1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Reception class dissertation

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by amandalawford1991, Oct 12, 2015.

  1. amandalawford1991

    amandalawford1991 New commenter

    Hi, I'm currently on my third year of a degree in Primary education and have to come up with a proposal for my research project/dissertation..Very scary! I work as a teaching assistant in a reception classroom, and was considering looking at something to do with how gender stereotype affects children's choice in play within the classroom (maybe focusing on influences from adults?) That's kind of as far as my idea is going..!
    I considered questionnaires with the children from my class, with pictures of different toys and getting them to choose which they would like to play with. I also think its important to look at the impact of the adult, possibly sending questionnaires to parents (not exactly sure what questions I would ask? any ideas would be great) and maybe interviewing teachers to find their views. I also wanted to do some sort of observation in the classroom, possibly just setting out some different typical gender bias things such as the pink dolls house and the dinosaurs, and seeing who goes where. Not sure if this is an observation that would need to be done multiple times, or on 2 different classes to make it more reliable.

    As you can see, my ideas are all over the place and I can't seem to pull them together anywhere. ANY advice or suggestions of what might work would be amazing!! My deadline for my proposal is looming and im becoming increasingly stressed! xx
  2. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    I think it's an interesting area to research, but at the moment your ideas are too broad. You need to narrow things down and select a focus, and then narrow that focus down and select a question that can be directly answered through your research.

    Your idea about observing in the classroom sound good, but again, it needs to be more specific. You also need to consider other influences on children's choice: is Ella's choice to play with the pink dolls house to do with gender stereotyping, or is she there because her best friend is playing there? Is Theo playing with the dinosaurs because he wants to, or because there are no boys playing with the dolls house (which is what he'd really like to do)?
  3. Kizzz

    Kizzz New commenter

    I did a very similar dissertation last year which focussed on the children's perceptions of gender and how this affected their play. I ended up doing observations of the children, for example within stereotypical gendered areas of the room (I was in a pre-school) such as the home corner and the construction area.
    PM if you need any help!
  4. missrturner

    missrturner Occasional commenter

    A teacher at my school completed her dissertation for her MA last year on a similar sort of broad idea. She looked at children's ideas of race and how it was portrayed/influenced. Before she decided to stick to this idea she asked us to write down quotes/obs of children talking about skin colour/race.
    I remember specifically writing down a quote from a little girl in my class who had pointed out her friends were darker skinned because they were from 'other places' and a colleague also overheard one of the boys claiming that only he could be superman because he was the right colour.

    After gathering lots of different quotes/observations she then focused on just one for her research - the superman one - and actually used the quote in the title. She then based her research around children's ideas of race influenced by the world around them (ie tv shows, toys, etc) as her observations allowed her to narrow her research.

    Perhaps you could spend a week observing the children. Do the girls make comments about wanting to play with the boys? Do the boys not allow the girls to play football with them? (This was a common playground squabble in my last school) Are there any mixed-gender friendship groups? When you ask the children who their friends are do they only say same sex names? Allow their natural perceptions/responses guide your ideas first. Then you could interview the children about one specific area that stands out to you the most.

    E.g if you were to gather observations that showed the boys did not like the girls playing football with them you could interview the children about this. What else should the girls play with? Why can you not play together? Would you like to play any of the girls games? etc etc.

    This would generally allow you to shape your questionnaires and focus on the research journals you read too. It would also allow you to interview the teachers with a more clear focus. 'Have you noticed that the girls don't play in this areaxxx? 'Do you try to encourage the girls to play withxxxx - why not?'

    Hope this helps! :)

Share This Page