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A girls-only science class in a co-educational secondary school

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dc.contributor.author Scott, Andrea Carolyn
dc.date.accessioned 2011-02-09T22:59:36Z
dc.date.accessioned 2022-10-25T01:26:09Z
dc.date.available 2011-02-09T22:59:36Z
dc.date.available 2022-10-25T01:26:09Z
dc.date.copyright 1991
dc.date.issued 1991
dc.identifier.uri https://ir.wgtn.ac.nz/handle/123456789/22788
dc.description.abstract This thesis looked at the trial of a girls-only fifth form science class in a co-educational secondary school to investigate whether such classes might give girls a better chance of success in science. The study explored and recorded the problems, issues, and happenings associated with setting up the girls-only class, and looked at the wider issues such as girls' attitudes and beliefs about science, their career aspirations, their tendency to opt out of science at the upper secondary level, the image and structure of science education, and historical and social constraints on girls' participation and success in science. The girls-only class was compared with that of a co-educational class of the same level taught by the same teacher. The study focused on information gained from in-depth interviews with the girls in both classes, with the teacher, and with the Head of the Science Department. Additional information was gained from field observations in both classes during the first and third terms. The students in the girls-only class were observed to be livelier and less inhibited than the female co-ed students, and most from the girls-only group reported greater self-confidence and enjoyment than in previous co-ed classes, and an appreciation of the lack of harassment which many had experienced in co-educational classes. Classroom observations in the co-ed class revealed that the boys tended to dominate the classroom interactions and the practical work. In every observation in the co-ed class it was found that more boys than girls called out, raised their hands and called the teacher over. Comparisons between the interactions of both classes showed that the co-ed girls as a group tended to be less confident when it came to speaking out, putting their hands up and calling out answers, than the boys or the girls-only group. Many students from both classes reported having difficulty in understanding much of the fifth form science curriculum, particularly chemistry and physics. Most preferred biology because they thought it was more interesting and made more sense than chemistry and physics. The thesis suggested that the problems girls face in science are best viewed as a complex interplay of a number of factors. A theoretical framework based on the radical perspective of Evelyn Fox Keller was used to argue that girls' perceptions of science are derived from gendered discourse operating in wider society. en_NZ
dc.format pdf en_NZ
dc.language en_NZ
dc.language.iso en_NZ
dc.publisher Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
dc.title A girls-only science class in a co-educational secondary school en_NZ
dc.type Text en_NZ
vuwschema.type.vuw Awarded Research Masters Thesis en_NZ
thesis.degree.grantor Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
thesis.degree.level Masters en_NZ

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