Where The Boys Are: The Experiences of Adolescent Boys and Their Female Teacher in Two Single Sex Drama Classrooms
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This qualitative case study explores the experiences of adolescent boys and their female teacher in two single sex drama classrooms over a two year period. It has been influenced by sociological and educational frames of knowledge with a specific emphasis on gender studies. Driven by the work of Biddulph (1995), Bly (1990), Pollack (1999), Hawkes (2001), Hartman (1999), Connell (1995,1996) and Kenway (1997), this research is ideologically grounded in theories that investigate the areas of masculinity, boys' education and drama practice. It takes as its pivotal focus the notion that educationally, adolescent boys are facing complex and troubled times and that a reassessment of the way boys are taught in schools is crucial. Additionally, the role and influence of the female teacher in the single sex boys' classroom was significant, providing an essential backdrop for investigating the classroom experiences of the boys. In the area of educational drama, research into adolescent boys and classroom drama is still unfolding.This thesis contributes to knowledge in this area and reveals the important benefits and potential that educational drama holds for empowering young males to explore their own masculine identities and understand their world with clarity and insight. Data collected during this research forms the basis of a narrative journey shared between the reader and the researcher. The research is heavily grounded in the ethnographic tradition of 'telling stories' from the field - stories which reveal the authentic lived experiences of the participants. Part of the greater story told here includes that of the researcher and documents some of the more notable challenges and highlights of working in the field over an extended time frame. Specifically, the research addresses the following questions: What benefits do adolescent boys perceive they gain from doing drama? How do adolescent boys communicate with each other in the drama classroom? How do adolescent boys approach drama work in their classroom? How do they perceive their own experiences and relationships in a single-sex drama classroom? What role does their female teacher play in their experiences in the drama classroom? The research revealed a number of important considerations for the fields ofsociology, gender studies and education. Amongst some of the major findings was the potential of drama to break down stereotypical notions associated with masculinity and boys' abilities to excel in area such as the Arts. The enjoyment and fulfillment that the boys felt they gained from participating in drama resulted in a heathlier classroom environment characterised by a greater tolerance and understanding of each boy's individual masculinity. It was also revealed that the presence of a female drama teacher was considered an advantage, granting the boys access to a field of knowledge and feeling that was different to their 'male ways of knowing.' Additionally, for the field of drama, the research revealed that the value of solid planning, a defined understanding of contemporary drama practice and implementing learning experiences carefully and thoughtfully grounded in the lives of the students, cannot be underestimated as essential components of effective drama teaching.
Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
School of Vocational, Technology and Arts Education
Item Access Status
high school education