Tuesday, 22 December 2009
just before the children broke up for Christmas, I went into my chosen school to conduct my empirical research. Broadly, the subject is 'gender'- specifically I am interested in if young children conform to unwritten gender norms - and if this changes between the ages of 4 and 7. My sample group was 4 year olds from reception and 7 year olds from year 2. I designed a computer game whereby various toys appeared on the screen and each child selected whether they thought 'boys' would like to play with it, "girls" would like to play with it or "both boys and girls" would like to play with it. As an extension, the children were periodically questioned about the choices they made and their responses recorded (ethically of course!) Several things I learned.....firstly....collection of this data took ages...much longer than I thought....I interviewed 30 reception children and 20 year 2 children and I had to spend a whole day and a half in school. Needless to say, I was sick of the computer game by the end of it!!! Secondly, I was amazed at the patterns which emerged from the research and how, whilst the children's responses in terms of were similar, they differed between the year groups - in other words the four year olds, whilst producing similar responses to each other, consistantly answered differently to the 7 year olds! The patterns were too obvious to be coincidence....it was so interesting. I haven't yet analysed....as it's now been placed into the 'B' drawer as the Globalisation essay as now gone into the 'A'drawer....but I am looking forward to making sense of these findings...not that I discovered anything new...but it does reaffirm the idea of children "doing" gender.....!