ERIC Number: ED385380
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Apr
Who Waits for the White Knight?: Training in "Nice."
McDonald, Linda; Rogers, Linda
This study (part of a larger study of 104 boys and girls) examined the moral and cognitive development of 37 female elementary school students in an independent college preparatory day school in the midwestern United States. Six students (two each in kindergarten, grade 2, and grade 4) were interviewed for the study, which found that the girls in the study were practicing communal sense by taking their impressions and responses from the adults, friends, and institutions in which they participated, and constructing a schema for themselves based on their knowledge of mental and cultural relativism. The study found that girls as young as kindergarten age were already experiencing training for "nice." While boys were praised for their knowledge and giving the right answer, girls were praised for obedience and compliance. It also found that the girls were learning the "proper" role for their sex, based on teacher and parental expectations and actions demonstrating behavior described as "learned helplessness." Girls learned the values of "nice" which existed in the upper middle class community of the family, and saw these values translated into a school setting chosen for them by their parents. It is noted that the families of the girls represented in this study do not reflect the demographics of the majority of families in the United States. They do, however, represent the majority of the 37 girls who participated in the study. (Contains 35 references.) (MDM)
Descriptors: Age Differences, Cognitive Development, Early Childhood Education, Elementary School Students, Females, Kindergarten Children, Moral Development, Parent Child Relationship, Peer Relationship, Primary Education, Private Schools, Sex Differences, Sex Role, Socialization, Student Attitudes, Upper Class
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, April 18-22, 1995).