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Type: Thesis
Title: Constructing a Gender Equity Framework of ‘Best Fit’ for a Private Coeducational School in Adelaide
Author: Johnson, Patrick Darby
Issue Date: 2019
School/Discipline: School of Education
Abstract: The construction of gender identity, as well as culturally acceptable expressions of that identity, can often conflict with the principles of education. Adolescents, in this particularly impressionable period, are forced to choose between what is expected of them as students, and what is expected of them as gendered individuals. Masculinity, for instance, demands that boys prioritise activity over passivity, and participate in the subordination of other, divergent forms of masculinity to ensure their own status as male. As such, boys have garnered a harmful reputation for being more disruptive than their gender counterparts, a perception that problematises boys. Female students are similarly affected by traditional gender norms. Acceptable femininity is often synonymised with subservience, meekness, and passivity. This perception creates a culture that oppresses girls, as they are forced, through social pressures, to adhere to this unfair expectation. However, how society views adolescents with regard to gender is generally the antithesis of expectations around schooling. For instance, through social and familial pressure, students are encouraged to academically excel. Yet, this contradicts many accepted notions of gender. Masculinity, in some forms, idolises apathy, or getting by with the least expended effort. Femininity is similar, in that girls must emphasise sociality over academic achievement. After all, intellect is traditionally associated with masculinity, and any girl that communicates behaviours that lay in the realm of manhood risks ridicule, bullying and harassment from her peers. Boys express tantamount degrees of disdain for males who transgress the threshold between masculinity and femininity, as maintaining heteronormativity can be essential to survival for students of all genders. In this, gender is often in conflict with educative processes. Schools, therefore, require systems that can identify and mitigate potentially harmful gender constructive processes among students. Gender equity frameworks, whole-school approaches that provide mechanisms for achieving equitable outcomes for students of all genders, remain an underutilised resource within educational institutions. Although, while examples of these frameworks exist, however sparse, they are often unsuited for an individual institution. This is because many of them do not consider the specific context and ethos of the school. This study created a gender equity framework for a particular school in Adelaide. Using the ‘best fit’ method, a framework was constructed through thematic synthesis of previously constructed equity frameworks, as well as through examination of relevant literature. The framework was developed with objectives in mind that emphasise gender issues within Australian education. These included subject gender disparity, as there is a historical trend of girls enrolling in the Humanities, and boys enrolling with Mathematics and Science subjects. Facilitating academic achievement was another objective, as gender can negatively impact the success of students. Student safety was also emphasised, with particular regard for how gender dynamics among students can cultivate bullying or exclusion, especially for gay or transgender students. The final objective recommended the implementation of framework assessment mechanisms, as evaluating the effectiveness of the framework is essential for the goals of gender equity.
Dissertation Note: Thesis (MTeach) -- University of Adelaide, School of Education, 2019
Description: This item is only available electronically.
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the author of this thesis and do not wish it to be made publicly available, or you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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