Gender Experiences in an Early Childhood Classroom through an Ethnographic Lens.Report as inadecuate

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This study sought to understand how children develop their gender identities by examining their social interactions in a school setting. It followed six children over the course of the school year at a university-run laboratory preschool, utilizing videotaped observations, field notes, and teacher interviews. Four of the targeted children's gender experiences are described and analyzed through verbatim examples from the videotapes. Both obvious and subtle gender experiences were identified from the positionings that the children constructed for themselves and those that were offered by others. Obvious positionings were identified as feminine,masculine,identifying with peer culture,participating in peer culture, and pretending. Fifteen subtle gender positionings were observed, such as affectionate,aggressing,attached, and helping. Whereas some subtle positionings usually associated with females, such as cooperating and playing with adults, were in fact observed more often in the males in this study, the majority of positionings followed expected gender associations. Overall, the study found that gender identity formation was integrated with other social processes, such as becoming a student and peer. (Contains 27 references.) (MDM)

Descriptors: Behavior Patterns, Child Behavior, Childhood Attitudes, Classification, Classroom Environment, Ethnography, Identification (Psychology), Peer Relationship, Play, Preschool Children, Preschool Education, Sex Differences, Sex Role, Sex Stereotypes, Sexual Identity, Socialization, Teacher Student Relationship

Author: McMurray, Paula



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