The silencing of girls' talk: Student perception or reality?

Year: 2006

Author: Godinho, Sally

Type of paper: Refereed paper

This paper discusses the findings of a research project funded by an Early Career Researcher grant from the University of Melbourne. The project's aim was to explore gender differences in ways that boys and girls in secondary classrooms engage in small-group discussion. Issues of 'showmanship' demonstrated by boys, their vocal domination, gender loyalty, and discipline issues emerged as major themes in the analysis of student interview data presented in an earlier paper (Godinho, 2004). These issues were challenged by an initial quantitative analysis of small-group discussion data. However, the critical discourse analysis (Fairclough, 2001; Gee, 1999; Luke, 1995) that was then applied to the data provided opportunities to examine more closely the discourses taken up by students and teachers, and to interpret how they impacted on dialogic processes. The videotaping of the small-group discussions enabled the analyses to extend beyond discourse patterns to explore how body language and student animation also impact on dialogic processes and the students' use of interactive space. These different layers of analysis provide insights into how discourses compete to construct and position teachers and students within the small-group discussion framework, and ultimately marginalize and silence some students.