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Abstract

Children's gendered ways of talking about learning to write

Nora Scheuer, Montserrat de la Cruz, Ana Pedrazzini, Maria Sol Iparraguirre & Juan Ignacio Pozo
Journal of Writing Research 3(3), 173-192

This study attempts to integrate a gender perspective in the research of children's conceptions about learning to write. We analyzed the individual interviews of 160 schoolchildren - equally distributed between boys and girls - in the eight grades from kindergarten to seventh grade in elementary school in Argentina, in order to explore gender-related patterns in their conceptions of learning to write. The lexicometric method was applied to the transcriptions of children's responses. Subsequent qualitative analysis of modal responses revealed distinctive gender differences regarding both the content and the form of responses. We describe and interpret such differences within a theoretical framework that distinguishes two different modes of discourse and thought: the gendered conversational styles studied by Tannen, and the two modes of cognitive functioning proposed by Bruner. Results show that boys tended to adopt a report talk style and to present traits that are close to those proposed by Bruner in his portrait of the logico-paradigmatic mode of thought. Girls, instead, tended to adopt a rapport talk style and to integrate to a greater extent a set of procedures characterizing a narrative modality, by speaking at length of human actions, intentions and feelings. These findings underscore the educational potential of considering gender as an important (and still unexplored) aspect that influences children's(and most probably teachers') conceptions of how one learns.

PDF | doi: 10.17239/jowr-2012.03.03.3

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