Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: A theoretical model of female and male language, with particular reference to educational implications
Author: Spender, D.
Awarding Body: Institute of Education (University of London)
Current Institution: UCL Institute of Education (IOE)
Date of Award: 1981
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
The primary aim of this dissertation is to determine whether women and men have differential access to discourse, where discourse is used to encompass both the semantic and structural features of the language as well as conditions for its use: the objective is to develop a theoretical model of women's and men's access to discourse and to examine its educational implications. The parameters for the model are set in part by attempting to locate discourse in the experience of women (in itself a novel approach and of methodological significance) where the concept of women's 'silence' is frequently invoked both in terms of the resources afforded by the language and the opportunities for interaction in a mixed sex context. The research areas of language structure and language use are reviewed but because their separation is not maintained by conceptual boundaries, among many women, an attempt is made to integrate them under the broad heading of women's silence. Because women and women's experience has also been omitted or neglected within these research areas the review of the literature also serves to illuminate many of the problems and dimensions of women's silence. The theoretical model of female and male access to discourse takes into account this experience of women's silence and it is corroborated by linguistic and non linguistic evidence. The educational implications of the model are many and varied but attention is paid to the way in which women's exclusion from educational discourse has had ramifications for the entire educational enterprise, from policy making to school organisation and curriculum materials. The 'silence' of women in past and present educational research is also examined. Documentation of classroom interaction in mixed sex schools also helps to suggest that female students have reduced opportunities for talk and minimal opportunities for introducing a female version of experience into many classrooms: in this way their 'silence' is fostered and would appear to be perpetuated. As fundamental questions arise about co-education when it is suggested that boys profit from mixed sex education, the introduction of co-education, and the reasons for it, are also investigated and again an interpretation which is consistent with the thesis of women's silence in a male dominated society emerges. Because one of the basic aims of this dissertation has been to generate helpful hypotheses in this relatively new and complex area, consideration has been given to possible alternatives and future directions for research in education and language.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available