Writing: Reluctant Writers

Dr Paul Gardner | View as single page | Comment/Feedback

Teacher perceptions of gender

Early in the research when teachers were asked to identify reluctant writers in their class a common feature was teachers' tendency to name only boys. The gendered identity of the reluctant writers was questioned with reference to research in gender studies which suggests girls tend to subvert teacher directed learning by means of covert behaviour. Even though girls were included in the final sample, boys outnumbered girls on a ratio of 2:1. The gender imbalance of the cohort reflects more general trends in the consistent disparity between the genders found over years in England's SATs results which reveals boys' writing lagging behind that of girls in the primary age range (5-11 years) .

This finding raises questions about the issue of teachers' perceptions of gender in relation to written composition, suggesting there may be a proportion of girls who are being insufficiently challenged as writers because they do just enough to dip under the teachers' monitoring radar and, therefore, their reluctance to write is less transparent than that of their male counterparts.