Literacy and gender in early childhood contexts: boys on the side?

Alloway, Nola, and Gilbert, Pam (2002) Literacy and gender in early childhood contexts: boys on the side? In: Makin, Laurie, and Diaz, Cirss Jones, (eds.) Literacies in Early Childhood: changing views, challenging practice. Maclennan & Petty, Eastgardens, NSW, Australia, pp. 251-265.

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Abstract

This chapter examines the impact of gender upon literacy learning, particularly in terms of its effect upon boys in the early childhood years. The chapter reviews populist biological frameworks that are commonly used to explain gender differences, indicating the limitations of such frameworks for producing constructive educational practice. It also r~visits major national literacy assessment data to show that, while gender is important in predicting literacy performance scores, other issues-notably ethnicity and economic privilege-are also important predictors of success. The chapter argues that individualistic 'deficit' theories are not particularly helpful in addressing the difficulty that many boys have with literacy, and suggests, instead, the value of an approach which deliberately considers how social constructions of gender affect boys' perceptions of literacy. It also indicates how important it is to broaden our understandings of 'literacy', not only to account for ways in which literacy is socially constructed, but also to account for the impact of technology upon literacy practices, and to recognise the changing contexts within which young children learn and practise literacy.

Item ID: 636
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
Keywords: boys, literacies, masculinity, early childhood education
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ISBN: 978-0-86433-162-5
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2006
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1399 Other Education > 139999 Education not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939904 Gender Aspects of Education @ 100%
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