Date of Award

Summer 2021

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Rhonda Jeffries


This qualitative, action research study investigated the ways that third grade students reacted when their worldviews concerning traditional gender roles and norms were challenged through classroom discourse, children’s literature, integrated art projects, and other writing and reading activities. The questions guiding this study were: (1) What is the impact of an English Language Arts unit involving texts and activities that depict nontraditional gender roles and norms on third grade students in a Southern, working class, elementary school?, (2) How are students’ preconceived notions in relation to gender roles and norms challenged over the course of the implemented curricular unit?, and (3) What are some of the difficulties of implementing a curricular unit that disrupts traditional gender roles and norms in an urban, Southern school? The student-participants for this study were third grade students and the setting was an elementary school located in Columbia, South Carolina. A pre-survey was administered to determine students’ preconceived notions regarding gender roles and norms, then a teacher created curricular unit designed to intentionally expose students to nontraditional gender roles and norms was executed, and finally a post-survey was administered to determine the impact of the unit. The data indicated student growth during the four week intervention.