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Students' and Teachers' Perceptions of Single-Sex and Mixed-Sex Mathematics Classes

Students' and Teachers' Perceptions of Single-Sex and Mixed-Sex Mathematics Classes,Leonie J. Rennie,Lesley H. Parker

Students' and Teachers' Perceptions of Single-Sex and Mixed-Sex Mathematics Classes   (Citations: 3)
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This study examines students' perceptions of the learning settings in single-sex and mixed-sex mathematics classes, and teachers' responses to those different classroom contexts. Nearly 300 students in four coeducational secondary schools gave their views of the nature of their participation and interaction in their mathematics classrooms, and data were also obtained from their teachers. There was congruence between students' and teachers' perceptions of the environment in the two kinds of classrooms. Overall, it was perceived that single-sex classrooms provided a more supportive environment for girls, but a rather less supportive environment for boys. Teachers used different strategies with the two kinds of classes and, although many experienced initial difficulty with unruly boys' classes, these problems were overcome. The single-sex environment provided opportunities for teachers to address apparent shortcomings arising from boys' and girls' previous educational experience, which resulted in improved attitudes and performance. The research reported in this paper is part of a larger study which investigates students' and teachers' reactions to the introduction of single-sex classes in coeducational schools (Parker & Rennie, 1995). Our focus is on the promotion of gender-inclusive classroom practice. We use the term gender-inclusive to describe curricule.t and learning contexts which incorporate, value and extend the prior experiences and learnings, the current interests, needs and concerns, and the preferred learning and assessment styles of both girls and boys (Hildebrand,1989). Gender-inclusive curricula and learning contexts also challenge the dominant ways of thinking about mathematics and science and about the kinds of knowledge and behaviours which are valued and legitimated in mathematics and science classrooms. This paper compares boys' and girls' perceptions of the attributes which distinguish between the learning settings in single-sex and mixed-sex mathematics classes, and examines teachers' responses to the introduction of single-sex classroom contexts. Specifically, this study addresses the following questions: 1. How do boys' and girls' perceptions of the learning settings in their single­ sex mathematics class compare with these same students' perceptions of their mixed-sex class? 2. How do teachers vary their instructional strategies in the different kinds of classroom context? 3. What are the implications of the findings for the promotion of gender­ inclusive classroom practice in mathematics?
Published in 1997.
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    • ...10See, for example: Baker (2002); Blair and Sandford (1999); Campbell and Evans (1997); Crombie et al. (2002); Crombie (1999); Derry and Philips (2004); Dunlap (2002); Granleese and Joseph (1993); Jackson (2002); Jackson and Smith (2000); Madigan (2002a), (2002b), (2002b); Monaco and Gaier (1992); Mulholland et al. (2004); Parker and Rennie (2002), Rennie and Parker (1997); Streitmatter (1997), (1998); Walter (1997); Watson (1997)...
    • ...14See, for example: Baker (2002); Blair and Sandford (1999); Campbell and Evans (1997); Crombie et al. (2002); Crombie (1999); Derry and Philips (2004); Dunlap (2002); Granleese and Joseph (1993); Jackson (2002); Jackson and Smith (2000); Madigan (2002a), (2002b); Monaco and Gaier (1992); Mulholland et al. (2004); Parker and Rennie (2002); Rennie and Parker (1997); Streitmatter (1997), (1998); Walter (1997); Watson (1997)...

    Terri Thompsonet al. Often associated with increasing student achievement and improving the...

    • ...Forgasz and Leder 1995; Leder and Forgasz 1997; Rennie and Parker 1997), with mixed results...

    Helen J. Forgaszet al. Equity and Quality of Mathematics Education: Research and Media Portra...

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