadian society. This linguistically informed ethnographic research included classroom observations, interviews with students and teachers, analysis of tape recorded classroom talk, and an examination of classroom written texts. The data from these observations, interviews of students, and oral and written texts were analyzed for themes. The following themes emerged from the data: classroom talk and text are gendered, youths construct their gender identity through talk and text, the "genderlects" and "genderprints" reflect the lives of these youths in a modern world. Conflict, toughness, violence, friendships, relationships, and modernity were salient constructs in the social construction of gender for these youth. These micro social processes contributed to the macro social process or gendered relations in Canadian society. The findings from this study suggest implications for schools. The main implication is that the gendering of discourse in schools is important and that gender identity is linked to both talk and text. Classroom teachers need to develop an awareness and understanding of what and how gender implicates all classroom interactions and that the social phenomena of classroom interactions are important to the success of girls in middle schools. Another contribution of this study is that it contributes to the growing body of knowledge on gender and language at a time when gender equity is emerging as central to the educational success of girls yet is seldom the focus of examination of educational research.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Language, Reading and Culture