ERIC Number: ED390852
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Apr-22
Good Guys and "Bad" Girls: Gendered Identity Construction in a Writing Workshop.
Orellana, Marjorie Faulstich
As part of a larger ethnographic project addressing the construction of gender through literacy, this study focused on understanding how the children in one writing process classroom expressed their social selves in their written compositions, as well as how those compositions were engineered within the social dynamics of the classroom. The study considered written narratives, their nature, content, and the processes of their creation, in order to illuminate gendered patterns and the relationship among gender, ethnicity, culture, and social class. A participant observer conducted the study by spending 2.5-hour reading/writing blocks on one to three mornings each week during two consecutive school years in a school located in a poor, Latino, working-class neighborhood. Most of the children were immigrants, the classroom was Spanish-English bilingual, and all students were limited in their English proficiency. Data were gathered from 301 student-created books and analysis of their authorship, topics, characters, and illustrations. The analysis found that students struggled to understand their social identities through their narrative writing, that they wrote themselves into a range of possible existences, and that they displayed their understanding of the possibilities that were available to them, depending in part on their gender and social class. In general students did not voluntarily cross gendered borders in their writing, and when they did, their crossings were not equilateral: girls were more likely to move into territory that was defined by boys than vice versa. Appendices contain a list of topics of student-authored books and titles of classroom-published books in English and Spanish. (Contains 36 references.) (JB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
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).