Samantha Abbott

Discipline: Education

Project Summary

As part of my role as SENCo I have often come across stereotypical viewpoints from teachers regarding boys’ attitudes towards learning and in particular those boys with low literacy levels and how this can affect attitudes to learning. As I have progressed through the pre-thesis phase this has become an area where I have developed my expertise further. The EdD project that I am about to embark on requires some refinement, however the research questions that I aim to answer are:
1. Are literacy difficulties perceived as a gendered problem by both boys and teachers?
2. What subjects, if any, are perceived to have gendered stereotypes by those boys with identified literacy difficulties?
3. How far, if at all, do boys with literacy difficulties believe that gender stereotypes within a subject has an impact on their own attitude towards studying that subject?
4. How far, if at all, do boys believe that gender identity has an impact on their achievement?
5. How similar or different are teacher beliefs to those of boys with literacy difficulties?
I aim to conduct an explanatory study using a mixed methods approach within the critical interpretivist paradigm. My intention is to integrate the findings from questionnaires, focus group interviews and semi-structured observations to reach tentative judgements about the questions above and to suggest possible actions for developing future practice.

Wider Research Interests

My research is currently heavily focused within gender and the existence and impact of gender stereotypes on achievement in secondary schools. I am also interested in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and how stereotypes may affect students’ and teachers’ approaches to the curriculum. However, as part of my continuing study I have developed interests in other areas. These include:
• The creation, destruction and shaping of identities from a socio-cultural perspective;
• The role of policy within education: its value, limitations and practical applications;
• Teachers’ personal influences on learning: how far do their own perspectives, views and prejudices influence the attitudes of the students?
At the moment I have limited scope for exploring these areas however, they are all areas I would like to consider in further research in the future.