Date of Award

2007

Access Restriction

Campus Access only dissertations

Degree Name

Doctorate in Education

Department

Education

School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Emily Arms, Ph.D

Second Advisor

Yvette V. Lapayese, Ph.D

Third Advisor

Mary K. McCulllough, Ph.D.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the teaching practices and perceptions of teachers, and how those perceptions and practices contributed to or perpetuated gender equity and inequity in elementary classrooms. Data for this study were collected in three elementary classrooms (third, fourth, and fifth grade) in an urban public school in southern Los Angeles. All three teacher participants were female and were self-identified feminists. The data collected for this study showed coeducational settings to be biased in favor of boys in classroom interactions, students calling-out, teachers calling on students, gender geography, negative student behavior, teacher discipline, early finishers, teacher feedback, the reinforcement of gender roles and stereotypes, classroom climate, lack of feminist pedagogy, classroom practice, gendered language, textbooks, and the use of color in the classroom.

The gender-equitable practices the teachers in this study were implementing in their classrooms such as calling on male and female students equally, seating children in coed groups, and making sure that classrooms were gender-balanced was gender-equitable teaching practice, but it only scratched the surface of gender equity. The bias in favor of boys observed in these classrooms was at odds with the teachers' beliefs that they were creating a gender-equitable environment by providing only surface interventions which led to the finding surface equity. Although these teachers were implementing some gender-equitable teaching practices, they were not implementing any revolutionary pedagogy, like feminist pedagogy, which could negate inequity and provide for more than just surface equity. It is recommended that changes be made to policy in teacher education requirements and programs. Ongoing professional development must also be provided to classroom practitioners and educational leaders in order to move beyond surface equity. There must be continued research on gender and the creation of equity to create gender-equitable learning environments that move beyond surface equity to create social change.

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