Boys in education: An action research project


Ryan, Elizabeth M.. (1996) Boys in education: An action research project [Thesis].
AuthorsRyan, Elizabeth M.
Qualification nameMaster of Education (MEd)

Gender roles, and the construction of gender, are under scrutiny in our society. Many questions are being asked about the roles of men in light of the successful emergence of feminism (Connell, 1989). There is a "crisis of masculinity" (Salisbury & Jackson, 1996) which has resulted in a bombardment of literature surrounding the issue and this, in turn, has filtered through to schools responsible for the education of boys. The purpose of this particular study is to contribute both to the theory and the practice of boy's education. It endeavours to identify the issues surrounding boy's education and to support the involvement of a small group of teachers in a school based curriculum development to bring about improvement in the area.
The site of the study was a Catholic, boy's boarding school which is unique for its isolation and for its high percentage of Aboriginal students and those from Papua New Guinea. The research focused on the work of four teachers who were responsible for one Year 8 class . These teachers, together with the researcher, formed a community of learners in the context of this study.
The purpose of this study was to contribute to both the theory and the practice of boys' education and its aims were to identify the issues surrounding boys' education and to support the teachers engaged in school based curriculum development in the area of boys' education. At the outset of the study, two major questions were asked; - What are the key issues surrounding boys' education?
- Would a curriculum intervention program support the personal development of adolescent boys?

The method of research considered most appropriate to the aims of this study was a qualitative model called action research. Action research is a form of self reflective enquiry that supports the involvement of not only teachers, but also the researcher in the improvement of practice (Kemmis & McTaggert, p.5).
Moments of observing, reflecting, planning and acting within five action research cycles led the researcher and the participants to make three major conclusions: - that a whole school approach is the most effective way to communicate messages affecting behaviour and attitudes of boys
- that an intervention, curriculum program has a beneficial but limited effect on the process of communicating concepts affecting adolescent boys
- that the participants involved in this action research project grew in awareness of the issues surrounding boy's education and in their own personal development.

PublisherACU Research Bank
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Research GroupSchool of Education
Final version
Publication dates01 Jan 1996
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