Classroom interactions and the construction of students gender identity in a private primary school

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 interactions between teacher and student and student and student in the construction of gender identities of children of early years. The study was conducted in one of the co-education primary private school in Karachi, Pakistan. A case study approach was used within the qualitative paradigm to explore the phenomena of classroom interactions, both verbal and non-verbal, of Class II. Observations of the teachers’ and students’ actions and practices, interviews and artifacts and textbook analyses were done as they unfolded in the natural setting. The data was collected through observations of the classroom interactions, focus group interviews with students, formal and informal discussions with the teachers and analysis of the artifacts and the documents of Class II. All these sources helped me in exploring the role of classroom interactions in constructing gender identities in early years. The data gave me an in-depth understanding of the phenomena. The study reveals that they children bring powerful gender concepts from their homes and society in schools. The classroom, as a site, becomes a platform where the children reinforce and transform their gender identities by socialising with each other. Girls get messages of femininity, whereas boys get messages of masculinity through several means, such as language, actions, teaching and learning processes and curricular and non- curricular activities. It is the school and teachers who can challenge the gender stereotypes because teachers can play a role of change agents in the society and schools prepare the children for their future roles and responsibilities. The study also highlights the importance of favorable learning environment for both girls and boys by involving them in pairs and group discussions and activities. Sometimes, children may get involved in games for physical and mental development, and they may do so in order to make themselves social. The study evidenced that teachers treat boys and girls differently based on their assumptions. It points out the importance of gender awareness among the stakeholders of the school in order to provide them an equitable environment and to strengthen the students’ learning.

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