ERIC Number: ED360074
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Mar
Girls, Boys and People: Gender and the Discourse of the Nursery School.
Cook-Gumperz, Jenny; Scales, Barbara
It is maintained in this paper that, though rarely acknowledged, gender neutrality operates as an official curricular ideology, and thus the organizational force of gender in school settings is often hidden in unnoticed interactional and discourse practices. To examine this phenomenon, the play activities of 4- and 5-year-old girls and boys in an ethnically mixed preschool were analyzed from videotapes, and interviews with the children on their understanding of gender identity and their social representations of gender were conducted. Based on the results of these analyses and interviews, a case is made that preschool teachers, and adults in general, fail to notice the children's own ideas on the role of gender during play. In support of this assertion, a number of vignettes are presented. Developmentally based nursery programs encourage children to initiate their own play and be self-directed in their learning in a rich and stimulating, albeit gender-neutral, environment. But because the child's need to use gender as a category in the realization of a personal self do not match the ideological world view of the adults, they may be ignored or left unaddressed in the gender-neutral classroom. Contains 14 references. (MDM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (60th, New Orleans, LA, March 25-28, 1993).