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The expectations of girls in education and attainment

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Introduction

The expectations of girls in education and attainment The two research projects discussed in this essay are on attitudes towards and the expectations of girls in education and attainment. The authors are firstly Sue Sharpe, who researched girls' attitudes towards their expectations of education, attainment and career prospects. Secondly Dale Spender, who herself was a teacher, researched the time she spent talking in class to girls and also other teachers' attitudes towards girls. Sharpe researched using unstructured interviews to gain qualitative data and not statistical evidence. Spender researched using observation on how much time was spent in her classroom interacting with girls. Sharpe's study was carried out in 1972 and repeated in 1991, she interviewed 249 female pupils with a sub sample from the black population. Her findings were that girls' priorities were marriage and family life rather than jobs and career. Most girls held very traditional ideas about womanhood; marriage, husbands, children, jobs and careers, more or less in that order. Girls believed their lives are to be centred on domesticity marriage and restricted job opportunities. ...read more.

Middle

In methodology both the above studies were only small scale and could not represent the wider population. Spender's study was looking at inequality in education; she was examining the contribution made by the teachers towards girls. Sharpe was examining the attitudes of the girls while in the education system. In Spender's study there is such a great possibility of bias, Spender can be criticised for not explaining her methods of data collection and this prevents replication of her study. Was Spender influenced by the wider society and the values she learnt as a child are now put back into her classroom? In Sharpe's study reliability and validity could have affected her results she may have had personal dislikes or mutual attraction differences caused by race class or gender. Her questions might have changed in different interviews. She could have asked more in depth questions to some girls and not to others, she may have influenced many answers given by the girls. Nevertheless the results of Sharpe seems more likely to be accurate because the study has been repeated and the same attitudes of girls twenty years later were the same. ...read more.

Conclusion

Maybe a good option would be to have all single sex schools; this would stop all sexism in schools by teachers towards girls. Although teachers in a all female school still may not put as much effort into the girls' believing girls are only interesting in marriage and not career. So maybe single sex schools for girls may not work. Despite the efforts of the education system to secure equality in educational opportunities, children of equal ability from both sexes are still not achieving the same success. In looking at these two projects on gender inequality in education it seems to show that not only do teachers treat girls differently but also so do family members and society. Many girls are socialised or maybe innate factors should be considered about why girls believe they should become housewives, mothers and only have careers in the caring professions or do courses in humanities. Sharpe suggests girls do feel that they can not gain the attainment they deserve to become a specialist. She also suggests that girls are more interested in marriage than careers. I believe the education system fails to provide the equality and social mobility girls should all be entitled to. ...read more.

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