Date of Award

2010

Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Leadership and Policies

Sub-Department

Educational Administration

First Advisor

Lynn Harrill

Abstract

The purpose of this mixed methods phenomenological case study is twofold. First, this study will seek to determine whether a single-gender environment can positively enhance the perceptions male learners have of literacy and literacy learning. Secondly, this study will seek to identify instructional strategies male students perceive to contribute the most to their literacy learning. Through a QUAL-Quan mixed-methods approach, data collection occurred primarily through surveys, interviews, focus groups, and classroom observations over the course of twelve weeks. In summary, the general perceptions fifth grade boys have of literacy were analyzed through descriptive statistics while qualitative methods were used to obtain a deeper understanding of how various instructional strategies utilized within a single-gender environment can influence the perceptions boys have of literacy or the learning of literacy.

The first guiding question regarding the perspective male students have of literacy and literacy learning when instruction is provided within a single-gender environment was primarily addressed through quantitative methods. Approximately 130 male students were surveyed to gather a broad, general understanding of the perceptions male learners have of literacy and literacy learning. Pre-and post-surveys were given during the course of this study, and any similarities or differences between the fall and spring results were noted and analyzed. As bookends, results of the survey helped to determine if a single-gender environment influenced the perceptions fifth grade male students have of literacy and literacy learning.

To address the second guiding question related to student perception of instructional strategies, qualitative methods were primarily utilized. Four boys from one of six classes were selected to participate in an in-depth, comprehensive engagement of interviews and focus groups that resulted in a phenomenological case study. Criterion sampling was utilized in selecting student participants in order to obtain a general understanding of student perceptions within this particular context. This method of research enabled the researcher to understand which instructional strategies are perceived to be most beneficial to literacy learning of male students within a single-gender classroom.

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