Role of classroom culture in constructing gendered identities of children at the primary school level

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


The study aimed to explore the role of classroom culture in constructing gendered identities of children at primary school level. The study was conducted in one of the co-education public sector schools in Karachi, Pakistan, in Class Five to explore its culture. An observational study within qualitative paradigm was conducted to observe teachers and students' actions, interactions and decisions in the context, as they unfolded in the natural setting. The data were collected through observation of classroom culture, focused group interviews with children in single sex and mixed groups, unstructured interviews with teachers, informal discussions with children and teachers of Class Five and the analysis of artifacts and available documents in the classroom. All these sources helped me to explore the processes at a micro-level in order to get an in-depth understanding of the role of classroom culture in constructing gendered identities of children through close observations of the actions, as well as the verbal and nonverbal communication of the key players. The study revealed that children bring powerful gender concepts from their homes and society. The classroom as a cultural site becomes a platform for them to produce and reproduce gender stereotypes. Girls get messages of femininity, whereas boys learn masculine attributes through several means, such as language, which is used for both verbal and non-verbal communication among the key players, as well as through participation in the teaching learning processes and curricular and co-curricular activities. It is the school and teachers who can challenge the gender stereotypes, because teachers can play the role of change agents in society and the schools prepare the children for their future roles and responsibilities. The study also highlights the importance of a favorable learning environment for both boys and girls by involving them in pair and group activities. Sometimes, children may be involved in games for physical and mental development and to make them social. The study evidenced that teachers treat boys and girls differently, based on gendered expectations. It points out the importance of gender awareness among the teachers to provide an equitable learning environment to strengthen the students' learning.

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