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GCE Sociology Revision (AQA)- Unit 2 Education- Gender differences and education (3)


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For AQA GCE Sociology Unit 2: Education, Revision. Print out as a handout, it is a good way to revise. Application, Interpretation and Analysis tips are also included. All derived from the AS Sociology Revision Guide. Good luck!!!

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GCE Sociology Revision (AQA)- Unit 2 Education- Gender differences and education (3)

  1. 1. Unit 2: Education 3) Gender differences in Education
  2. 2. Application • Always make sure the material you are using applies to the question set • Is it about girls’ (or just boys’) achievement? • Or is it about gender differences in achievement?  In which case, make sure you write about both sexes • Avoid writing an all-purpose, “everything I know about gender” answer
  3. 3. Gender patterns in achievement • G have improved rapidly since the 1980’s • Now they do better than B at all levels and in most subjects • KS1-3: G consistently better than B, especially in English. • The gap is narrower in Science and Maths • GCSE: G are 10 percentage points ahead of B • AS/A2 level: G more likely to pass, get higher grades • The gap is narrower than GCSE • G do better than B in traditional subjects i.e. Science • More G go into higher education
  4. 4. Application • Point out that although a ‘gender gap’ has developed, exam results for both sexes have improved at all levels over the years, so boys are only ‘doing badly’ in comparative terms
  5. 5. Reasons for improvement • External factors – factors outside the education i.e. home and family background, the job market and wider society • Internal factors – factors within schools and the education system i.e. the effect of schools’ equal opportunities policies
  6. 6. External Factors and Girls’ achievement Sociologists have identified a range of external factors that have contributed to the improvement in girls’ achievement…
  7. 7. E.F: McRobbie (1994) • Since the 1960’s, feminists have challenged patriarchy in all areas of social life and rejected the traditional stereotypes of women as inferior to men in the home, work, education, and law • Comparison of girls magazines • Jackie emphasised importance of getting married etc. • NOW: images- assertive, ambitious, independent women • G motivated to do well  family and careers Influence of Feminism
  8. 8. Application • What effect might feminism have on girls’ – and boys’- achievement?
  9. 9. E.F Sharpe (1994) • Compared G priorities • 1970’s  ‘love, marriage, husband, children, job, career’- saw future: domestic role, not paid work • 1990’s  priorities had switched to careers and being able to be independent  Similarly, Francis (2001) found G had higher career aspirations  needed educational qualifications  Ensure you explain how this impacts G attitude towards education Girls’ changing perceptions and ambitions
  10. 10. E.F Changes in the family • Since the 1970’s: • Increase in divorce rates  40% marriages end in divorce • Increase in lone-parent families  over 90% are female headed • Increase in co-habitation + decrease in 1st marriages • Smaller families • More women staying single  Interpretation:  Therefore, there is both more need and more opportunity to be economically independent – gives G more motivation to do well educationally and get good qualifications
  11. 11. E.F Changes in women’s employment (LAW) • C.I.T.L: The 1970 Equal Pay Act  illegal if unequal Gap between men + women dropped from 30  17% • C.I.T.L: The 1975 Sex Discrimination Act  + rights Traditional men's jobs have declined, Women in employment: • * 1959  47% * • * 2007 70% *  As a result  G have more incentive to see their future in terms of paid work creates an incentive for them to gain qualifications
  12. 12. Internal factors and girls’ achievement There have been major changes in the education system since the 1970’s and some sociologists see these as important in explaining girls’ improved performance…
  13. 13. Analysis • Although for convenience we can divide explanations into internal and external factors; however, in reality they are linked • Make this analytical point by showing connections between some of these factors
  14. 14. I.F ‘GIST + WIST’ + National curriculum • G/W. Into. Science. + Technology: • Female scientist going to schools  role-models • Pursue careers in non-traditional areas • Non-sexist career advice provided • Learning materials in science- develop interest • N.C: (1988)  Kelly (1987): making G and B study the same subjects helps to equalise opportunities Equal opportunities policies
  15. 15. cont. Jo Boaler (1998) • Claims the Equal Opportunity Policies are a key reason for the changes in girls’ achievement • It helps achieve MERITOCRACY (based on the principle of equal opportunity) • More opportunity for G  G now do better Cont. Changes in women’s employment
  16. 16. I.F Positive Role models • Increasing numbers of female teachers and female head teachers  pro-educational women in positions of authority/seniority • Some say: Schools are becoming ‘feminised’ • Encourage G to see school as a female ‘gender domain’ • As a result,  they come to perceive educational success as a desirable feminine characteristics
  17. 17. I.F Mitsos and Browne (1998) • According to M+B, girls do better than boys in coursework • G more conscientious, better organised, mature earlier, concentrate longer • G spend more time, present neatly, meet deadlines, good conduct to lessons • G are better in oral exams  New Right thinker Pirie thinks gender role of G benefit them in education i.e. neat, tidy, patient  Similar to M+B, Gorard (2005): gender gap increased sharply in 1988 when coursework was a major part of most subjects in GCSE Coursework
  18. 18. Evaluation • Elwood (2005) notes: • Although coursework has some influence, it is unlikely to be the only cause for the gender gap • Analysing the weighting of coursework and written exams • Concludes that exams have more influence on final grades Coursework
  19. 19. I.F Weiner (1995) • Claims: since the 1980’s, teachers have been challenging stereotypes (i.e. G housewives/ mothers/ physics: frightened/ amazed by science) • Sexist images have been removed from materials Stereotypes in learning materials
  20. 20. Analysis • Link ideas together • E.g. connect removal of stereotypes to equal opportunities policies and the impact of feminist ideas on education
  21. 21. Spender (1993) • Found teachers spend more time with B than G  However, the French’s (1993): - found the amount of time with B and G for academic reasons were similar  Francis (2001): - B attention  B had more reprimands, disciplined harsher, felt picked on, teacher = lower expectations  Similarly, Swann (1998) found boys were generally boisterous  dominate class discussions - Girls preferred group tasks  cooperative and listening i.e. get teacher’s praise more  Explain how these classroom interaction processes might help girls to do better Teacher attention
  22. 22. I.F Selection and league tables • Marketisation policies i.e. exam ‘league tables’  competition • Schools have incentive to recruit more able students boost results + L.T. positions • Successful students are more attractive (generally GIRLS) • Low achieving, badly behaved (generally BOYS) are seen as a ‘liability students’ who will create a bad image + produce poor results for the school  As a result,  G are likely to attain places in successful schools  In turn, they get a better education and achieve more
  23. 23. Evaluation • Girls are now achieving more • BUT RADICAL FEMINISTS argue:- • that the education system remains patriarchal, e.g. sexual harassment of girls continue in schools • Education system limits their subject choices and careers • Secondary head teachers are still more likely to be men
  24. 24. Boys’ and achievement • Sociologists: some factors that may be responsible for boys’ under-achievement are the ‘opposite’ of the factors which have led to girls’ improving achievements •External factors boys’ poorer literacy skills, decline of traditional ‘men’s jobs’ Internal factors the feminisation of education, shortage of male role-models, and ‘laddish’ subcultures
  25. 25. E.F Poorer literacy skills • According to DCSF (2007), gender gap is the result of boy’s poor literacy skills • Parents spend less time reading to sons • Mothers mostly do the reading seen as a feminine activity • Boys’ leisure pursuits i.e. football, computer games do little to help to develop language • Contrast: Girls ‘bedroom culture’ centred talking and listening to friends  Because language and listening are vital in most subjects, boys’ poorer L.S. have a wide-ranging effect on their achievement
  26. 26. Mitsos and Browne • Since the 1980’s, globalisation manufacturing relocating to developing countries decline in heavy industries like shipbuilding, mining, and manufacturing in the UK • M + B claim: that the result of decline in male employment opportunities has led to a male ‘identity crisis’  with a loss of self-esteem + motivation • Many boys now believe they have little prospect of getting jobs and so cease trying to get qualifications Globalisation and decline of traditional ‘men’s jobs’
  27. 27. Evaluation • Traditional male manual jobs needed few qualifications • So it seems unlikely that the disappearance of these jobs would affect boys’ motivation to obtain qualifications
  28. 28. Sewell (2006) • Argues: boys fall behind because education has become ‘feminised’ • Schools no longer nurture ‘masculine’ traits e.g. competitiveness and leadership • Like Gorard, Sewell sees coursework as a disadvantage to boys • 1 in 6 are male primary teachers • Over 60% of 8-11 have no lessons with male primary teachers idea that education is a feminine activity The feminisation of schooling
  29. 29. Epstein (1998) • Epstein: found peer pressure among boys were to demonstrate their masculinity i.e. more likely to be harassed, labelled ‘sissies’, + subjected to homophobic verbal abuse  Similarly, Francis (2001) found: boys were more concerned than girls about being labelled as ‘gay’ or ‘swots’ - Because it threatened their masculine identity  According to Francis, as girls move into traditional masculine areas such as paid work, boys become more ‘laddish’ effort to identify themselves as non-feminine  underachievement ‘Laddish’ subcultures
  30. 30. Interpretation • Are ‘laddish’ subcultures and ‘internal’ or ‘external’ factor? You can make the point that they operate both inside and outside the school
  31. 31. Evaluation • Epstein’s studies suggest that ‘laddish’ subcultures are mainly working-class parallel to Mac an Ghaill + Willis • Connolly (2006) notes: there is an ‘interactions effect’ – certain combinations of gender and class (or gender and ethnicity) have more of an effect on achievement than others
  32. 32. Policies to raise boys’ achievement • Concerns about boys’ under-achievement relative to girls has led to the introduction of a range of policies • These often use boys’ leisure interests (e.g. sports) and famous role models and are aimed at improving boys’ literacy skills and motivation to achieve • Examples:- - Raising Boys Achievement project - Reading Champions Scheme - Playing for Success
  33. 33. Interpretation • Interpret questions about boys’ under- achieving by putting it into context • Compared with boys in the past, boys today do better • And although they do worse than girls, the similarities between boys and girls’ achievement are greater than the differences
  34. 34. Gender and subject choice Although girls have overtaken boys in achievement, there continue to be major gender differences in subject choice. Girls and boys follow different ‘gender routes’ in their subject choices  In the National Curriculum  In post 16 education  In vocational subjects
  35. 35. (1) G + B different ‘gender routes’ In the National Curriculum: • most subjects are compulsory, but where choice is possible, girls and boys choose differently; e.g. in design and technology, girls choose food technology, boys choose resistant materials
  36. 36. (2) G + B different ‘gender routes’ In post-16 education: • there is more choice available and big gender differences emerge; • E.g. B opt for Maths and Physics • ..whilst G choose Modern Language, English and Sociology • This pattern continues into higher education
  37. 37. (3) G + B different ‘gender routes’ • In vocational subjects: • Gender segregation is at its greatest • Only 1% of construction apprentices are female
  38. 38. Explaining gender differences in subject choices • Several factors are responsible for gender differences in subject choice: 1. Early socialisation 2. Gendered subject images 3. Peer pressure 4. Gendered career opportunities
  39. 39. Interpretation • Some questions are about gender experiences in school (achievement, subject choice and identity), while others limit you in some way – • E.g. to just achievement or subject choice • Only use material that is specific to the question
  40. 40. 1. Early socialisation • Gender role socialisation: involves learning the behaviour expected of males and females 1. In the family: from an early age, B and G are dressed differently and given different toys, while B are rewarded for being active and G passive 2. At school: Byrne (1979) found, teachers encourage B to be tough and show initiative, while they expect girls to be quiet, helpful, clean and tidy 3. Leisure reading and subject choices: Murphy and Elwood (1998) found that B read hobby books and information texts and so prefer science subjects, while G read stories about people and prefer English
  41. 41. cont. Early socialisation • Gender domains: are tasks and activities seen as either male or female ‘territory’. • These views are shaped by children’s early experiences and by the expectations of adults • E.g. looking after an elderly person is ‘female’ {gender domain} • Browne and Ross (1991) found that: when set open-ended tasks such as designing a boat  B designed powerboats and battleships , while G designed cruise ships •  reflecting different gender domains  This affects subject choice: people’s feeling are part of the female gender domain so G choose humanities; how things work is in the male domain, so B choose science
  42. 42. 2. Gendered subject images • related to gender domains, subjects have a ‘gender image’ – they are seen as either male or female • For example, science is mainly taught by men and textbooks traditionally use boys’ interests as examples  As a result,  it is seen as a masculine subject, part of the male gender domain, and so it is taken mostly by boys
  43. 43. Peer pressure • Other boys and girls pressurise individuals to conform • B often opt out of music because of negative peer response, whilst G who choose sport have to contend with accusations from B of being ‘butch’ or ‘lesbian’ • This also links to subject image and gender domains – sport is seen as masculine, and music feminine
  44. 44. Evaluation • Pupils in single-sex schools make less traditional subject choices • This may be because there is no opposite-sex peer pressure to conform to gender- stereotypical subject choices
  45. 45. Gendered careers • Many jobs are seen as either ‘men’s’ or ‘women’s’ and tend to be dominated by one gender • E.g. nursing and construction work • Vocational courses, which prepare young people for specific careers  therefore also tend to be dominated by one gender or the other
  46. 46. Gender identity and schooling Pupils school experiences may reinforce their gender and sexual identities
  47. 47. Connell (1995): ‘Hegemonic masculinity’ • Argues that school reproduces ‘hegemonic masculinity’ • That is, the dominance of heterosexual masculine identity and subordination of female and gay identities
  48. 48. Feminists • Argue that experiences in school act as a form of social control to reproduce patriarchy • That is, male domination and female subordination • This happens in several ways: 1. Verbal abuse (SIMILAR TO: L & MG) 2. Teachers 3. The male gaze 4. Double standards
  49. 49. 1. Verbal abuse • Name-calling puts girls down if they behave in certain ways and acts as a form of social control to make them conform to male expectation
  50. 50. Lees (1986): Verbal abuse  Lees concludes similar views to Feminists • He notes that boys call girls ‘slags’ if they appear sexually available, but there is no equivalent term for males  Paetcher notes that pupils police one another’s sexual identities through negative labels
  51. 51. Mac an Ghaill (1992): Verbal abuse • Found that anti-school W.C. boys’ subcultures use verbal abuse to reinforce their definitions of “masculinity” • They called the other W.C. boys who worked hard, ‘dickhead achievers’
  52. 52. Analysis • These labels often do not reflect actual behaviour: they reinforce gender norms • E.g. boys may be called ‘gay’ simply for having female friends
  53. 53. 2. Teachers • Haywood and Mac an Ghaill (1996) found even more evidence to support Feminists views: • They found that male teachers reinforced gender identities by telling B off for ‘behaving like girls’ • Also, for ignoring B verbal abuse of G
  54. 54. 3. The male gaze • The Male Gaze: is a form of social control where male pupils and teachers look girls up and down as sexual objects • B who don’t participate may be labelled as ‘gay’ – also a form of social control
  55. 55. 4. Double standards • Double standards: is when one set of moral standards is applied to one group BUT a different set to another group • For example, Lees (1993) found that B boast about their own sexual exploits, but label girls’ negatively for the same behaviour