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Education and
Past Exam Essay Questions:
1(d) Examine the reasons why females now tend to
achieve more than males in education (20 Marks) ­ Jan
1(d) Examine the ways in which boys and girls
experiences in school shape their identities and
achievements (20 Marks) ­ May 2007
1(d) Assess the view that gender differences in
achievement are a result of factors outside the education
system (20 Marks) ­ Jan 2009 *…read more

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Out of school
factors and gender
· Influence of the feminist movement
­ Challenged traditional stereotypes and helped raise female expectations
­ McRobbie found comparing girls magazines from 1970 and 1990 that
they now contain more positive images of assertive and independent
· Change in the family
­ Rise in divorce and single parent families have made new role models ­
financially independent women, with well paid jobs an qualifications an
no longer rely on men
· Increased job opportunities for girls
­ Women in employment has risen from 47% in 1959 to over 70% in 2007
­ Encouraged to work hard and gain qualifications
· Girls changing ambitions
­ Sue Sharpe ­ Girls priorities were `love, marriage, husbands, children,
jobs and careers' (1976) and when it was repeated in 1994 they had
changed to `job career and being able to support themselves' *…read more

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In School factors
and gender
· Equal opportunities policies
­ Work of 1980s feminists, highlighted girls educational underperformance, girl
friendly policies introduced ­ to raise expectations and performance
­ It monitored teaching and material for gender bias
­ Teachers now more sensitive in avoiding stereotyping
· Positive role models
­ Increase in female teachers and head teachers
· GCSE and coursework
­ Boys disadvantaged
· Gorard - Coursework increased gender gap (Girls better at)
· Mitos and Browne ­ (agree that) Girls more conscientious and organised
than boys e.g. Meet deadlines, neater presentation
· Teacher attention
­ Spender ­ boys nosier and more active, teachers gave them more help and
attention, get more praise, dominate class discussions ­ girls become invisible
­ Francis ­ Boys got more attention BUT they felt picked upon and disciplined
harshly ­ teachers had lower expectations of them. ­teachers respond more
positively to girls.…read more

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Feminist view of
Girls Achievement
Liberal feminism Radical feminism
· Seen big improvements · Critical view
· Further progress can be made by · Still think schools are essentially
continued development of patriarchal
equality of opportunities policies · Sexual harassment continued
­ Encouraging positive role models · More male head teachers
and overcoming existing attitudes
· Differences in option choices
· Similar to functionalist view that
education is meritocratic. · Women still largely ignored in
curriculum e.g. history
GCSE Option choice selection by gender factors
· Gender socialisation
· Sex-stereotyping
· Teacher expectations *
· Peer pressure…read more

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Differences in
attainment and gender
· Dale spender
­ Spender ­ boys nosier and more active, teachers gave them
more help and attention, get more praise, dominate class
discussions ­ girls become invisible
· Barrie Thorne
­ Boys control ten times more space on the playground than girls ­
girls games seen as more interruptible
· Subject choices
­ Choose different subjects to study, with females more likely to
study humanities
­ 53% of boys took GCSE technology compared to 14% of girls
­ Difference in education paths can be the cause of socialisation in
home and at school
­ Oakley accused parents of sex-stereotyping ­ different
expectations and act differently, encourage girls into traditional
feminine careers.…read more

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Family socialisation
· Department for children, schools and families (DCSF) ­ gap because of boys literacy and language
­ Parents spend less time with their sons
­ Mostly mothers who read to children ­ seen as feminine
­ Football and computer games do nothing to aid boys language
­ Girls bedroom culture ­ staying in talking to friends
Teacher expectations
· Gender bias ­ expect different behaviours, boys lower standards
· Barber ­ This negative label knocked boys confidence and interests ­ reducing there motivated and
there achievements
· Browne and Mitsos ­ boys loose valuable learning time, getting sent out/excluded . 4 out of 5
exclusions are boys
Crisis of Masculinity
· Decline in traditional male jobs ­ boys lack of ambition and motivation
­ School waste of time, limited opportunities later
­ Low self esteem, anti school activates
· Mac En Ghaill ­ `crisis of masculinity' ­ boys unsure of there economic role in light of these economic
changes ­ future looks bleak so why bother?
· Jackson ­ feminism, growing unemployment and the gay movement and the need for a better
qualified workforce has deepened the crisis.
Macho culture
· Jackson ­ academic work feminised , gain `street cred' from not working
· Willis ­ Anti-education subcultures exist were work is seen as uncool ­ value placed on having fun *
This is all also influenced by social class and ethnicity…read more

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