Girls, boys and discourse performances : pupil interaction and constructions of gender in the key stage 3 technology classroom.
This thesis explores some ways in which language can be employed as a tool for crosscurricular
learning in Key Stage 3 (KS3) education. An examination of how linguistic
interaction is employed by pupils as a means of facilitating their attainment of curriculaspecific
learning objectives provides a case study for exemplifying how language can be
used effectively across disciplines in secondary education. Within the context of
exploring pupils' interaction in the subject of Technology, this thesis explores some
gender differences in interaction and the potential effects that such differences can have
upon gender-differentiated attainment levels in KS3 Technology.
The data obtained for the thesis comprises transcripts of small group pupil-pupil
discussion taken from KS3 Technology lessons. The conversations of the groups were
recorded, transcribed and then analysed using a revised version of Francis and
Hunston's (1992) system of discourse analysis. Gender differences in the types of
discourse strategies employed by the participants were identified and evaluated in terms
of how effectively they function to facilitate the successful attainment of specific
The conclusions drawn from the findings of the research are that the discourse
collectively produced by the girls in the study tends to be more effective in facilitating
the attainment of learning objectives than that which is produced by the boys. This may,
in part, provide one possible explanation as to why the girls in the study achieve higher
attainment levels in KS3 Technology than the boys.