(Re)Engendering Classroom Space: Teachers, Curriculum, Policy, and Boys’ Literacy

Jan Pennycook


How teachers are engaging with a particular Ontario curriculum resource document, Me Read? No Way!, and the problem of boys’ literacy achievement in the context of a globalized neoliberal discourse of ‘failing boys’ has important implications for pedagogy and practice in the classroom. This investigation into teachers’ work adopts a feminist poststructural framework and uses critical discourse analysis to develop two case studies based on focus group interviews with a purposeful sampling of Intermediate level teachers. Not only are boys’ perceived needs and interests driving teacher choices in pedagogy and resource materials, but girls are perceived as not having any particular educational needs at all: boys will be boys and girls will be good. This investigation concludes that teacher professional knowledge must include a more developed understanding of how the social construction of gender is negotiated in the classroom.


boys’ literacy, teaching and gender, neoliberal education reform, ‘failing boys’, underachieving girls, male role models

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.20360/G2G016