Howe, Julia (2009)
Ed.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
The aim of this research was to investigate how the emotions and emotional difficulties of secondary aged girls are constructed by teachers and the girls themselves, through the investigation of the discourses surrounding girls’ emotions. The rationale for choosing this topic was the difference in the numbers of girls and boys referred to educational support services in the U.K. in order to access support and provision for behavioural, emotional and social difficulties. The research used ideas from social constructionism (Gergen,2001) and feminist poststructuralism (Weedon, 1999), in order to explore how the emotions of secondary aged girls are constructed. Two research methods were used; focus groups with Year 9 girls and semi-structured interviews with their teachers. Discourse analysis was used in order to explore the discourses that were employed by the girls and their teachers when constructing the emotions and emotional difficulties of pupils. The findings suggest that the analysis of constructions of emotion and gender in schools can contribute to an understanding of gender differences in referral rates to support services. The limitations of the research findings and their relevance to the role of the educational psychologist are also considered.
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