Date of Award

1-1-2005

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Education

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Professor William Louden

Abstract

The study is concerned with boys' literacy learning. It seeks to gauge whether the change to a single-gender class brings about any improvement in the boys' attentiveness levels during writing lessons and also to ascertain whether attentiveness is influenced by other factors associated with the learning tasks, and with the teacher's pedagogical and management practices.

This study involves the scrutiny of writing lessons in three classes in Western Australian metropolitan primary school - a Year 5 co-educational class, a Year 6 allboy's class ( comprising boys from the Year 5 class) in the hands of one teacher and the same class in the hands of another.

Attention levels are measured at various times during writing lessons in the three classes and the approaches taken by the three teachers in the delivery of writing lessons are closely monitored.

The performance of a particular boy in these classes is also studied in the hope that a useful comparison might be made between his results and those of the classes generally.

The study concludes that higher levels of attentiveness will not necessarily flow from the introduction of an all-boys' class and that teaching methods are of greater importance in this regard.

However, the study does indicate that all-boys' classes are potentially advantageous in creating an environment where boys feel more assured and contented and that a possible consequence of this is a willingness on the part of boys to participate more fully in lessons. The study also highlights that any potential for greater attentiveness of boys during writing lessons is unlikely to be realized if the teacher maintains a negative view about boys' capacity to learn and achieve. Finally the study observes there is great individual difference in attentiveness of individual boys, even when there is an overall pattern of higher or lower attentiveness.

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