Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Education Honours


School of Education


Faculty of Education

First Supervisor

Anne Thwaite


This research focuses on the issue of gender in education. It looks at the role counter-sexist texts play in the formation, consolidation and interruption of children's gender ideology. It initially investigates whether or not counter-sexist texts can change agency in children's writing by analysing children's own narrative writing. Then it seeks to shed light on the ways that children respond to these types of texts by using transcripts from discussion sessions.

The sample consisted of 20 students from a Western Australian state primary school. These students were randomly distributed into a control and experimental group. Each week, for a period of five weeks, the participants took part in discussions about various texts. The experimental group studied counter-sexist texts, while the control group studied their regular classroom texts. Writing samples from both groups were collected prior to the commencement of treatment, during treatment and after treatment. Tape recordings of the sessions were also made. This data was used to answer the research questions. ie. to investigate the effect that exposure to and discussion about counter-sexist texts has on agency in children's own narrative writing and to describe how it does or does not change children's gender ideology. The data were analysed in the following ways: Writing samples were analysed for male and female Actor. and Agents. 2(group) x 2(test) ANOVAs were conducted to determine significance of treatment on agency in the participants' writing. Transcribed tape recordings of the sessions were analysed to provide possible reasons for the quantitative results found.

Overall, the results showed that there was a dominance of male Agents and Actors in children's own narrative writing. Furthermore, they showed that the treatment had no significant effect on Agency in children's own narrative writing. i.e. exposure to and discussion about counter-sexist texts did not appear to change children's gender ideology. The Discussion chapter analysed the transcribed tape recordings to explore possible reasons for these findings. Finally, indications for future research and implications for classroom teachers were provided.