Open Collections

UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

An investication of the participation of boys in family management courses Hall, Ellen Clare 1993

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata


831-ubc_1993_spring_hall_ellen.pdf [ 5.11MB ]
JSON: 831-1.0054749.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0054749-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0054749-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0054749-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0054749-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0054749-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0054749-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

AN INVESTIGATION OF THE PARTICIPATION OF BOYS INFAMILY MANAGEMENT COURSESByELLEN CLARE HALLBHE The University of British Columbia, 1980A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THEREQUIREMENTS OF THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSINTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIESCentre for the Study of Curriculum and InstructionWe accept this thesis as conforming to therequired standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAApril 1993©Ellen Clare Hall, 1993In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature)Department of (Cexr\-(e, cOt 4-he SA v 6,1 cc^k^ csnThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate ^DE-6 (2/88)ABSTRACTThis study examined boys' participation in FamilyManagement. It looked at non-enrolled boys' perceptions ofFamily Management, enrolled boys' experiences in FamilyManagement, and boys' beliefs about the relevance of FamilyManagement to their present and future family lives. Data werecollected from student interviews, teacher interviews, andclassroom observations at two different sites. One site had ahigh participation rate for boys in Family Management while theother site had a low participation rate.The study found that boys' participation was less thangirls' for a number of reasons. Boys' believed they would notuse the information taught in Family Management in their futurelives, as they could not envision themselves performing non-traditional work around the home. A second reason for boys'low participation was that they viewed the concepts taught inHome Economics as basic, boring, and common sense. Many boysfelt they could pick up these concepts by watching their parents.Thirdly, boys selected courses they believed would help themsecure a future job or career.The most powerful influence on boys' decisions toparticipate in Family Management at the high participationschool was a recommendation from friends and school staff.^Thereputation of Family Management in the school also hasinfluenced enrollment decisions.llBoys' experiences in Family Management were varied and wereinfluenced by the gender compositon of the class. Boys reportedthat some of the topics were oriented toward girls and notrelevant to themselves. The presence of boys in FamilyManagement had an effect on the classroom environment, studentteacher interaction, and the way the teacher taught the class.Questions arising from this study included: (1) What arethe expressed viewpoints of boys concerning the purposes oftheir education? (2) How can teachers reduce the stereotypingof boys and girls in Family Management courses and fosterappreciations of the diversity of girls and boys? (3) Has theenrollment of boys within Family Management contributed togender inequity for the girls?lllTABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract^ iiTable of Content^ ivList of Tables viiiAcknowledgements^ ixChapter 1 Introduction^ 1Research Questions 4Definition of Terms^ 5Limitations^ 7Signigicance of Study^ 8Outline of Thesis 9Chapter 2 Literature Review^ 11Gender Equity Developments and Changes in Feminist Thought ^ 11Equal Opportunity^ 11Revaluing the Female 15Rethinking the Whole^ 17Historical Development in Home Economics Education^ 21The Participation of Boys' in Home Economics^ 26Summary^ 32Chapter 3 Methodology^ 33Research Design^ 34Gaining Entry to the Settings^ 34ivThe School District^ 38The Schools 38Methods^ 39Data Collection and Analysis^ 39Interview^ 39Classroom Observations^ 41Documents^ 42Chapter 4 The Findings^ 43Factors Affecting Boys' Participation in Family Management ^ 43Teacher Interviews^ 44Reasons for Enrolling in Family Management^ 47Enrollment at the High Participation School^ 47Enrollment at the Low Participation School 48Non-enrollment at the High Participation School^ 49Non-enrollment at the Low Participation School 50Summary^ 51Non-enrolled Boys' Perceptions of Home EconomicsHigh Participation School^ 54Low Participation School 54Non-enrolled Boys' Perceptions of Family Management^ 57High Participation School^ 59Summary^ 61Experiences in Family Management Coursesat the High Participation School^ 63Narrow Focus of Course Content 64Female Orientation^ 65Lack of Male Voice 67Stereotyping of Boys^ 68Experiences in Family Management Courses at theLow Participation School^ 90Summary^ 97Perceived Relevance Family Management Courses^ 98Non-enrolled Boys at the High Participation School^ 98Non-enrolled Boys at the Low Participation School^ 103Enrolled Boys at the High Participation School^ 108Enrolled Boys at the Low Participation School 117Chapter 5 Conclusions^ 120Summary^ 120Conclusions 122Discussion^ 125Factors Influencing Boys' Participation inFamily Management^ 125Parental Attitude 126Peer Pressure^ 127Attitudes of Members of the School Staff^ 128viNon-enrolled Boys' Perceptions of Home Economics^ 129Boys' Experiences in Family Management^ 131Boys domination^ 131Personal Nature of Class Activities^ 132Female Orientation of Family Management Curriculum^ 133Relevancy of Family Management to Boys' Presentand Future FamilyRoles^ 136Implications for Home Economics Curriculum Development^ 141Perceptions^ 141Needs 143Interests^ 144Experiences 144Implications for Teacher Education^ 146Implications for Future Research 147References^ 149AppendicesA. Teacher Consent Form^ 149B. Interview Protocol for Family Management Teachers^ 152C. Interview Protocol for Students^ 155D. Student Consent Form^ 159E. Student Sample by Name 160vi iList of Tables Table 1. Course Enrollment Data ^ 33Table 2. Student Sample^ 37viiiAcknowledgements This thesis is dedicated to my family, Dave, Amanda andAndrew, for their patience, understanding, and support.My sincere thanks to Dr. Linda Peterat, for her time,encouragement and useful comments.Thank you also to Dr. James Gaskell and Dr. Allison Tom fortheir helpful suggestions, Roger Oura for his computer expertise,and to the teachers and students who participated in this study.ixChapter 1 IntroductionSchools have been criticized for reproducing genderinequalities in society. Since the late 1960s schools have beenthe target of many reform policies designed to make educationand schools more equitable. These reforms have had manydifferent agendas, but their common goal has been to makeschools more equitable for girls. Jane Roland Martin (1981)argues that our current educational system is inequitable inthat it provides an education primarily for the productiveprocesses but not the reproductive processes of society.According to Martin, schooling perpetuates societal inequalitiesthrough valuing certain school subjects differently. Forexample, some subjects are designated core and academic(Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies) while others areelective and non academic (Home Economics, Art and Music),implying some subjects are more important than others. Timedevoted to learning academic subjects is greater than timedevoted to non-academic. Course content in many school subjectsis dominated by the events and activities related to theproductive processes of society. The core, or most valuedsubjects, educate primarily for the productive processes oreconomy of society while the elective subjects, such as HomeEconomics and the Fine Arts, educate for the reproductiveprocesses. Gaskell and McLaren (1991) support Martin's critique1of schooling:The curriculum has been designed to prepare menfor the public and productive spheres of work andcitizenship...It has ignored the privatereproductive spheres of family, love, intimacy,for these were the domains of women. Women andwomen's concerns did not belong in the public worldof school. (p. 225)Patricia Thompson (1986a) also lends support to Martin andthe Gaskell-McLaren position. She considers an equitableeducation, that is, one that would contribute to gender equityfor girls and boys, would include an equal balance of educationfor the productive and reproductive processes of society. Byproductive processes Thompson means all the activities that takeplace outside of family life including economic, political andoccupational.^The reproductive processes refer to activitiesthat take place within the family such as meal preparation,household management, and the development and maintenance ofrelationships and parenting.Recent research has focused on female participation innon-traditional occupations and school courses.^Studies havetended to be concerned with female participation in Mathematicsand Science (DuBois & Schubert, 1986; Gaskell, McLaren, Oberg &Eyre 1993; Wienekamp, 1987). Equity, concerned only with womensecuring acceptance and opportunity in non-traditional2occupations and courses, is an insufficient notion of equity forit serves to enhance and value further the already over-valuedcore courses. Such efforts serve to tip the scales more infavour of schooling for the productive processes of society.This study adopts the view that equity in society will not beachieved until there is equity in the valuing of humanproductive and reproductive processes. If schooling is to beequitable and just, it would mean:(a)those courses currently focused on productiveprocesses (men's activities and experiences) wouldbe balanced with a focus on women's experience inthese productive processes.(b)an equal amount of time in the school curriculum devotedto, and equal value ascribed to, school subjectseducating for the reproductive and productive processesof society for both young women and men.(c) those courses which focus on the reproductive processesof society need to be balanced by incorporating men'sexperiences and viewpoints.If we are to achieve an equitable education, according tothe above stand point drawn from arguments by Thompson andMartin, then we must gain knowledge about boys' participation inHome Economics courses so we can better understand the ways in3which the subject can become both more inclusive of boys and aforce to achieve equity in school and society. Thisunderstanding will enable us:(a)to incorporate boys' experiences and interests inour courses.(b)to modify courses so that they may more effectivelycontribute to educating for equitable school, home andfamily relationships, working towards the larger goal ofa gender equitable society.Family Management is the branch of Home Economics courses inBritish Columbia school curricula which has the most potentialfor contributing to gender equity. Boys increasingly participatein the Family Management 11 and 12 courses, although rates ofparticipation vary and boys generally participate less thangirls. Recognizing the need for boys to participate in FamilyManagement courses equally with girls, this study investigatedthe participation of boys in Family Management.Research Ouestions Specific research questions in this study were:1. Why do boys participate less in Family Management courses4than girls?a) What perceptions do non-enrolling boys have of FamilyManagement courses?b) When boys are enrolled in Family Management, what are theirexperiences in the course?c) How relevant do boys see the topics studied in FamilyManagement to their lives and future participation infamilies?Definition of Terms The following terms are central to this study: gender,equity, gender equity, gender balanced, gender sensitive,reproductive process and productive process.Gender socialization begins at birth as parents, siblingsand others treat girls and boys differently. This socializationinvolves different notions, rules, actions, skills andbehaviours which have been constructed by society and assignedto a specific sex (Evans, 1988). For the purpose of this studythe term gender refers to both the biological and sociallyconstructed differences between males and females.The term equity refers to justice, fairness, freedom frombias or favoritism. Applied to education, it means equal accessto courses, schools and occupations for females and males.Equity also refers to the treatment within, and the outcomes, ofschooling (Hyman & Schaaf, 1981). In this study gender equityrefers to females and males receiving equal access to, equitabletreatments within, and equal benefits from schooling. Gender5equity means placing equal value on the characteristics andactivities which have traditionally been associated with one orthe other gender. Nurturing, sharing and cooperation are asimportant as competition and achievement. It means women andmen are educated to work comfortably and competently in eitheror both the reproductive and productive processes. Activitiesperformed as part of both processes are seen as equally valuablefor both genders.Gender balanced schooling includes in its curriculum theexperiences and perceptions of both men and women. Equal valueis placed on "those activities traditionally considered feminineand masculine" (Hayibor, 1990 p. 9).A gender sensitive approach to education acknowledges thedifferences between girls and boys, and provides compensatoryeducation for the disadvantaged. Gender sensitive educationacknowledges gender when it makes a difference and ignores itwhen it does not (Martin, 1985,1986).The reproductive processes include all activities whichtake place within the family. These activities includeparenting, developing and maintaining relationships, mealpreparation and household management.The productive processes include activities that takeplace outside of the home and family setting. They includepolitical, cultural, employment and economic activities. Thereproductive processes are commonly regarded as "private" and areoften described as invisible (Thompson, 1986a). The productiveprocesses are "public" and visible in the sense of being more6commonly studied and occuring in public places. Theseactivities are often the focus of media coverage. In the genderequity literature one may find the terms reproductive sphere andproductive sphere. I have chosen not to use the term sphere asthe term tends to connote a separateness. The reproductiveprocesses and productive processes are not separate entities butrealms of activity that interact with one another. Thompson(1988), believes one cannot separate the private family life(reproductive processes) from the public (productive processes)because we all participate in both and at the level ofindividual experience neither is totally separate.Limitations 1) This study focused on boys' participation in FamilyManagement courses and did not study boys' participationin other Home Economics courses such as Foods andNutrition or Clothing and Textiles.2) Other factors such as social class and ethnic group mayalso have effected boys' participation. These factorswere not centrally examined within the context of thisstudy, although, I was sensitive to their possibleinfluence.3) This study has geographical limitations. It wasconducted in a large suburban school districtand is limited by the particular context of FamilyManagement courses in British Columbia and cannot be7generalized to all Home Economics courses or to allregions of British Columbia.Significance of the StudyThis study of boys' participation in Family Managementclasses may provide a number of contributions to Home Economicseducation, and to the broader field of education.Since the early 1970s Home Economics teachers have beenconcerned with increasing the enrollment of boys in theirprograms. Boys' enrollment in foods and nutrition courses hasincreased, but despite various strategies, girls continue tooutnumber boys by 3022 to 46 in clothing and textiles and 6635to 1165 in Family Management (B.C. Ministry of Education, 1989).The traditional view of man as the breadwinner and woman as thecaregiver in families continues to break down as many womenoften return to positions of paid employment after giving birth.These changes are and will continue to have an impact on familylife. The challenge to Home Economics teachers is to prepareboth girls and boys for new dual roles of homemaker and wageearner. Barbara Bovy (1985) suggests:The responsibility of teacher educators in to develop competencies in youngmen and women for the dual role of homemaker/wageearner...and to help remove barriers that preventstudents of both sexes from achieving their full8potential. (p. 4)At present, Family Management courses are reaching a smallpercentage of boys in the total school population. This studywill provide Home Ecomomics teachers with information on boys'perceptions of Family Management, and their experiences in thecourse. This information can increase teachers' sensitivity toboys' experiences in Family Management classes and enable HomeEconomics teachers to plan and implement various strategies toattract more boys into the course. Secondly the findings ofthis research may provide us with information regarding boys'perceptions on the relevancy of their education to their lifeand future lives in families. This information should be ofinterest to Home Economics teachers and curriculum developersinterested in making Home Economics more gender equitable.Finally, this study will add to the body of knowledge ongender equity. While most of the gender equity research haslooked at girls' participation in non-traditional subjectchoices, this study focuses on boys' participation in HomeEconomics, a non-traditional subject for boys. It willinvestigate Home Economics, a subject area identified with women,home and family and thus neither considered a valuable nordesirable area of endeavor for young men. This reality poses aparticular challenge for gender equity policy and action inschools.9Outline of Thesis A review of relevant literature appears in Chapter Two. Thereview is divided into three sections: (1) the development andchanges in feminist thought about gender equity, (2) a briefhistory of Home Economics education and (3) the participation ofboys in Home Economics courses. Chapter Three outlines theselection of research sites and subjects, and the specific meansof data collection. Chapter Four reports the findings whichinclude: (1) reasons for selecting and not selecting FamilyManagement, (2) boys' perceptions of Family Management (3) boys'experiences in Family Management and (4) boys' perceivedrelevance of Family Management to their future lives. InChapter Five the findings are discussed; a summary of the studyis developed along with conclusions and recommendations.10Chapter 2 Literature ReviewGender Equity: Development and Changes in Feminist Thought While there are disagreements over a clear definition ofequal opportunity, there is little disagreement that equaleducational opportunity is something we as a society value.These disagreements have resulted in different gender equityperspectives. A review of gender research literatureilluminates three equity perspectives, all having a similar goal,to make schools more gender equitable for girls. Theseperspectives have evolved over time and have influencededucational policy. These three equity perspectives have beendescribed in the literature as (a) equal opportunity, (b)revaluing the female and (c) rethinking the whole (Gaskell &McLaren 1987, 1991; Weiner, 1989).Equal OpportunityIn the early 1960s and 1970s feminists targeted the schoolsystem as a major force in perpetuating gender inequalities insociety. Their aim was to remove course and career accessbarriers and to reform educational policy, textbooks andteaching practices. School and government policies wereattacked that denied entrance of girls into non-traditionalcourses, programs and careers. The response in the United11States was enactment of legislation such as Title VI of theCivil Rights Act And Title IX of the Education Amendments of1972, which prohibit the denial of participation in federallyassisted programs because of sex, race or social class (Hymanand Schaaf, 1981). In 1976, the Vocational EducationalAmendment provided moneys to states to support programs toovercome sex stereotyping in vocational education. In 1978, theBritish Columbia government declared that no student should bedenied enrollment in a secondary school course based on his orher sex (School Department Circular No. 75, 1978). Shortlyafter this circular, some schools developed an integrated LifeSkills Eight program in which both girls and boys took coursesin Woodwork, Metalwork, Drafting, Foods and Nutrition, andClothing and Textiles. This Life Skills Eight program replacedtwo traditional courses, Technology Education Eight which hadprimarily boy participants and a girl dominated Home EconomicsEight course.In addition to the removal of course access barriers,feminists also lobbied for other changes such as the removal ofsex role stereotyping in curriculum, textbooks and resources.These were identified as being responsible for channeling girlsinto traditional school subjects and low paying jobs. Womenwere urged to enter areas of employment that were dominated bymen. To prepare young women for these higher paying jobs, theywere encouraged to enrol in non-traditional courses such asTechnology (Industrial) Education, Mathematics and the Sciences.The gender equity literature reveals no parallel encouragement12of young men to enrol in non-traditional courses such as HomeEconomics, English and Fine Arts.Feminist researchers examined textbooks for gender bias,and found many of the textbooks used, pictured women and men instereotypical roles. Elementary school readers often picturedmothers at home baking, and fathers working at the office. TheB.C. Ministry of Education responded to these concerns with theappointment of an advisory group whose purpose was to developguidelines and monitor educational materials for stereotyping.The British Columbia Teachers' Federation in 1975 also respondedwith the production of non-sexist curriculum materials forelementary schools.Despite their successes, the equal opportunitiesinitiatives had short-comings. Wolfe (1986) has challenged theassumption that equal access to education would achieve equalopportunity:Access to the male curriculum does not automaticallycreate equality unless it also makes affirmative andserious efforts to change what girls and women aretaught. It is not sufficient to offer women accessto a curriculum and a pedagogy that affirms theirinferiority as the natural order in a male centeredculture. (p. 287)Today, fourteen years after the B.C. government removed accessbarriers to secondary school courses, women are still13concentrated in the lower paying jobs in the labor force (MacKie,1991). The enrollment of boys continues to outnumber theenrollment of girls in Physics and Technology Courses. Theenrollment of girls outnumbers the enrollment of boys in ModernLanguages, Business and Home Economics courses.A second error in the equal access initiatives was thefailure to recognize the different treatments which girls andboys received in the classroom. Studies have shown that boysreceive more instructional attention, praise, and criticism thangirls. Boys were also given more detailed instructions (Harvey,1986). Sadker and Sadker (1986) contend that this unequaltreatment is the result of teachers receiving little or notraining in sex equity behaviour, and that "educators aregenerally unaware of the presence or the impact of this bias" (p.512).While there have been some positive steps taken toward theremoval of stereotyping from curriculum materials and resources,recent studies suggest that stereotyping in textbooks continues.Bernice Hayibor (1990), in her detailed analysis of three HomeEconomics textbooks, found that gender bias continues to existin three textbooks currently used in the teaching of FamilyManagement.One of the most significant pitfalls of the equalopportunities initiatives is what Gaskell et al. (1989) calledthe "deficit model". Girls themselves were blamed for their lackof achievement and status:14The problem is located in girls' abilities andaspirations instead of in the curriculum...They leaveunchallenged the gender bias in the schools ...girlsmust be changed. Men are the model of achievement...Women need remedial programs to make them more likemen...Such an approach devalues the skills and attitudesof women suggesting they are bad because they lead tolow achievement. (p. 17)Another weakness of the equal opportunities efforts was thefailure to address equity issues for girls in the reproductiveprocess. These early initiatives were concerned with equityonly in the productive processes of society which were dominatedby male values and norms (Martin, 1985).The equal opportunities initiatives did make some gainstoward achieving gender equity with the enactment of legislation,and the development of compensatory education programs for girls.Despite these educational changes, feminists argued theinequities in society continued (Gaskell & McLaren, 1991).There emerged a new view of what was necessary in schooling:revaluing of the female.Revaluing the Female These efforts in securing gender equity, unlike the equalopportunities initiatives, focussed on the importance of female15qualities and attempted to address some of the weaknesses ofearlier efforts. The emphasis shifted from trying to make womenmore like men to valuing and appreciating 'feminine' qualitiesand characteristics. The urging of young women to enter non-traditional careers was not seen as the only means to genderequity (Gaskell & McLaren, 1987). Work traditionally done byfemales is both valuable and necessary to society. Feministsproposed that society should appreciate its worth. Colleges anduniversities began to offer women's studies programs. Theseprograms were very important to the feminist movement, since asWolfe (1986) points out women's studies courses have "focussedattention for the first time on women as a distinguishable groupto be studied from their own perspective" (p. 287). Thesewomen's studies courses were 'empowering' to women, and evidencesuggested that women who participated in them had higher selfconcepts than women who did not (Gaskell & McLaren, 1987).Although many feminists were in support of these programs,others felt that university was too late for this type ofeducation to begin.The movement toward revaluing the female resulted in achange in the focus of educational research as for the firsttime, educational researchers began to examine womens'experiences:Where women were invisible in academic texts, theyare beginning to have a presence. Where questionsabout women were never asked, they are now being16pursued. The enormous gap in our knowledge abouthow women live, think and feel are providingopportunities for new research and innovativescholarship. (Gaskell & McLaren, 1987, p. 10)While revaluing of female characteristics and qualities hasattracted support (Gaskell & McLaren 1987; Thompson 1986a;Martin, 1986), many feminists have also argued that revaluingthe female on its own will not achieve gender equity in society.Gaskell and McLaren (1987) point out that "revaluing the femalefalls prey to condoning characteristics that women havedeveloped in response to male domination, and to automaticallydenigrating male characteristics" (p. 11). Gaskell and McLarenfelt that "feminist scholarship must develop alongside, beincorporated into and ultimately transform the mainstreamdisciplines, and the curriculum which all students learn" (p.43). Unless there is a transformation of curriculum they arguedmost students will continue their education in what they call'mens' studies'. Short-comings in the revaluing the femaleperspective have led to a third perspective in feminist thought,"rethinking the whole".Rethinking the Whole In this perspective the qualities, traits, and tasks thathave been genderized for females are valued for everyone, men andwomen. Advocates of 'rethinking the whole' argue that our17current educational structures and curriculum are biased infavour of males. They suggested that this schooling onlyprepares individuals for life in societies' productive processes(Bovy, 1985; Gaskell & McLaren, 1991; Martin, 1981, 1985;Thompson 1984). Martin (1981) best exemplified this perspectivein contending that within our current education system a body ofknowledge has developed which "ignores or misrepresents theexperience and lives of women" (p. 99):The intellectual disciplines to which a person mustbe initiated to become an educated person excludewomen and their works, construct the female to themale image of her and deny the truly feminine qualitiesshe does possess. (p. 101)Martin argued that if a person is to be educated, then they musthave an education in both the productive and the reproductiveprocesses of society, and society has largely ignored the latter.The traits, characteristics and tasks of the reproductiveprocesses are "central to the lives of each of us" (Martin 1981,p.106). Martin (1981) and Thompson (1986b) expressed a beliefthat since women and men take an active role in both processes,they should be educated in each. However, Martin (1985) andMacKie (1991) suggested that we cannot assume that theactivities and tasks that take place within the reproductiveprocesses are learned either in the family or in the workplace.18Women's status outside the home depends upon equitabledivision of work within the home. Women are floodinginto the paid labour force. However, their presencethere will not revolutionize existing gender arrangements.(MacKie 1991, p. 274)Citing statistics of family and domestic violence as proof,Martin (1985) argued "that knowledge, skills, attitudes, andtraits of character necessary for effectively carrying out thereproductive processes of society don't occur naturally" (p.6),but rather must be nurtured through a 'balanced education'within a system of schooling:We must not ignore these tasks and qualities that havebeen assigned to women and to the private (reproductive)sphere; rather we must integrate them into the main streamin the public school system. We must build nurturingcapacities and an ethics of care into the curriculum forall our students and not depend on women to learn itprivately, and do it for us all. (Martin in Gaskell &McLaren 1987, p. 48)Martin (1981) also noted, that in order for an education to be"gender just" it must be gender-sensitive. She contended that agender-sensitive approach would take "sex or gender into accountwhen it makes a difference and ignore it when it does not" (p.109).19Martin and others have called for a transformation of thecurriculum and structure of schooling to represent the lives andexperiences of both women and men. This transformation wouldrequire a shift in educational policy, curriculum reform and achange in teacher attitude. This "change" does not mean aseparate reproductive-focussed curriculum for girls and aproductive-focussed curriculum for boys. Martin, has pointedout, however, that it may mean different educational treatmentfor girls and boys. For example research that has explored theconnections between gender and learning styles may result incompensatory education for boys in terms of genderdifferentiated teaching strategies (Tetreault, 1986).Thompson (1984) has advocated Home Economics as a window ofopportunity for a gender sensitive and gender balancedcurriculum:Everyday problems addressed by the Home Economicscurriculum- family living, preparing nutritious meals,caring for children, clothing and housing the individualand family- would appear to fall into this neededcurriculum. (p. 333)Home Economics has traditionally been regarded as a coursewhich prepares young women with the skills required to completework in the reproductive processes of society. Home Economicscourses have been affected by each of the three inititives forgender equity. The equal opportunities perspective encouraged20Home Economics teachers to develop co-educational courses.Teachers examined curricula, resources and textbooks forstereotyping, and made modifications in courses so they wouldappeal more to boys. The "rethinking the whole" perspective hassparked an interest in gender equity in Home Economics among anumber of educators (Bovy, 1985; Eyre, 1992; Hayibor, 1990;Thompson, 1986b). The philosophical beliefs of "rethinking thewhole" have the potential to substantially alter Home Economicscurriculum and schooling in general.Historical Development in Home EcOripMtcs_EripcationToward the end of the nineteenth century gradual industrialgrowth brought about changes affecting family life. The familychanged from producer of goods to consumer. This change broughtabout a separation of work within the family and work doneoutside the family. In urban centres, the family was no longerable to educate their young in manual training as men, women,and children were now spending a large part of their day outsidethe home employed as factory workers. Manual training is a termthat was initially used to describe practical training in bothHome Economics and Industrial Education. Later this term wasassociated with boys' training in Industrial Education. Aseducation in manual training disappeared from the home, theschool was identified as an agent that could take over thefamily's educational role (Wilson, 1985). At the turn of thecentury womens groups lobbied for the inclusion of Home21Economics into the school system. One of the most influentialgroups was the Victoria Local Council of Women. A result oftheir lobbying efforts was the implementation of the first HomeEconomics foods program in a Victoria school in 1903. HomeEconomics (Domestic Science) programs were seen as a way toimprove family life. The changes in family life brought aboutby industrialization and urbanization, were believed to be theroot of many of societys ills such as poor hygiene, sanitationand health. Advocates for Home Economics education believedthat inclusion of a curriculum that addressed these problemswould improve family life. However, girls alone were seen asthe benefactors of such an education. The teacher of the Foodsprogram in Victoria in 1903 is quoted in The Daily Colonist:The homes of the people should be made healthy andhappy by means of the simple methods which this scienceof domestic economy can teach every girl who is ever likelyto become the manageress of a house. (McKeand in DeZwart,1990, p.24).The first Home Economics curriculum document of 1914 makes noreference to Home Ecomonics education for boys. The VictoriaCouncil of Women in the Putman-Weir report (1925) emphasized theimportance of Home Economics instruction in young women'seducation:We believe that the home is the natural and rightful22domain of women, and therefore that home ecomomics, thescience of the home, is pre-eminently the proper andlogical study for woman kind...We believe that in thedifferent branches of this subject there is ample scopefor the varying abilities of the most brilliant minds ofthe sex. We believe that much undesirable and unnecessarycompetition between the sexes will be avoided and many othersocial problems resolved when the dignity of home making isadequately recognized and home economics given its rightfulplace in a national and international scheme of education.Let us not forget that upon the physical stamina themental and moral fibre of the mothers-to-be, depends thecharacter of the ...very life of tomorrow. (Reportin DeZwart, 1990, p. 76)While girls received Home Economics instruction, boys receivedinstruction in Manual Training. The first Home Economicsinstruction for boys did not appear until 1928 and, althoughthere was no prescribed curriculum, boys in these classes weretaught "elementary sewing and camp cooking" (Thomas, 1986). Thefirst curriculum outline for boys appeared in the 1937 HomeEconomics curriculum revision with the expressed aim to:Help the boys to be more intelligent and appreciativemembers of their families, to (enable boys to) planand prepare simple outdoor meals, and to enable boysto prepare and serve a simple meal to a sick member of23the family. (B.C. Department of Education, in Thomas, 1986,p. 160)The next Home Economics curriculum revision was completed in1952 and this document included a "boys' course" which was opento senior students and included topics concerned with:Personal AppearanceFoods, Nutrition and Home ManagementFamily Relations and Social Customs and CourtesiesThe Home, Its Furnishing and Its UseChild Care.(Thomas, 1986 p. 163)Up until 1965, the focus of Home Economics courses was thepreparation of girls for "the vocation of homemaking" and in1965 this focus was expanded to include "education for theworkplace" (Thomas, 1986, p. 110). Also in the 1965 curriculumrevision, boys could enroll in Cooking and Food Service at thejunior level and at the senior level in the "Foods SpecialtyArea" of the Community Services Program (Thomas, 1986, p. 165).It wasn't until 1976 that Home Economics programs werecompletely open to both girls and boys as these new courses weresaid to be "coeducational in both content and methodology"(Thomas, 1986, p. 90). While the writers of Home Economicscurricula maintain they are open to both girls and boys a studyby Thomas (1986) has revealed that the school subject hastraditionally been concerned with the education of females:24This study reveals that although provision for males hasbeen made in the B.C. home economics curriculum for over50 years, the emphasis in home economics education in thisprovince has been an education for females. (p. 135)Recent attempts have been made to include Home Economicsprograms for both boys and girls in British Columbia schools atthe grade eight level through a Life Skills eight course.However, Eyre (1992) tells us that this course was notimplemented in some schools and that many schools encouragedgirls to choose a "Home Economics" component and boys to choosea "Technology" component. In Eyre's study she found that theimplementation of Life Skills Eight actually resulted in lesstime for "reproductive" education as Technology educationinstruction came out of allocated time for Home Economics and notas a re-distribution of all instructional time.While the inclusion of Home Economics in the schoolcurriculum during the early 1900s was seen as a victory, todaysome feminists have labeled Home Economics as the 'enemy' andaccuse the school subject of promoting homemaking as the onlylife option open for women (Thompson, 1986b, p. 276). Thompson(1988) has rejected this criticism by defending Home Economics asthe "discipline of everyday life," a discipline that values thereproductive processes of society. She has asserted that thetwo processes reproductive and productive, are not genderexclusive but rather gender intensive:25One is the domain of human necessity. It came first.It is primal. It's the domain of everyday life inwhich people meet the need for food, for shelter, forclothing, for human connectedness, and for human developmentover the life course... It is absolutely essential forindividual species survival. (Thompson, 1988, p. 7)While in the past Home Economics has been identified withfemale education, as Hayibor (1990) points out, many HomeEconomics teachers have "rejected the notion that Home Economicsis only appropriate for girls and have sought to show thateducation for the private sphere is essential for all" (p. 4).Currently Home Economics programs in British Columbia aremandatory for all students at the grade eight level. Somestudents can complete high school without ever taking a HomeEconomics course. Such is the case in schools where Life SkillsEight has never been implemented, and students choose to takeeither Home Economics Eight or Technology Eight as year longcourses. As Eyre (1992) points out the movement toward LifeSkills Eight has not resulted in more time being given to HomeEconomics or Technology, but rather less time, and more studentsto teach.The Participation of Boys in Home Economics Very few studies have examined the participation of boys in26Home Economics programs. Studies in British Columbia which haveaddressed boys' participation in Home Economics were done byPicone (1982) and Eyre (1992). Picone (1982) surveyed BritishColumbia Home Economics teachers' attitudes concerning the needfor co-education in Clothing and Textile courses. She found themajority of Home Economics teachers believed co-education in aClothing and Textile Course should be valued. Herrecommendations to the Ministry of Education included:(1) to make Life Skills 8 a compulsory course.(2) to encourage all school districts to promotea co-education Clothing and Textiles program.(3) to seek to obtain textbooks for Clothing and Textilesthat were appropriate for both sexes.(4) to provide a curriculum guide which outlined thecourse content and suggested learning activitiesfor a co-education Clothing course. (p. 57-58)While Picone was an advocate of co-education within HomeEconomics classes, Eyre (1992) has raised some concerns aboutthe extent to which gender equity has been achieved through co-education. Eyre (1992) observed a grade Eight co-educationalHome Economics/Technical Studies program in an inner-citysecondary school in British Columbia. She observed the classover the period of a year, as students moved through minicourses (eighteen hours) in Foods and Nutrition, Clothing andTextiles, and Family Management. Eyre found that a group of27boys dominated classroom discussions and student-teacherinteraction. She observed that a group of boys took power inthe classroom away from girls, other boys, and their femaleteacher. Eyre raised questions about the effect of co-educationon girls' equity in the classroom:Co-education implies an equal education for girlsand boys, women and men. Some feminist theorists,however, argue that girls and boys, women and men,do not receive an equal education in means giving female and malestudents an education designed for males.(1992, p. 125)She concluded from her observations that treating students "thesame" did not result in gender equity for girls, rather, it"meant catering to the perceived interests and experiences ofboys" (1991, p. 215).Eyre also criticized Home Economics programs for theiremphasis on technical skills:Curricular emphasis on manipulative skills andtechniques did not necessarily lead to a valuingof domestic work or to an understanding of theimportance of sharing of work in the private sphere.(1992, p. 132)28Eyre has argued that gender equity in Home Economics involvesmore than co-education:It means understanding the inequalities thatresult when traditional power relations enterinto our daily lives in classrooms. It meansexamining the taken for granted experiences wehave as women, and men, girls and boys. It meansrecognizing the diversity of human experiences,revaluing women's knowledge and women's work, andchanges in traditional ways of relating. Ratherthan accepting, ignoring, or excusing the socialrelations of students, it means placing genderrelations on the agenda in the classroom. (1992, p. 149)Using focus groups, Pleshek (1988) examined male enrollmentand non-enrollment in Home Economics classes in Minnesota.Pleshek (1988) found males didn't continue in Home Economicsafter junior high school because they felt they already knew thebasics of cooking and sewing, and they didn't expect to learnanything new from senior high Home Economics classes. Most ofthe students interviewed in the study reported enjoying theirjunior high Home Economics experiences, but reported they couldlearn more in other classes. Students who had not enrolled inHome Economics classes perceived the classes as boring, commonsense and basic. In the minds of these students Home Economicswas "cooking and sewing". Most of the students were not aware of29other curriculum areas in Home Economics such as Child Care,Home Management and Family Life.Another study which looked at the participation of boys inHome Economics programs was conducted in England and Wales byGeen (1989). During her study from October 1987 to April 1988,Geen interviewed boys from 50 secondary schools. Geen (1989)suggested that when boys were offered a choice of subjects, onlya small minority elected Home Economics courses. She found someHome Economics courses such as Foods and Community Care weremore popular with boys than other courses such as Textiles andChild Development. Geen proposed a number of possible reasonsfor the low participation of boys in Home Economics. The firstreason Geen described, was boys' beliefs that certain types ofknowledge are deemed more appropriate for one sex. In her study,boys reported courses in Foods, Clothing Care and HomeMaintenance were "women's concerns". She also identified peerpressure as another factor influencing boys' participation. Anumber of the boys in her study reported they didn't pursue HomeEconomics courses for fear of being ridiculed by their peers andwould only enrol if there was peer support. "Over half wereadamant that they would not opt for Home Economics unless othermembers of their group took the same course" (p. 143). A thirdfactor affecting boys' participation was the attitude of seniorschool staff towards Home Economics. Geen found staff membersinvolved in career guidance influenced boys participation/ non-participation by suggesting boys take courses other than HomeEconomics.30Geen (1989) also examined strategies which schools had usedto increase boys' participation in Home Economics. Sheconcluded that the most effective strategy was what she termedthe 'special escalator'. The focus of this strategy was re-education; "the elimination of unjustifiable beliefs and thesearch for pedagogic material which will act directly upon theinterests of both boys and girls" (p. 145). Specific approachesto this strategy included:(1) Re-education of parents as to what is currentlytaught in Home Economics classes. Questionairesreturned by parents often indicated they heldoutdated views of Home Economics education.(2) In-service courses for staff on equal opportunityissues.(3) Altering pupils' perceptions of Home Economics.Several successful strategies for altering pupils'perceptions adopted by the schools in Geen's sample included:student analysis of cases of sex stereotyping in society,participation of male role models in Home Economics classrooms,and the provision of career conventions and courses on equalopportunities.31SummaryIn this chapter, literature from three areas was reviewed.The first area described the development and changes in feministthought about possible means to achieve gender equity. Thesecond area of literature reviewed the historical development ofHome Economics education in British Columbia. When HomeEconomics was first introduced into the school system in theearly 1900s it was seen as a course for girls. It wasn't untilthe late 1970s that Home Economics classrooms opened their doorsand explicitly adopted a co-educational approach. The last areaof literature examined boys' participation in Home Economicsclasses. This review also described boys' reasons for avoidingHome Economics. A study of the outcomes of co-educational HomeEconomics was included, and questions were raised about theeffects of a co-educational Home Economics on gender equity.Chapter three outlines the method of study and providesdescriptions of the sites, sample selection, data collection andanalysis.32Chapter 3 MethodologyInterest in this study began with a desire to learn why theparticipation rate of boys in Family Management was low. Anexamination of B.C. Ministry of Education (1989) genderenrollment data for Family Management, revealed girlsparticipated more frequently in Family Management than boys.(See Table 1.)Table 1.Course Enrollment Data1988/1989Secondary Course Male FemaleClothing & Textiles 11 31 1,82612 15 1,196Family Management 11 969 4,73112 196 1,904Foods & Nutrition 11 2,327 3,70212 857 1,93333The Pinnacle School District was chosen as the site for thisresearch. The district was selected because administrators werereceptive to research, there was a large student population andthe district contained eight secondary schools, from which tochoose. The student population was diverse in terms of socio-economic status and ethnic background. I had professionalassociations with many of the Home Economics teachers in thedistrict and believed these associations would encourageteachers' participation in the research project.Research Design The design for this project was based on a similar researchstudy by Gaskell, McLaren, Oberg and Eyre (1993), whoinvestigated girls' participation in Mathematics and Science.Two school sites were selected with one having a highparticipation of boys in Family Management the other having a lowparticipation of boys in Family Management. At each site boystaking Family Management and boys not taking Family Managementwere interviewed. Site and student selection will be describedin detail in the following sections.Gaining Entry to the Settings Once approval for my research by both the School District'sResearch and Evaluation Department and the University's HumanSubjects Research Committee was granted, I telephoned either the34Home Economics department head or a Family Management teacher ateach secondary schoolin the district. In most cases theindividuals at each school were aware of my study as the researchofficer had sent a letter to the principals of each of the eightschools indicating district approval for my study. During thisinitial contact I briefly explained the planned research andrequested enrollment data by gender for Family Management 11 and12. At this time I also spoke with the research officer aboutpairing schools in the district based on similar socio-economicstatus and ethnic background. I was told the school district didnot collect this information, but we discussed possible pairingsbased on 1986 census data. After examining enrollment data oneschool was identified as having a higher percentage of malesparticipating (36%) than any other school. This percentage isbased on the gender composition of the class, not on the totalmale population of the school. A second school was identifiedas having a class where males made up 30% of the class. Thisschool was ruled out as a possible site because there were threeFamily Management teachers, and their Family Management programwas different than other schools in the district. At this schoolsome of the Family Management class had been modified to includea leadership co-op work experience component. Two schools wereidentified as having a low participation rate (7%). One of thelow participation schools was ruled out because the socio-economic background of the students was thought to besignificantly different from the school with the highparticipation rate. Once I had selected the two sites, I35telephoned the individual Family Management teachers outliningthe purposes of the study, the research procedures, and theextent of their possible involvement. Both teachers indicated aninterest in the study, and a meeting was set to discuss theresearch project in more detail. I met individually with eachteacher. During this meeting the teachers were given a letterof consent (see Appendix A ), the method of student selectionwas discussed, and a plan was developed to notify students oftheir interview times. At this time, the teachers and Idiscussed and selected a location for the student interviews andset up a time for classroom observations.A total of twenty-four students were interviewed, tenstudents from the low participation school and fourteen studentsfrom the high participation school. Students were randomlyselected from either a class list or school roster using randomnumber tables. There was one exception to this, all students inthe low participation school taking Family Management 11 or 12were interviewed.In the school with the high participation of boys, Iinterviewed eight boys taking Family Management 11, two takingFamily Management 12 and four not taking Family Management.Despite having a high participation of boys in Family Management11 there were only four boys taking Family Management 12.In the school with the low participation of boys, Iinterviewed three boys taking Family Management 11, and onetaking Family Management 12. (As mentioned earlier these studentswere not randomly selected as this was the total population). I36also interviewed six boys not taking Family Management (See Table2.) .Table 2. Student SampleLow Enrollment^High Enrollment^School SchoolBoys enrolled^Ultra Seondary^Aldila SecondaryFamily Management 11^3^ 8Family Management 12^1 2Boys not enrolledGrade 11^ 6^ 4Totals 10 14At both schools the course name Family Management had beenchanged. In the low enrollment school the new name was Sociology.In the high enrollment school it was Socialization and HumanBehaviour. Both schools followed the Family Managementcurriculum set out by the Ministry of Education.37The School District The Pinnacle School District is a fast growing suburbandistrict with both rural and urban areas. At the time of thestudy the approximate student population was 44,440.^Thedistrict covers a vast geographical area. It is dividedgeographically into four zones for administrative purposes. Thetwo schools in which this study took place were in neighbouringzones.The Schools In order to respect the confidentiality of the teachers andstudents, the schools are identified using pseudonyms anddescriptive data is general.Ultra Secondary has low participation of boys in FamilyManagement 11 and 12. It is located in an urban area of theschool district. There are over 1100 students in grades 8-12attending. The school is located in an area where there aremany single and multi-family dwellings being constructed. Thehousing surrounding the school ranges from inexpensive mobilehomes to expensive executive homes. Ultra Secondary has a newerand more modern building than Aldila.Aldila Secondary has high participation of boys in FamilyManagement 11 and 12. It is also located in an urban area,however, its catchment area extends to a rural part of thedistrict. There are also many homes being constructed within38the catchment area; however, fewer are multi-family dwellings.Many of the homes presently being constructed are expensiveexecutive homes. Aldila's facility is aging and plans arecurrently being drawn to build a new school on the property.Methods Data Collection and Analysis Data collection occured from the middle of May until themiddle of June 1991. Audiotapes collected were transcribed andthe data analysed during July through December. Data collectioninvolved a variety of techniques including student and teacherinterviews, document analysis, and classroom observations. Afterreading each interview transcript a number of times common themeswere identified and coded. A chart depicting themes was thencreated and data were entered. From these charts Chapter Fourwas written.Interviews The teacher interview questions ( Appendix B) were pilottested by two Family Management teachers in another schooldistrict. A few word changes were made to the questions afterpilot testing to clarify meanings. I decided to interview theteachers as a cross check of the data obtained from studentinterviews and classroom observations. One teacher from the high39participation school and one teacher from the low participationschool were interviewed. Each interview lasted approximately 65minutes. The interviews were taped and then transcribed.Informal discussions over lunch or telephone conversations withteachers during the course of the study were recorded in fieldnotes. Telephone conversations usually took place to discuss themechanics for setting up student interviews and classroomobservations.The student interview questions (Appendix C) were pilottested on two students at Ultra Secondary who had previouslytaken Family Management 11 but were not taking Family Management12 at the time of the study. No changes were made to the studentinterview questions after pilot testing. Additional questionswere added to the student interviews after the study began.Reasons for adding additional questions to the list of studentinterviews are explained in Chapter Four. Student interviewsranged from 30-60 minutes in length. All students wereinterviewed individually. All student interviews were taped andtranscribed. The interview questions in the study were semi-structured. There were both specific and open ended questions.Students were very receptive to being interviewed. In all butone case they appeared or arrived for interviews on time. Whenthis student missed his time, he contacted me to re-sechedule it.One student who was randomly selected as a student not takingFamily Management was not able to participate in the study at therequest of the ESL teacher on staff. He apparently had verylittle understanding of English. A second student was randomly40selected to take his place. All teachers in both schools werevery cooperative as they permitted students to leave theirclasses to be interviewed.During the interviews I attempted to develop comfortablerapport with the interviewees. A number of factors helped indoing this. For the students the main factor was assurance ofthe confidentiality of their responses. In a couple ofinstances, I reassured the students that no one would be able toidentify them from their comments. The development of rapportwith the classroom teachers grew from my previous professionalacquaintance with them.Classroom Observations Classroom observations were done to verify informationobtained from both teacher and student interviews. In eachschool two classroom observations were conducted. In bothschools I observed two different Family Management 11 classes.Classroom observations were not done in Family Management 12. AtAldila Secondary there were three Family Management 11 classes.At Aldila I observed the class with the highest number of boysand the lowest number of boys. The class with the lowest numberof boys had only one boy in the class, and on the day I scheduledthe observation he was not present in class. I arranged toobserve the class another day, and he was absent again.Therefore, I observed the class on this one occassion with noboys present. At Ultra there were only two Family Management 1141classes and both of these were observed. Details about theclassroom setting, the participants, verbatim accounts of whatthe teacher did and said were recorded in field notes. Notesgathered during observations confirmed the data obtained fromboth student and teacher interviews.Documents A number of documents were collected from each teacher foranalysis. These included course outlines, handouts fromobserved lessons, major assignments and course selectionbooklets. These documents also were used to confirm datagathered during interviews and observations. Course outlineswere compared to determine whether the two schools werefollowing the Family Management Curriculum, and to identifysimilarities and differences between the courses at each school.42Chapter 4 FindingsData in this chapter is organized through examination ofresearch questions, school setting, and student response. Forthe convenience of the reader, a table outlining the studentsample by name appears in Appendix E.Factors Affecting Boys' Participation in Family Management At both schools the course name Family Management had beenchanged in the course selection booklets. At the highparticipation school the name had been changed to Socializationand Human Behaviour (SHB) while at the low participation schoolthe course was called Sociology. Both teachers had changed thename hoping to attract more boys into the course. This was thefirst year of the name change at the high participation schooland the second year for the name change at the low participationschool. Both teachers used the Family Management curriculumguide to develop their course. At the high participation school,the description of SHB appeared under the Social Studies sectionin the course selection booklet. The course was taught by amember of the Social Studies Department, with financialresponsibility for the course being part of the Home EconomicsDepartment. At the low participation school the description forSociology in the course selection booklet appeared under a Home43Economics heading and Sociology was taught by a Home Economicsteacher.Teacher Interviews Susan taught SHB at Aldila, the high enrollment school.Susan's teaching major was in Psychology and Social Studies.Susan had taught the course for the last three years. It wascalled Family Management during the first two years that shetaught it. She decided to change the course name last year, asa number of other schools in the district had done, in an effortto attract more boys into the course. When Susan first startedteaching Family Management, the class was all girls, and it wasoffered through the Home Economics Department. The course wastaken away from the Home Economics Department and given to Susanto teach. This was done by the school's previous principal whenthe department had to down-size. However since this time, theHome Economics Department has grown and gained back the oneteacher that was lost. The Home Economics Department would liketo teach Family Management. Susan reported Family Management hadbeen "a dumping ground for non-academic students who werefailing other classes." However, Susan felt that gradually thetype of students enrolled had changed, and this was the firstyear where there was a significant increase in the number ofboys enrolled. Susan credits the high enrollment of both boysand girls with the positive support received from thecounsellors. She said "they sell the course to the students and44make it sound exciting." Susan taught SHB in a regularclassroom. The students sat at individual desks which they movedinto a circle during class discussions. The walls of theclassroom were decorated with maps, and student bulletin boardassignments on date rape, eating disorders and family violence.Susan enjoyed teaching SHB and believed it was one of the mostrelevant courses that she taught. She also taught SocialStudies and believed it also was relevant to the students' dailyand future lives. Susan indicated that she had lots of supportfor SHB from both administrators and counsellors. Susan stated"the counsellors are always putting things in my mailbox that arerelevant to the class like notices to workshops." Susan attendedinservice training for Family Management sponsored by the localHome Economics Association. She also attended Family Managementworkshops at the provincial Home Economics convention. Sheconsulted with other Family Management teachers in the districtabout their programs. When Susan first started teaching FamilyManagement she talked with Nancy (the Family Management Teacherat the low participation school) and received student handoutsand teaching ideas. Some of the assignments that Nancy and Susangave their students were similar, particularly the bulletinboard and personal history assignments.Nancy taught Sociology at the low participation school. Shehad a Bachelor of Home Economics and one year of teachereducation. She has taught Family Management since itsintroduction to the schools six years ago. She reported thatstudents were often placed in the class at the end of October45when they had received failing letter grades in other classes.The majority of students in the class were non-academic students.Nancy reported there had been a small change in the type ofstudents selecting the class over the past few years with a fewacademic students taking the class, compared to none in previousyears.Sociology was taught in a Foods and Nutritionlaboratory/cassroom. Students sat at tables in one of the sixkitchen units in the room. The walls of the classroom weredecorated with travel posters, pictures of food, and studentbulletin board assignments. The bulletin boards included astheir focus such topics as AIDS, Eating Disorders, andAlcoholism. Nancy enjoyed teaching Sociology, stating that itwas her favourite course to teach. She reported that there was acompetition between the Social Studies Department and the HomeEconomics Department for students. The Social Studies Departmentat the low participation school offered Psychology. This coursecompeted with Sociology for students. The Social StudiesDepartment advertised that Psychology was for academic students.Social Studies Department members were upset with the name changeof Family Management to Sociology, and they tried to block thechange. The Social Studies department argued that the name wasmisleading, and the course description in the course selectionbooklet did not accurately describe what was being taught.This was the third year for the course name change at UltraSecondary. Nancy did not report the same kind of support for herprogram in the school that Susan did.46Reasons For Enrolling in Family Management. Enrollment at the High Participation School Ten boys enrolled in Socialization and Human Behaviour wereinterviewed and asked why they enrolled in the course. Six saidthey chose it because a friend had taken it previously andrecommended it to them. Three reported taking the course becausea counsellor had recommended it. Brad, a student currentlytaking SHB 12, told me he initially signed up for FamilyManagement 11 because he was trying to fill up his timetable andthe counsellor suggested Family Management. He selected thecourse after the counsellors told him what it was about. Bradtook SHB 12 this year because he enjoyed Family Management ingrade 11. Another student Ryan said that the counsellor hadsuggested the course to him because it would help him with hiscareer in elementary teaching. He also chose the course becausethe majority of his friends had taken it. Trevor had the courserecommended to him by a counsellor and by his friends who took itlast year. He told me, "the reason I chose SHB was because I hadideas of becoming a psychologist and a couple of my friends lastyear said it was a pretty good course and that it was fun."Thomas transferred to the school part way through the year andhad been taking Family Management at another school. When hearrived at Aldila he was put into SHB. He was told by thecounsellors that it was the equivalent course. Thomas however,47didn't feel that it was the same course. He found the course atthis school to be very different from the last school. Heinitially chose Family Management because he thought it might beuseful to him later in life.Adam took the course out of interest and because hethought it would help him with his career in the RCMP. "I readabout it and I thought it might be interesting, and I want to bean RCMP Officer and I thought it might help."Two other boys also reported they took the class becausetheir friends had recommended it to them.Recommendations from friends to take the course appeared tobe a strong influencing factor on enrollment. Brenden one ofthe students taking SHB told me, "most advertisement is word ofmouth. Mrs Ramon (Susan) is the only one teaching this courseand since she does such a good job everyone is telling theirfriends."The four boys in the high participation school that Iinterviewed who were not taking SHB were all aware of the course.One of the boys, James said "there are lots of guys in theschool that I have heard are going to take the course next yearbecause they have heard that it was such a good course thisyear."Enrollment at Low Participation School At the low participation school, all boys enrolled inSociology were interviewed. There were three boys taking48Sociology 11 and one boy taking Sociology 12.Steve reported that a number of different factorsinfluenced his decision to take the class. He thought the coursedescription in the course selection booklet sounded interesting.His second reason for selecting the course was he thought itmight help him with his future career plans to become a policeofficer.Tyson took the class because he would like to be a socialworker, and a university entrance calendar had Sociology listedas one of the courses one takes.Justin took the course because a friend of his had taken itthe year before, and told him what the course was about.Cameron was enrolled in Sociology 12. He had the courserecommended by a counsellor. His second reason for taking theclass was that he perceived it to be the easiest course he couldtake to meet graduation requirements.Non-enrollment at High Participation School At each school I asked the non-enrolling students theirreasons for not selecting the course. At the high participationschool I interviewed four boys not taking the class. All ofthese boys had heard about the class from others who had takenit. These boys were aware that it was offered through the SocialStudies department.Gino reported taking classes that would help him with hiscareer and meet college entrance requirements. Gino was enrolled49in the Hospitality Foods Career Preparation program. Gino feltthat SHB was a course for people who were going into the field ofPsychology. He did not feel the course would help him become achef.Mathew reported taking courses "that help him with hiscareer." He was enrolled in the Accounting Career Preparationprogram. He told me this "meant having a set course planthroughout high school." He reported that "there was no room inhis timetable for Home Economics or Industrial Education classesafter grade 8."Hartmeet took business courses, as he felt they would helphim get a job after high school. He also took Physical Educationcourses because he liked sports. Hartmeet told me "I didn't takeit because I had too many other courses to take. If there werenine courses then probably I would have taken it."James also took courses to help him with his planned careerand meet university entrance requirements. If James had anopening in his course load, SHB was one of the classes he wouldlike to take. He reported that this was still a possibility fornext year.Non-enrollment at the Low Participation School I interviewed six boys who were not taking the class. Fourof these boys had never heard of the course. They didn't know itwas offered at the school. Of the two boys that were aware ofthe class, one of them had read about it in the course selection50booklet. The other had a girlfriend who was taking the class.Raymond, Derek, Phil and Grant had not heard of the course.They all reported taking classes that they felt would help themwith a future career or to find a job.Gary was aware of some of the topics covered in the classbecause his girlfried had discussed them with him. He selectedcourses that would meet university entrance requirements anddidn't feel that Sociology met this criteria.Dane had read about Sociology in the course selectionbooklet. He reported selecting the course as an alternate fornext year. (Students are required to list two alternate coursesat course selection time in case they are not able to timetabletheir first choice). Dane reported that he selected Sociology asan alternate because some female friends had recommended it tohim.SummaryAll boys in the study were asked how they chose theircourses. They responded with a variety of reasons. The reasonmost often given (eighteen out of twenty four students), wasthat they chose courses which they thought would help them withtheir future career or job.Fourteen students said that recommendations from friends orsiblings influenced their course selection. Observing friends doassignments or homework, and discussions of class activitieswith friends influenced their course choices. These students51felt that they were the ones that made the final decision onwhether to enroll or not. They did not feel there was peerpressure to take certain classes. Derek said "I listen topeople's opinions about a course but it is usually my decision."Dane told me "if they say to go into it and I think I will dowell and I also like it then I will go. I don't go into it justbecause they are going into it." The third most common influenceon course selection cited by eight students was reading a coursewriteup that sounded interesting. Adam reported "by reading thecourse selection book I eliminate the ones I don't like."Six students reported that counsellors influenced theircourse selection. Students said counsellors suggested coursesthat would prepare them for university entrance or courses thatwould help with a future job or career. Four students said thata teacher's reputation influenced their course selection. Fourstudents also reported taking courses that a teacher hadsuggested to them. Two students reported taking the easiestcourses they needed in order to graduate.The most common reason for selecting SHB at the highparticipation school was recommendations from friends. Itappeared that SHB was spoken of favorably by enrolling studentsand the course had a good reputation in the school. Even boyswho were not enrolled in SHB were aware of the course. Two non-enrolling boys cited lack of space in their time tables as areason for non-enrollment. University and job requirementsdetermined what courses these individuals needed. These boysindicated that if they had an opening in their course load, they52might have taken the class.Reasons for selecting Sociology at the low participationschool were varied. Two of four boys said they took the classbecause they thought it would help them with their futurecareers. One boy had the course recommended to him by a friend.The other boy selected the course because he thought it was theeasiest course he could take in order to graduate. Sociology wasnot as well known at the low participation school. Four of sixnon-enrolling students had not heard of the course. Of the twoboys that had heard of the course; one boy had a girlfriendtaking the course and the other had selected the it as analternate for the following year.53Non-enrolled Boys' Perceptions of Home Economics Despite following the same curriculum, Family Management wasconstructed differently at each school. Unfortunately I didn'trecognize this until I was part way through my interviews. AfterI realized this I decided it was important to ask students at thehigh enrollment school their perceptions of not just FamilyManagement, but Home Economics classses as well. Up until thispoint I had only asked students their perceptions of FamilyManagement, which I thought they viewed as a Home Economicscourse.At the high enrollment school, when Susan changed the coursename from Family Managment to Socialization and Human Behaviour,the course lost all of its ties with Home Economics. SHB instudents minds was a course in Social/Behavioural Science.At the low enrollment school, Sociology was viewed by thestudents as a Home Economics class. The Home Economics imageremained because the course was taught by a Home Economicsteacher in a foods laboratory/classroom.High Participation School Of the four boys interviewed at the high participationschool, Matthew had no previous Home Economics experience buthe had formed some opinions, from talking with friends who were54taking Home Economics courses. He made the following comments:As far as guys go. I think they would prefer HomeEconomics classes if there was more cooking. I knowguys that took Home Economics in grade eight and theydid horrible in sewing and really well in the foodscompartment and throughout school have taken foodsand they are really good cooks. But I think youget an image of sewing, domestic work, housework,which I don't think is bad.James told me his friends in Home Economics "say its lotsof fun and they enjoy it." James also stated "I know alot ofguys are taking Home Economics because they are going to besingle and they want to know how to sew or hem their pants, ironor cook." According to James "people who stereotype (HomeEconomics) are too scared to take it themselves".Gino had previous Home Economics experience. He had takenFoods and Nutrition 9/10, enjoyed the experience and decided togo into the chefs training program. He told me that his friendsthink what he does "is pretty cool". Gino thought there "hasbeen more of an evolution toward guys thinking it's okay foranother to cook". Gino thought that course selection was more ofan "individual interest thing" rather than something influencedby one's gender.Hartmeet is an Indo-Canadian student. He had the mosttraditional view of Home Economics classes although he had no55Home Economics course experience. He told me that a number ofhis friends took Home Economics courses "because they liked toget close to the girls." Hartmeet viewed Home Economics coursesas mostly suited to girls. He told me that he had an excuse forthis view because his parents and the area in which he livedwere very traditional.Filipe was one of the students I interviewed who hadprevious Home Economics experience and was taking SHB. For themost part Filipe enjoyed his Home Economics experiences in gradeeight and grade nine. He said "I really didn't like sewing muchbut I enjoyed the cooking part. It was fun." Filipe had someperceptions about why boys didn't take Home Economics classes.He told me:Guys don't take Home Economics not because they don'twant to, don't like, but because they are too scaredwhat their friends and other people might say becausethey are in it.Brenden a grade 12 student taking SHB and Foods andNutrition 11, reported:I liked basically the foods part in grade eight.That's why I took foods now, also because I willprobably move out in another year and to getsome background in cooking.56Thomas was currently taking Cafeteria 11. He reported enjoyingthe class. He told me that Home Economics courses have theimage of being "fun" and an "easy credit".Low Participation School At the low participation school Sociology was not wellknown. One student told me that perhaps the course was notknown at this school because boys did not read coursedescriptions in the Home Economics section of the courseselection booklet. Grant:Well I don't have an interest in cooking or sewing,things like that so I just skip over it. There arealot of guys that would skip over it. ...I think ifthey put this course somewhere else in the bookletlike near physical education you would get alot moreattention.The majority of students at the low participation school hadprevious Home Economics course experience. Eight out of the tenstudents interviewed had taken Life Skills eight. One studenthad taken Foods and Nutrition 9/10. One student (Steve) had noprevious Home Economics course experience. Sociology was hisfirst Home Economics course.A variety of reasons were given by the boys for not takingother Home Economics courses. Raymond:57I take stuff that is going to come in handy in thefuture. I took mechanics because obviously your caris going to breakdown some time in the future andyou are going to have to fix it. I guess you don'treally hear about boys taking it... like Foods andNutrition and Home Economics courses.Gary felt that he and his friends didn't take HomeEconomics courses because "they like harder labor, well guyslike harder physical kinds of activities." He mentionedmechanics as an example. "I think guys like going in andgetting all dirty. Yeah...I am all dirty you can see I workedhard." He also felt that by taking a mechanics course the guywould definitely be using it "because it's usually a guy who hasto work on the car if it breaks down." Whereas in a HomeEconomics course the guy wouldn't be using what he was taught."He might one day out of a year make a real big dinner." Garysaid he thought it was more important for girls to take Sociologythan boys as they were more concerned about their appearancesthan boys. When I asked him why he felt this way he told me:If someone has a very low self esteem and they arenot very confident with themselves it might be goodfor them to take it. But if someone has their goalsset out and they have planned it and everything isset up then I don't think they would need the course.58Phil had taken Life Skills Eight but hadn't selected HomeEconomics courses since then because they were "boring, slowpaced", "basic and common sense." Phil said "people can learnabout it through experiences, they don't need a course. Ifthere is anything else I can't do it is simple enough for me togo out and get it done for me." I asked Phil if this meant to paysomeone to do it and he replied yes. Phil was quite negativeabout his Home Economics experience in grade eight. He alsostated "it is not something that I would like to spend the restof my life doing...The pay wouldn't be very good for stuff likethat."Derek reported enjoying Life Skills Eight, but said that hehadn't signed up for any Home Economics classes since thenbecause they were "slow paced."Dane had signed up for Sociology as an alternate but hewasn't sure what was taught. He correctly identifiedreproduction as one of the topics. He told me that he thoughtSociology and Psychology were the same course.Non-enrolled Boys' Perception of Family Management High Participation School I asked each of the students who were not enrolled in SHBwhat they thought students did or learned in the class.^Ginothought students learned about human characteristics, what59people think and how they feel. "Less Biology more of thethinking part of the sciences" he told me. Gino correctlyidentified two of the topics that had been studied in SHB. Whenhe was told of others he was surprised and responded, "but Ithought more of something along the line of motherhood and stufflike that. I didn't think men would see the importance of it."Hartmeet had heard about the course from a friend who wascurrently taking the class. He was not quite sure what wastaught in the class. He thought it talked about "how humansreact to some stuff in different ways". He perceived that thecourse would be easy.James had friends that were taking the class. In fact hehad participated as a "subject" in one of his friend'sassignments. James was able to identify some of the topicstaught. James' perceptions of the class were positive. He madethe following comments about the course based on what hisfriends who were in the class had told him:They have told me that you really get alot out of it.For the most part some of it really is alot of work.In the long run its really worth it. There is alotbehind the scene stuff it uncovers. You learn aboutyourself and others from doing projects.Matthew first learned about the course after reading thecourse writeup in the selection booklet. Matthew thoughtstudents learned about "the way people react to different things,60different situations and how to cope with those situations."After Matthew was told of some of the topics studied in SHB heresponded:I had no idea they were doing all that. It hasthe reputation of being a course if you are doingbadly in one course you can drop that and take this.Sit there and stare at the teacher all day or theblack board and get an A.SummaryAt the high participation school one half of the enrolledand non-enrolled boys (eight out of fifteen) had previous orcurrent Home Economics course experience. At Aldila the boysseemed to have a positive image of Home Economics courses. Theirimages ranged from "they are fun", to "I will need cooking skillswhen I move out." Some of the boys felt there had been amovement toward acceptance of Home Economics courses by males.These same boys indicated that there was a small percentage ofboys who felt they were too macho to enroll in Home Economics.Of the boys that had taken Home Economics courses most enjoyedthem. Sewing was mentioned as an area of dislike by a number ofboys. The non-enrolled boys had a positive perception of SHB anda limited knowledge of what was taught.At the low participation school the majority of enrolled andnon-enrolled boys (nine out of ten) had previous Home Economics61experience. These boys had taken the required Life Skills Eightcourse. Comments about Life Skills Eight ranged from "I enjoyedit" to "I found it slow paced", "it was common sense", "itwasn't useful". Most of the boys reported they did not enjoythe sewing portion of Life Skills Eight. At this school HomeEconomics courses were seen as girls' courses. Three of the boysreported they prefered more physical kinds of activities such asmechanics. Only two out of six non-enrolled boys were aware ofSociology however their knowledge about it was limited.62Experiences in Family Management Course There were three blocks of SHB 11 at Aldila, each having adifferent gender composition. The block A class had ten boys andtwenty girls, block B had eight boys and seventeen girls andblock C had one boy and twenty-four girls. I attempted tointerview boys from all three classes. I wished to find out ifthe experiences of the boy on his own in the block C class wasany different from the experiences of the boys in blocks A and Bwhere there was a higher enrollment of boys. My sample had aselection of boys from each class including the boy (Sam) fromblock C. Unfortunately, Sam had not attended class for awhile,and I was not able to interview him. The two blocks of SHB 12were predominatly made up of girls each class had twoboys enrolled. As I was not able to interview Sam I decided toinclude the boys in the SHB 12 classes in the study after theteacher at the high participation school suggested doing this.All boys in SHB 12 had the possibility of being randomlyselected. It turned out that one boy from each of the two grade12 classes was selected.Experiences of Boys at the High Participation School Brad is a grade 12 student enrolled in SHB 12. He is oneof two boys in the class. Brad and the second boy do not attend63the class on a regular basis. Brad initially chose SHB in grade11 after a counsellor recommended the course. He reportedenjoying SHB 11, but his feelings toward SHB 12 were notpositive. My interview with Brad lasted longer then any of theothers. He appeared to be very eager to tell me about hisexperiences. During this interview, I developed the feeling thatBrad had bottled up his experiences in the course, and waspleased he had the opportunity to tell someone.Brad's negative image of SHB 12 was influenced by a numberof different factors. I have grouped these factors under thefollowing categories.(1) Narrow focus of course content(2) Female orientation of course content(3) Lack of a male voice(4) Stereotyping of malesNarrow Focus of Course Content Brad enjoyed SHB 11 because "it touched on alot of differentareas, and that was really good." He felt the SHB 12 course hada narrow focus. In referring to SHB 12 Brad said:This year we mainly focused on mostly, it kind ofall fell under one topic like babies and marriageand really family oriented kinds of things... and Ikind of found that was really boring. It just gotto the point where I didn't even want to bother going.64Brad referred back to this factor six times during the interview.He said things like "we just kept covering the same topics overand over again" and "the most things that I remember through theyear was those two subjects, that's the only two things that keptpopping up." Brad told me that at the end of Grade 11 he waslooking forward to SHB 12, but these feelings soon changed todisappointment. "I think I basically got gypped on this coursethis year. Because I was expecting a continuation of all theother things that we covered last year."Female OrientationBrad's second area of dislike was the female orientation ofthe course. He felt the female orientation was present in thetopics covered, the assignments, resources, and classdiscussions. Brad felt that it was okay to spend some timelearning about a marriage and babies, however he felt that toomuch class time was spent on this. He felt this topic was ofmore interest to girls:Alot of the girls are more interested in themarriage and the babies they get really. I noticedthey got totally (in a girls voice, refering to anassignment on planning a wedding) oh we're going tohave it here, we're going to do this. They weretotally planning everything out...they were pickingout their dresses. For me it really didn't do65anything because I couldn't pick out a dress...Itwas totally irrelevant to me. You can plan aheadsix months to a year but not like ten years inadvance.Brad described the class as being dominated by female content:I think its kind of like there's a meter withboys on the one end and girls on the other andthe material always just bump (using his arm torepresent a meter, he moved his arm from aneutral/balanced point to the girls end)Brad described to me how he felt the assignments and resourcesfavored the girls. One of the projects Brad told me about was aproject on planning their own marriage. He made the followingcomments on that assignment:Okay great I will plan my own marriage but (laugh)all the books and material they had were all bridesbooks. Oh yeah I'll pick out a dress for me youknow....You see alot of projects I didn't do becauseI really hated them like weddings.Brad also felt that class discussions were geared toward thegirls in the class. He reported that he was very active in classdiscussions last year in SHB 11, but this year he was "passive"66because he had difficulty relating to the topics discussed."Alot of times I found I couldn't get into the conversationbecause they were talking mostly about husbands and this andthat." Brad said that he did try to get the topics ofdiscussions changed, but he was always overruled:At one point I spoke out and I said somethingabout it like why do we always stick on the samesubject, it gets to be really boring. Everybody,mostly all the girls were "oh well, it's not boring."Sure its not boring to them because that all theydo talk about the same thing over and over again.Lack of Male Voice Brad also identified absence of a male voice as one of thereasons for his lack of enjoyment with the class. He felt thefemales in the class determined the direction and length of timespent on assignments. He reported that he tried speaking up inclass suggesting that they move onto a different topic. Hisefforts led nowhere. He made comments such as "I felt outruled.It was just like talking to nobody. We might as well stick withit I'm the minority group." Brad felt the SHB 12 class would bedominated by females, and missing the male perspective until moreboys enrolled. "I don't think if there is not enough guys in thecourse they are never going to get the male perspective." Bradbecame reluctant to verbally participate in class, because hefelt his opinion didn't seem to matter, and he felt the girls in67the class might not like what he had to say. Brad reported thatthe teacher encouraged the males to participate. "She alwayswanted to hear our opinion which is good." Despite thisencouragement, Brad held back:Alot of time I won't say my opinion because thereare 20 other girls in the class so you can't reallysay anything without getting a stupid look...Butwhen I am the only guy there who is going to geteaten up and chewed (laugh) I am just kind of likenot going to say it.Stereotyping of males The last experience Brad mentioned which made himuncomfortable was the stereotyping of males:It's just that there are those times when they dosay the odd thing. Oh guys are just bla, bla, bla.They stereotype you and you just kind of look at themand say 'how can you say that'? You know I would liketo come out and say. Stand up and say bla, bla, bla.Sometimes I would and they would all say "well myboyfriend did this." (Sarcastically) Well am I yourboyfriend? Why are you taking this out on me? Howcan you stereotype me and this other guy bla, bla, bla(In a girls voice) "Well because you are all the samethis and that." Well you have your opinion and I have68mine. See you later.Brad enjoyed SHB 11 because there was a variety of topicscovered. He did not enjoy SHB 12 because it seemed to coveronly two topics, marriage and babies. Brad reported that thegirls enjoyed this "family focus", and were unwilling to move onto different topics. This female orientation and lack of a malevoice led Brad to become frustrated with the course. Thisfrustration led Brad to skip class and not do assignments. Bradwas still hoping that he would pass the class.Lee was also a grade 12 student currently taking SHB 12.He initially chose SHB 11 (it was called Family Management whenLee took the class last year) after reading about it in thecourse selection booklet. He reported reading about the coursewith his friends, and they encouraged him to take it becausethey thought he would be good at it. Lee told me that he hasalways been the type of person who has been able to help peoplewith their problems, and give them advice. He reported that helikes "arts" courses better than "math/science" courses. Lee'sother electives this year were acting and creative writing. Hehad no previous Home Economics course experience. He was notaware that SHB fell under the Home Economics umbrella. Hisexperiences, unlike Brad's, overall were positive. He reportedliking the projects he was assigned, and felt his mark in theclass would be a B. Lee told me one of the highlights of thecourse this year was a child study project they did:69We had to do a project where we had to go throughand get a child, talk about him and analyse himand stuff like that and I was looking forward to thatall year.Other things that Lee liked were class discussions, group work,and guest speakers. Lee reported he was an active participant inclass discussions. The course gave him a "chance to exploresomething you don't talk about everyday." Lee liked groupdiscussions best. He indicated group work was good because "ittaught us alot about working in groups" and group work alsoprovided the "opportunity to interact with others and problemsolve."Lee reported the class had a number of different guestspeakers this year in SHB 12. Guest speakers included, a womanwho had been abused, a police officer talking on family violence,a couple who was expecting a baby, an infertile couple, and aprenatal instructor. Lee enjoyed the guest speakers. He madethe following comment about their presentation. "It is reallygood because you get to sit there and watch someone who hasgone through the experience or knows about the experience." Leefelt comfortable being in a class that was predominately made upof girls. When I asked him if it was any different being in aclass with more girls he replied, that it didn't feel anydifferent than other classes. He said "sometimes I enjoy itmore because there are females in the class and you get somereally great conversations going in the class." Lee described70the classroom environment as warm:When you walk in the class you know it is not goingto be a class where people are vindictive toward eachother or hateful toward each other. When you walk inyou know it is going to be a class you are goingto like.Overall Lee's impressions of SHB 12 were positive. Like Brad,Lee identified two aspects of the course that made himuncomfortable. These were a female orientation to the course andmale stereotyping:Every once in a while you get a feeling of amore feminism then masculine. Because for awhilethere we were talking about abuse in the familyand home and mostly the damage is done by themale to the females. I sort of felt a bit alienatedduring that thing.Lee felt the unit on family violence went on "a bit too long".He was not an active participant in the course during this unit.He said "I just had to sit back and just sort of watcheverything else happen instead of me interacting." Lee'sexperiences in SHB 11 and 12 were mainly positive. He was anactive participant during class discussions and group work, andhe attended class on a regular basis. Lee became uncomfortable71during a unit on family violence and reported that during thisunit he was a passive participant.In SHB 11 I interviewed three males from block A and fivemales from block B. I observed one block A class and one blockC class. The same lesson was taught in both classes. It was alesson on abusive relationships. In conversation prior to theclass, the teacher indicated it was a challenge to teach theblock A class because the boys in the class required "closesupervision" and "entertaining" to keep them on task. I wouldtend to agree with her assessment. A group of boys wereconstantly interrupting her and the other students. When girlswould raise their hands to indicate a desire to participate inthe discussion, the boys would interject. During my observation,I noticed a group of boys were frequently 'off task' and involvedin their own side show. The classes were very different, and itwas a challenge to keep them on task.Filipe was a grade 12 student enrolled in the block A SHB11 class. Filipe was not aware that SHB was a course which fellunder the Home Economics umbrella. He signed up for SHB 11 afterhis friends who took the class last year recommended it to him.He told me that his girlfriend was the main person whoinfluenced his decision. Filipe's attitude toward the course wasrather indifferent. He wasn't sure at first if he liked thecourse. He later told me "I probably wouldn't be sticking withthe course for the whole year if I didn't more like it thendislike it. So I guess I do like it." He identified a number ofthings that he liked about the course. These included, certain72topics, group work, and guest speakers. He reported the classoften worked in groups. He liked group work because "it takesthe pressure off you if you don't know something, someone mightfill in for you and when they don't know something you can fillin for them." Filipe reported liking the units on drugs,alcohol, cults and relationships. He said he likes "topics thatare not touched on much in today's world." Filipe found the uniton mental illness boring, because his science class had coveredthe same information. He was "bored relearning what he alreadyknew." Two things that made Filipe uncomfortable in class were afemale orientation to course content and stereotyping of males.Filipe noticed both of these occured during the units onrelationships and rape. Filipe was uncomfortable during thesetwo units because he felt (1) the teacher was teaching "from afemale perspective," and (2) "the boys in the class were beingstereotyped as abusers."Filipe felt the topic was approached from a female orientationboth in the way the teacher presented the information and thehandouts the students were given:Right now she is teaching from the girl's pointof view. What happens when a boyfriend beatsyou and how you should get out of that relationship.It's more for a girl's benefit....A guy is not reallylearning much getting a handout from a female perspectivebecause its not for him and he should get one for a male.73Filipe felt that it was possible to teach from a more equal pointof view by providing the boys in the class with differenthandouts. He reported feeling "intimidated" during these units,because he felt all guys were being stereotyped as abusers. Herecognized that the teacher was not doing this on purpose, but,he felt that the lesson came across in this manner. He said"she refers to all guys are like that, she wasn't saying thatproperly." Filipe noticed a difference in girl/boy participationin the course. He felt the girls were more involved and excitedthan the boys during the rape and relationship units. During theother units he noticed the guys tended to dominate the class. Hefelt that some girls were reluctant to participate duringdiscussions for fear of being put down by the boys:There are a couple of guys, class clowns in ourclass. If you say anything too out of this worldtype thing then they'll make fun of it. Never bothersme, but it does seem to bother some girls they tend topick on.Overall Filipe reported feeling "pretty normal" in theclass. He didn't notice any other differences between this classand others. He felt that the female orientation was mainlypresent during the units on relationships and rape.Ravinder is a grade 12 student in the block A SHB 11class. He has a bubbly and colourful personality. Ravinder toldme he likes to do things to be different, which was one of the74reasons he chose SHB 11. Recommendations from friends and thecounsellor were the other reasons for his taking the class.Ravinder had taken Home Economics in grade eight. He told methat he knew SHB was a course offered under the Home Economicsumbrella. I am not sure if his statement was true, becauselater in the interview he referred to SHB and Family Managementas being separate courses. Ravinder was quite positive about theclass. He spoke favourably about the topics and classactivities. He liked the topics the course covered because"those kind of subjects are not really talked about." Hementioned the units on cults and stereotyping as examples.Ravinder thought the topics gave one a chance to learn aboutoneself. "Like you learn alot about yourself in that class.Like stuff you don't normally think about is brought up. Like itmakes you think about yourself. Your self attitude." Ravinderenjoyed SHB because the activities the class was given were good.He identified games and class discussions as his favorites. Heparticularly liked discussions because he felt his verbal skillswere better than his writing skills. Ravinder was an activeparticipant in class discussions. "I can't stay quiet if thereis a discussion. I always give my opinion." Ravinder identifiedstereotyping of males and topics that were "too personal", asthings he did not like about the course. Ravinder feltstereotyping of males occured in the rape unit:Like when doing the rape unit. It is alwaystotally the males fault. Right. Guys are75always forcing and guys are always after onething. Stuff like that, which is not alwaystrue.Ravinder felt the self unit had some questions and activitiesthat were too personal. "Some of the stuff asks you quitepersonal questions and you don't want to answer but you have tobecause you need the marks". Ravinder said some of the personalquestions he didn't do and he lost marks. He also felt he lostmarks because he was lazy. He reported that often he couldanswer a whole worksheet verbally "but when it comes to writingit down I won't even bother". Ravinder believed that the boysand girls participated equally in the class. He said the boysoffered their opinion regularly. (This statements contradictsFilipe's earlier statement. Filipe thought the boys participatedmore.) In refering to girls, Ravinder said:Most of them probably learn alot. Because alotof the stuff there is dealing with the guys' aspectlike the male point of view compared. So thefemales learn more how the males think.It appears that there was a "male voice" in the block A SHB 11class, which was lacking in the grade 12 classes. Ravinder wasproud of this male voice. He said:We gun the girls down. Not always but it seems when76the girls say something the guys always have to gunthem back down. Keep them quieter...Four or five ofus guys sit together. If the girls say anything ohmen can't do this, put down men. Then we just burnthem. Then all of them get choked. But then we alwaysat the end, they always calm down or the teacher breaksit up.While Ravinder was talking I got the impression that the boysdominated the class. Perhaps Ravinder is one of the class clownsFilipe was refering to. Girls that were 'gunned down' might bereluctant to participate. Ravinder said he was comfortable inSHB. He described the classroom environment as relaxed, an "easygoing room".Brenden, a grade 12 student sat with Ravinder and Filipe inSHB 11. Brenden was one of a few boys who had previous HomeEconomics course experience which included Home Economics Eightand Foods and Nutrition 11. Brenden told me last year the coursewas called Family Management, but he was surprised to learn itfell under the Home Economics umbrella. "Well I know itsnothing like mechanics or that but I didn't know it was HomeEconomics." Brenden became interested in the course last yearafter watching his friend who was taking Family Management 11 doassignments and homework. Brenden enjoyed his year so far inSHB and said "I like almost everything we have done." He feltthe teacher made the class exciting. According to Brenden, she"presented it in a really fun manner." Brenden also liked the77course because it was "different" from any other courses he hadtaken and he felt he could "be himself in the class". "We didalot of new things like different games and we learned aboutalot of new things". He credited his teacher with an ability tomake students feel comfortable. "She won't make you feeluncomfortable if you have a wrong answer. She will make you feellike you are right even if you were wrong". Brenden implied thatthe teacher worked to create a comfortable classroom environmentfor everyone.Everyone is happy and cheering [sic] and everyone isalways talking back and forth and its more of anopen forum. You can be yourself, say what you think.Filipe's reporting of the classroom environment differed fromBrenden's. Filipe reported the classroom environment wasn'tcomfortable for everyone. He indicated some of the girls in theclass were reluctant to participate, for fear of being 'pickedon' or 'put down'. Ravinder's verbal accounts on the classroomtend to agree with Filipe's. Perhaps, Brenden's view is somewhatdistorted, and limited to himself. Brenden enjoyed theactivities the class was given, especially role plays anddiscussions. He felt he was an active and comfortableparticipant in these class discussions. "We may not always beright about what we are saying but we are probably the mostcomfortable expressing what we are thinking". Brenden said histeacher quite often called upon him and his friends to get class78discussions going. When I asked Brenden if he thought there wasone sex that dominated class discussions, he reported: "I thinkit's the guys. I think it's us. I think we are probably themore popular people and feel more comfortable just talking".While Brenden was comfortable for most of the class, he didmention two units where he felt uneasy and intimidated. One ofthese units was on rape, the other on abusive relationships.During the unit on rape, the teacher brought in a guest speaker.Brenden did not like this guest speaker:We had a guest speaker who was a very biased feminist.She was just the worst. She was talking about rapeand everyone knows rape isn't really violence, orsexual crime its more of a violent act. But shewas portraying everything like men are just beasts..teaching girls how to kill guys or what ever when theytried to rape them and stuff. It was just stupid.Brenden felt all males were being stereotyped as abusers.Referring to the present unit on abusive relationships:I thought it was a total bias again. I know thatviolence in a relationship is more of a maledominant trait, but I am pretty sure it happensthe other way. Just like male rape, it happensbut it is something that men wouldn't really liketo be proud of because of the image that society once79again portrays for them.I observed Brenden's class during a lesson on abusiverelationships. The students had been given a homeworkassignment from the previous class in which they were to write a'Dear Diary' entry describing the progression of a relationshipinto an abusive one. The teacher had asked the students to takeon the role of the victim. A number of girls read their 'DearDiary' stories to the class. The students' stories began withinfatuation. The stories went on to describe how therelationship changed into an abusive one. Everyone in the classwas quiet while the girls read out their stories. The teacherthanked each student and summarized the abusive pattern at thecompletion of each story. No boys volunteered to read theirstories. A girl in the class volunteered to read out Ravinder'sstory. Ravinder was absent from class. As Ravinder's story wasread, people in the class began to laugh. I didn't findRavinder's story outrageous or laughable. When I asked Brendenabout the laughing he replied:Well if you met Ravinder you would understand.Ravinder is the type of guy who is really wierd.I can just picture Ravinder being pushed around bythe girl. That is just the way I saw it. No onereally. If you think of some guy writing in hisdiary about being beatup by his girlfriend, you thinkof some woman from the Amazon, seven foot, 300 pound80beast.Brenden did not write a 'Dear Diary' entry because he was absentfrom class when the assignment was given. I asked him if hethought the majority of boys in the class would do theassignment. Brenden said:I think the guys would write the letter. Theyjust wouldn't look at it seriously, because itis hard to take every topic ifyou are talking about dating and how you feel aboutintimacy on the first date, not all the guys aregoing to feel comfortable.I told Brenden, that I noticed the boys were quiet during theletter reading. He agreed and indicated that his friend Dave,who usually expresses the male view point, was absent from class:Usually the thing is we need Dave there becauseDave is the one who will say no no no, you can'tdo that. Because he is really smart and he is theone who can best show our point.Four boys were absent from this class. Their absence may haveaffected the boys participation. Perhaps the boys are morecomfortable expressing their viewpoints when there are otherboys to support them.81Ryan is a grade 11 student in the block B SHB 11 class. Hewould like to become an elementary school teacher. He took SHBbecause the counsellor told him it was a good course for someonegoing into the field of teaching. The majority of Ryan'sfriends were also taking the class. Ryan enjoyed hisexperiences in SHB and signed up to take SHB 12 next year. Heidentified groupwork, specific course units, guest speakers,assignments and class discussions as positive aspects of thecourse. He liked the opportunity to work in groups because hewas able to socialize with his friends. He found the units oncults, mental disorders and the self interesting. A variety of"stimulating guest speakers" was also identified as a strongpart of the course. He enjoyed the majority of topics that werestudied, and found some familar to him. Ryan indicated this wasgood because SHB provided the opportunity to study these topicsin more detail. "In late elementary we talked about abuse andstuff like that so it is sort of like we have already been doingit....and now we have the chance to study it in depth." When Iasked Ryan to tell me about some of his positive experiences inthe class, his first answer was the "personal historyassignment." This assignment was also given to the class at thelow participation school. In this assignment students puttogether their life history from birth to present in a scrapbook.The information was presented in a written format andsupplemented with photographs, art work, and other mementoes.82The classroom environment and atmosphere also helped makeRyan's experiences in SHB positive. He reported feeling verycomfortable in the class. He told me most of the students inthe class were in grade 11 and they were his friends. Hedescribed the classroom environment as "friendly" and "laidback". He indicated that his amount of participation in theclass was in the medium to high range. He felt the classdiscussions were balanced, in that neither boys or girls tendedto dominate. He did not directly mention a female orientationin the course, but he did say that he thought the course couldbe improved, "If there was more even in sexes, then we could domore interesting projects."Mao, a grade 12 boy, is an English as a Second Languagestudent, in the block B SHB 11 class. He selected SHB becausethe description in the course selection booklet soundedinteresting, and Mao's friend who took the course last year"advised" him to take it. Two things that Mao liked about theclass were that there was not much homework, and it didn'trequire any extra hours to study. He reported SHB was a "niceclass", and he felt he had got "alot out of it." Mao said SHBgave him: "Alot of confidence, public speaking. There is alotof presentation, so I got confidence to speak in public".Mao found some activities in the course more difficult thanothers, particularly those activities requiring verbal skills.He identified class discussions and presentations from guestspeakers as examples. Mao indicated these difficulties were the83result of a "language problem". He ranked his participation inthe low to medium range. He reported that he doesn't completeall of his home work assignments. He felt he was passing thecourse with a "minimum grade". Despite there being a higherpercentage of girls in this class than other classes, Mao didn'tfeel the class was any different. Mao thought that more girlstook the class than boys because "It is easier. Easiest courseyou can take. Sciences are more harder...This course is easier,that's why more girls take it". Mao described the classroomenvironment as friendly and aggressive. I asked Mao in what waysstudents were aggressive, and he responded , "they don't hesitateto talk on any topic".Adam a grade 11 student has taken Foods and Nutriton 9/10.He plans to become an RCMP officer, and took SHB 11 because hethought it might help him in his career. He said SHB was"pretty enjoyable". Some of the things he liked about the coursewere, the oral presentations, the self unit, and being able tochoose one's own topic for the bulletin board assignment. Adamthought the course was valuable because "it helps you to readyyourself to speak in front of the class."Adam described the classroom environment as friendly, andadded he "sits with an enjoyable group." He felt hisparticipation level was about medium, and his standing in theclass was a C+. He did not like the cults or mental disordersunits. He believed these units (particularly the cult unit)were not realistic. He stated: "I would like to have spent lesstime on cults and more time on the family section." Adam made no84mention of a female orientation to the course. When I asked himhow he felt being in a class that was mostly made up of girls hereplied: "Well its not mostly female. Well it is but there ismore guys. Three or four at the front and two or three on thesides." Adam didn't notice any difference in the class as aresult of there being more girls. He perceived the achievementof girls as higher than the boys; however, he didn't know whythis might be the case.Trevor was a grade 11 student who had no previous HomeEconomics course experience. Trevor perceived Home Economicsclasses as "being for girls", and he was not aware SHB was partof Home Economics. He signed up for SHB because his friendstold him it was a "pretty good course and that it was fun". Hehad another reason for taking the class, he said: "actuallylast year the reason I chose SHB was because I had ideas ofbecoming a psychologist". Trevor basically enjoyed the class,but he indicated that he wouldn't be taking SHB 12 next year.After being in the class, it is not to saythat I don't like the topics, it is just thatI am not as interested as I thought I would be,so I won't be enrolling next year.Trevor liked class discussions, group work, and activities thatinvolved the whole class. He thought the section on personalityprofile was interesting. In this section Trevor said theydiscovered what kind of personality they had, and what jobs they85would be best suited to. Trevor told me the most positive andbenefical experience in the class was:Getting in front of the class and talking. Wehave these things called impromptu and they giveus a chance to go in front of the class and speak.I think I developed a better. I can go in front ofthe class and speak now. I feel more comfortable.Trevor reported his participation level as medium, and saidhe is "more of a listener than a person asking questions." Oneof the things Trevor did not like about the class was the tests.Trevor was disappointed with his performance on them. He said:"I don't like her tests. I just never seem to get a good markon them so that has brought my mark down alot." Trevor thoughthis mark in the class would be either a C or C+. He describedthe classroom environment as friendly. He noticed theatmosphere in SHB was different than his other classes.Well the classroom atmosphere is different. Howdo I put it. The classroom atmosphere is not as rowdy.The behaviour is alot better in this class. In a classwith more guys then there is more guys that are loudand stuff like that. This class is more quiet.Trevor also felt there was a difference in the way that girlsand boys thought about the class: "The girls participate harder.86They ask more questions and they probably get their work donemore than we would." When I asked him why he thought this, hereplied:Probably because we are not as interested in itas they are. Unless the male is going to go intothat kind of work then he would be interested in andhe would do the work.Trevor unlike Mao, Adam and Ryan mentioned male stereotyping anda female orientation occuring during the course. He felt thishappened during certain topics.Girls are more sensitive, they're more involved,more emotional wise, and its harder for us.Harder for the males. We are outnumbered and it isuncomfortable sometimes...It is just that sometimessome of the topics make us look bad. One time wewere talking about rape and it totally focussed onguys how negative it is and stuff, and we felt likealot of us felt uncomfortable.Thomas, a grade 11 student transferred to the highparticipation school part way through the year. At his firstschool the course was called Family Management and the class wasprimarily made up of girls. At this school Thomas believed hewas learning "about budgeting and finding out how much it would87cost to have a baby and stuff like that". Thomas felt SHB wasvery different from the Family Management course he was taking athis previous school. "Now that I transferred over here they saidI had to take this course (SHB) and this course wasn't anythinglike that." Thomas said he found some of the activities in SHBinteresting, "listening skills" and "activities we did as aclass" were ones he mentioned. Thomas reported that his teacherencouraged all students to participate by planning fun things todo. "When she makes an activity she makes it so it will be funfor everyone, not just for a certain individual." Thomas foundthe units on cults and mental illness boring. He felt the classwould have been more enjoyable for him if the topics were more"family oriented". Thomas would have liked activities where:"they pair you up with another girl make it like you are married,so you have to work out a budget, get a job....find a place tolive and stuff like that." Thomas indicated he would not takeSHB 12, "because it wasn't what I was expecting. Like I had totake it because of transferring." Instead of learning aboutcults, Thomas would have liked to learned about,marriage, aspect of getting married. How muchit would cost, learning about how to budget yourmoney...learn more about how to run a household.How much B.C. Hydro is going to cost, how much gasis going to cost.Even though Thomas was disappointed with the focus of the course88he said "whether I pass or fail it (SHB) I still got somethingout of it." Thomas reported he was not doing well in the class.In fact it was doubtful whether he would pass. His attendancerecord was poor, and assignments and homework frequently werenot done.I usually sleep in because I am not that greatat getting up and sometimes I will forget to domy homework. So I will skip that class thinking Iwill do it and give it to her, but then when I comeback there is other homework and I lose marks on that.Thomas said he didn't do some of the assignments because theywere "not interesting." Thomas was the only other boy in block BSHB to mention male stereotyping during his interview.When we were learning about the MontrealMassacre where this guy went around killingwomen at this university. It makes like Ithought it was making the guys in the classlook bad.The relationship unit was a unit where other boys I interviewedindicated they felt all males were being stereotyped and putdown. I asked Thomas if he felt this way during this unit, andhe replied no. He then added "but in a way it makes it seemlike all the guys do it but girls can do it sometimes too." He89described how his past girlfriend had treated him. He felt therelationship unit was "okay because I am going out with someonewho had a relationship like that."Experiences of Boys at the Low Participation School At the low participation school there were two classes ofSociology 11 and one class of Sociology 12. Tyson, a grade 11student was one of two boys enrolled in block E Sociology.There had been three boys enrolled for most of the year, but oneboy dropped the class three weeks prior to the start of thisstudy. Tyson signed up for Sociology because he felt the classwould help him with his planned future career in social work.He thought the course was "pretty good." He enjoyed the guestspeakers and groupwork. He felt that the activities he wasgiven "were good ones". Tyson's attendance in the class wasgood. He rated his verbal participation as high, and hiswritten participation as low. Tyson indicated much of what wastaught in the class was common sense, "I find alot in that classis common sense...or it is covered in different classes". Laterduring the interview he reported the course provided more detailon topics than other classes. "It explains alot deeper into thethings...They tell you exactly what it is. In Science theyhide the main point of it. This class they come out and say it."Despite the easiness and common sense of course content, Tysonwas not passing. He seemed to be having trouble understandingwhy he was doing so poorly. "I don't understand where alot of90the marks come from. I don't feel there is enough to get a markon."According to the teacher, Tyson was not passing the coursebecause he had not turned in the majority of assignments. At thefront of the classroom, the teacher had a large bulletin board(10 x 6 ft) titled 'When Are My Assignments Due'. Under eachblock was a wipe board which listed the title of an assignment,the date it was given, the mark it was out of, and when it wasdue. It is difficult to understand why Tyson didn't know "wherethe marks come from." All possible marks for the course arelisted on the wipe board. Tyson indicated, that at times he feltuncomfortable in the course: "I found it in there too a coupleof times when I wanted to leave." He felt uncomfortable, becausethe class was predominately made up of girls. "Alot of it for meand Steve I know too because we were the only two males in thatclass. Which is kind of wierd because everyone looks at you."Tyson felt the girls were often surprised by the "differentviewpoint of the males." He thought the girls expected the boysto have the same viewpoint as them. He was reluctant at times tovoice his opinion because it might be taken the wrong way. "Itis sometimes hard, you don't know what to say or if you saysomething you think it might be wrong or taken wrongly." Tysonalso felt uncomfortable making comments during class discussionsbecause his opinions were always 'judged'. This didn't seem tohappen to opinions of girls. "When I have said something it ismade a point of. When someone else says something it is notreally judged or commented on."91Perhaps Tyson's uncomfortable feelings were the result of afemale orientation and lack of male voice in the class. Tysondid not plan to take Sociology 12 next year because he feltSociology 11 hadn't helped him. He indicated the course wasdifferent than what he expected. He thought the coursedescription for Sociology in the course selection booklet wasvery different from what was taught. According to Tyson "thewriteup says how to talk to people and understand people andstuff. This course covers a whole different aspect." Tysonwants to take courses that will be useful for his future career.He doesn't feel Sociology will help him in social work.Steve a grade 11 student, sat with Tyson and two othergirls in Sociology. Steve enrolled in the class because hethought the course description for Sociology in the courseselection booklet sounded interesting. He felt Sociology mighthelp him with a career in the RCMP. He was also takingPsychology. He reported Sociology and Psychology were quitesimilar. He told me the "projects were easy" and some of theconcepts taught were "common knowledge." He liked working ingroups, as long as he felt comfortable with that group. Steveenjoyed the guest speakers. He indicated the class had quite afew guest speakers during the past year. He told me the guestspeakers on Alcoholism made an impact on him. He reported hewas the type of person who prefers to listen to what others haveto say, rather than expressing his own opinion. He rated hisparticipation in the class as low, as he had not turned in anumber of assignments. He was not passing Sociology. His92attendence was irregular. At times, he was bored in class. Hestated: "When it was more of the girl stuff, I was bored."Steve was not able to give me an example of the "girl stuff".He thought the class was much easier for the girls, because thecourse content was more suited to them. He said: "I think thereis kind of alot more girl stuff than guy stuff." He reportedthe girls were more active participants in the course, and theirviewponts tended to dominate. He thought males were stereotypedduring the unit on date rape. At times he was veryuncomfortable as: "the girls they are kind of against the guys,the males. That's what I am noticing." Even though at timesSteve was uncomfortable in class, he reported enjoying theclass. He had signed up to take Sociology 11 again next yearbecause he will not pass this year. He knows he does not haveto take Sociology 11 again, but has chosen to do this because heliked the course.Justin is the only male in the block G Sociology class. Hesaid the course was interesting because of the topics covered.His favorite units were the units on alcoholism and adolescence.He liked the activities during these units, especially the non-alcoholic party, class discussions, and guest speakers. Theadolescent unit was good because he said "It is interesting tosee what your parents and grandparents did when they wereteenagers". Justin also liked the bulletin board assignment. Hewas, however, not happy with all of the units. The self unit wasa unit he did not like. In referring to the self unit he said"I found it kind of boring...the majority of stuff I knew". He93did not do the personal history assignment in the self unit. Hetold me he found it difficult to put together. At times duringthe course he was uncomfortable because some of the topics were"a bit embarassing," or "too personal." He said Sociology wasdifferent than other classes because he felt he was expected togive the male opinion. Often his opinion was on something hethought was mostly a "female topic." Other times Justin wasuncomfortable with the topics, "for some of the topics I feelkind of stupid on because I can't answer. I can't answer halfof the questions." Justin rated his participation in the classas low. His attendance was good, but he didn't always turn inassignments. He was not doing well in the class. He felt hehad "one of the lowest grades." He blamed his poor performanceon two things: his laziness and that the course was easier forgirls. Justin noticed a "big difference" in the way that malesand females thought about the course. He thought "girls canrelate to it more." He provided the following example: "Forinstance how many guys do you know that talk about birth controland stuff." He told me he wouldn't be taking Sociology 12 nextyear: "I am not doing well this year so I don't think I would dowell next year."At the end of the interview Justin said "I am surprised youdidn't ask what it was like to be a disabled person in thatclass." Justin is physically handicapped and is in a wheelchair.He then went on to tell me that he was very intimidated duringthe unit on reproduction because of his disability. Justin feltthere was a female orientation to the course, but he did not94mention male stereotyping.Cameron was a grade 12 student. He was the only boyenrolled in Sociology 12. He had not taken Sociology 11;therefore while enrolled in Sociology 12, he was receiving creditfor Sociology 11. A counsellor recommended the course to him.He followed the counsellors suggestion because he felt Sociologywas "easier than history." Cameron suggested that he takes theeasiest courses he can in order to graduate. He identified anumber of different things about the course that he liked.Working in groups was one aspect of the course he enjoyed. Heliked working in groups because it "helps one do their workfaster" and provided the "opportunity to practice communicationskills." Class discussions were another area of enjoyment. Heliked discussions because they gave each person a chance to:"practice communication skills and they allow one to hear whatother people think." The career assignment was a highlight forCameron:We got to do our career, like you know what yourcareer is and you get to go investigate to the libraryand stuff and that is what I thought was the best thingthroughout the whole year. That was my favorite.One of the things Cameron did not like about the course was thenarrow focus of course content. He indicated the topic ofrelationships seemed to last the whole year.95You get tired doing the same thing over andover again. Like on relationships, we did itthroughout the whole year until we did thecareer thing. That was the only thing different.We kept on relationships, get kind of boringafter awhile.Cameron's second criticism about the course related to a femaleorientation of class content. He noticed that the girls feltdifferently about the course than himself. "They really getinto it", he reported. He felt that this was because: "Theclass is probably mostly about girls.^They talk about girlstuff." An example of "girl stuff" was the unit on pregnancy."I don't think we can get pregnant. Girls adapt to it more thanguys, because some of the topics are more for a woman, forgirls." Cameron thought the class would have been more enjoyablefor him if there had been a wider variety of topics studied. Hereported he liked being in a class that was predominately girls.He felt that he was accepted in the class: "They just accept mebecause I am a guy and I think different then they do." Cameronreported his participation level in the class was about medium.He did his assigned work and was achieving a passing grade.96SummaryFour themes emerged from boy's descriptions of theirexperiences. The four themes were narrow focus of coursecontent, female orientation of course content, lack of a malevoice, and stereotyping of males. These themes were present inboys' descriptions at both the high enrollment and lowenrollment school, but were not mentioned by all studentsinterviewed. A number of questions have emerged from thesethemes. These include: (1) Why did two of three boysinterviewed view the content of Family Management 12 as having anarrow focus? (2) What might have led boys to develop thisperception? (3) Do all boys agree Family Management 12 has anarrow focus? (4) What do boys mean when they say FamilyManagement has a female orientation?There was a difference in the experiences of boys inclasses with a higher enrollment of boys versus classes with alow enrollment of boys. In classes with a higher enrollment ofboys, the boys in the class were more comfortable participatingand thus believed a 'male voice' was present. Boys in classes ontheir own or with one other boy were less likely to participatefor fear of having their opinions judged or taken the wrong way.Boys in all of the classes reported enjoying certain topicsbecause these topics weren't talked about everyday. Studentsliked class discussions, group work, and guest speakers.There was considerable difference in the achievement of97boys at the two schools. The boys at the high participationschool reported doing better than the boys at the lowparticipation school. At the high participation school nine outof ten boys said they were passing the course compared to one offour boys passing at the low participation school.Perceived Relevance of Family Management Courses Boys who were not enrolled in Family Management were read alist of topics covered in Family Management 11 and 12 at bothschools. This list was derived from course outlines. Boys werethen asked to comment on the relevancy of Family Management totheir present and future lives.Non-Enrolled Boys at the High Participation School Matthew thought that relevancy of a course dependedon how interested the student is in learning andwhat ever unit your're on...If the student doesn'tfeel that they really need something I don'tthink they will listen as much as they would ifthey felt they needed it.When I asked Matthew what he meant by "needed it", he responded:"General knowledge, general life. If they don't need something98to get along, then they won't pay attention." Matthew didn'tfeel that he personally needed any training in Home Economicsbecause he was self taught in that area.I think in my case at home because my mom passedaway six years ago, I had to learn how to sew, Ihad to learn all that myself. So I know how to dothat myself. So I don't really need that HomeEconomics course. The boys that haven't taken HomeEconomics don't have or weren't in that situation Iwas in, I feel that once they leave home are goingto find out alot of things. They are going tobe living off peanut butter sandwiches and cheese forquite a while. I almost think they should make ustake one year of Home Economics and one year ofIndustrial Education so that we have the experience ofboth.Matthew selected the cult topic from a verbal list of topicsstudied in SHB as being very relevant. He made no comments onany of the other topics. Matthew felt that women were receivingmore respect and credit for work they have traditionally done."I think the man is realizing that its a heck of alot of workfor someone to do that, bear the child, care for the child."Matthew thought it was great if his future wife wants to workoutside the home because "that is just added income." Matthewsees men taking a more active role in child rearing. He told me99at his church he sees moms taking time off work for a whilethen going back to work.There are a number of ladies who have had to taketime off work and be off work for a little while. Ican see them going back very soon. In alot of casessoon as the child is able to realize that Daddy doessome work, and Daddy is able to care for the child aswell.Hartmeet didn't feel that taking SHB would make a"difference" to students' daily or future lives. He thought thecourse was "okay" but "students already know most of it from T Vand all that." Hartmeet indicated a more relevant topic of studywould be: "how you would take care of all the finances and that,like they do in Consumer Ed." He suggested a month or two onthis topic. Hartmeet's family life was very traditional. Hisfather worked outside the home and his mother worked in the home.Hartmeet couldn't see his future lifestyle varying much from hispresent family setting. He was aware that family roles havechanged "a little", but in his own community he reported: "WhereI live is mostly traditional....I don't see it changing much."Gino reported SHB would help students in the futurebecause: "Studying units such as the self would be beneficial.You would have it easier with yourself. Speak better more selfassured. You would know what your're talking about." Gino feltthe topics covered in the course were relevant to students'100lives because:We hear all about the problems in a family such asdivorce, child abuse, and all that. I think ifyou teach them younger how to control a relationshipor manage a relationship. I think that will help them inthe future and not hurt them. It can only be beneficial.Gino thought that psychology would be a good topic of study toinclude in SHB because: "Alot of people this age especially Gradeeleven and Grade twelve they want to go into a career likepsychology or criminology. Psychology would help them." Ginorecognized family roles have changed. He saw women'sparticipation in the work force increasing.I think everyone is going to work to make theirlives better, more money coming in. The environmentthat we live in is such a money based environmentthat we have to support ourselves.Gino felt mothers should stay home the first year after givingbirth. After this first year the family could arrange"babysitting or a nanny, or whatever they could afford."James had a positive attitude toward SHB. He "definitely"thought the course was important for both girls and boys to take.He was aware of a number of the topics taught in SHB and he sawthem as relevant to students' lives both now and in the future.101James said: "Any experience you have (such as taking SHB) willhave an impact on your everyday life. It is just how youanalyse the situation and use it to your advantage." Jamesthought that in most households both parents work because: "Ifcouples have children and they have a mortgage its almostimpossible to have a single income household anymore." Jamesfelt when women began working outside the home they becameindependent and family roles changed. James indicated it wasthe responsibility of both parents to take active roles inraising the children. "It has to be both parents because thereare certain things that I personally get from my Mom andcertain things that I personally get from my Dad." When thereare young children in a family James saw mainly the motherstaying home to look after them. He thought it was possible foreither parent to stay home depending on how flexible theircareers were. James added that his Dad was the one he called ifhe gets sick at school because his work schedule is moreflexible and he can leave to pick James up.102Non-enrolled Boys at the Low Participation School Gary felt it was more important for girls to take Sociologythan boys. He didn't feel that boys would be using alot of theinformation taught. He thought the course would "probably" helpstudents out because: "they would be more organized and have aday to day plan and maybe run by it." Gary thought the coursemight teach one "a good way of doing things" versus a "bad way."At times during his interview Gary's statements werecontradictory. One moment he would say:I think that...if you are planning on enteringinto a family you should take it to understandeverything about it and know what's coming up.But otherwise I don't think I would take it.This statement particularly the last sentence seemed to implythat the majority of students wouldn't need to take Sociology.But then a few minutes later he stated:.It would be important because eventually mostpeople start a family so you are going to haveto learn sometime. To do it when it is undercontrol is probably better then being forced tolearn it.103In this statement "most people" refers to the majority ofstudents. Yet, Gary and his friends didn't take Sociology orHome Economics courses because they felt boys wouldn't be usingthe information taught. Gary reported most of his friends weretraditional in their thinking about family roles: "The girlshould be the cook, the barefoot and pregnant style, alot of myfriends think that way." When there are young children in afamily, he felt one of the parents, preferably the mother, shouldstay home to look after them. Gary said: "I don't like the ideaof a babysitter. I think you should grow up with either your Momor Dad." Gary doesn't see himself staying home to look after hischildren.My mom brought me up and my dad didn't have thatmuch to do with it...I probably think if I was a kidI would like it better if my mom brought me up becauseI think girls are a little more understanding than guysand they are I guess nicer.As the children grew older, Gary saw himself becoming moreinvolved, especially if they were into activities.Dane thought the topics studied in Sociology were "good",especially the self unit. He felt the course would be relevant tostudents' lives in the future, but was not able to describe howit would be relevant. Dane believed that today both parents104probably will work outside the home. He said this will require:"Alot of organization to set things up, plan everything." Hethought that this could mean "alot of stress", and that it"wouldn't be easy." Dane thought a daycare could look after thechildren while parents were at work.After being read a list of topics covered in Sociology,Derek replied: "I think they are important. I think malesshould learn about them too." He thought the course could make adifference to students' lives, "because then they would be awareof what is happening." Derek believed that today women shouldhave the choice of working in the home or outside the home. Hebelieved that it was quite easy to get a nanny to look after thechildren, should the mother decide to work outside the home.Derek could not see himself taking time out from his career tostay home to look after young children.Grant had never heard of Sociology before the interview.After learning about some of the topics taught, he thought thatSociology would be an important class for girls and boys to take.I didn't take it. I never heard about it untilnow. But I think it would help us out in theend. I figure if you're going to be a parent youcan 't get worse you can only get better. Youcan learn the things to do, and I feel this wouldhelp you learn what to do and what not to do.105Grant would like to see the topics 'responsibilities of beinggrown up,' and 'money management' added to the course. Grantthought the topics covered in the course were relevant tostudents' lives. "Alot of students have problems, like runawaysand all that and I feel if there is more told about it alot morepeople would join the class." Grant wanted to be "well into hiscareer", before he thinks about having a family. He said heenjoys young children. He has a younger brother that he looksafter. He saw himself as an active participant in child rearing,especially when the children are old enough to do sportsactivitives.Phil had a negative attitude toward Home Economics courses.This attitude carried through to Sociology. After reading alist of the topics covered in Sociology, Phil replied:Most of that is pretty well common sense. I meanit is pretty basic. People can learn about it througheveryday life, probably through experiences. They don'tneed to take a course on that.Phil didn't feel it was necessary to learn about parentingbecause "it comes naturally" and "one can learn about it fromtheir own parents." Phil felt in his future family that bothparents would work, as parents didn't need to stay home withtheir young children, because: "There are places you can send106your kid until the parents get home from work." Phil avoidedquestions about his role in his future family.Raymond didn't feel the course was useful. After having alist of topics read to him Raymond replied: "I think you cantalk about them but it won't really make a difference." Most ofthe topics according to Raymond were "not common" or "taught inscience."Raymond didn't think it was important for girls or boys totake the course. "I think people usually know about that stuff.Communication and how it breaks down. Dating alot of peopledate so I doubt they need to be taught how to do it."He thought that both men and women can work until they havechildren, then the wife should stay at home, to look after themuntil they have completed elementary school. After that, shecould find "a little part time job or something." Raymond wasvery traditional in his beliefs. He seemed somewhat agitated byquestions I asked him, particularly ones that pertained tomale/female roles.107Enrolled Boys at the High Participation School Brad was disappointed with his year in SHB 12. He felt thefocus of the course was narrow, and too much time was spent ontwo topics, babies and marriage. Brad felt he didn't learn manynew things in the course.Last year's information was great. There was alotof good stuff. This year I don't know becausewe just kept covering the same topics over andover again. I mean okay I learned a few thingsabout babies and stuff. The development of babiesother than that I already knew how a marriage worksand ... no one in my family has been divorced orwhatever.Brad did not see SHB 12 as being relevant to his future life orroles in a family. He did not like the family focus of SHB 12."That's all it was just family stuff. Marriage, babies and therewas other aspects of that and I kind of found that was reallyboring." Brad indicated the family focus of the course shouldhave disappeared when they changed the course name from FamilyManagement to Socialization and Human Behaviour. He reasoned:"It's not called Family Management anymore so why stick with thesame material."Brad told me he liked the traditional family setting, but108wouldn't object if his wife wanted to work. He couldn't seehimself staying home and looking after children while his wifeworked outside the home. He believed others would judge himunfavourably if he did.In a way I would kind of feel it would be damaging.I would feel kind of insecure in a way because Iwould be staying home and she would be going out allthe time going to work. I think people would still bethinking what is wrong with him?Lee thought SHB was very relevant to his future. He was one ofa small number of students to recognize the usefulness of SHB tohis future family.That's one thing that people don't understandabout SHB is that they think when we go in therewe talk about all these different psycho terms.But when we go in there we talk about things likethe child study, like everyone is going to havea child sooner or later. Well maybe not everyone.Most people and this is giving us a handle on whatto expect. Same thing when we talked about thefamily like getting married and having children andall that stuff.Lee did not dismiss the course content as common sense. He saw109the information taught as 'practical', something he said manyother male students didn't recognize. He stated: "I don't thinkthey really see the practical side of it." Lee thoughtstereotyping women as being better suited to caring for youngchildren and organizing a household still occured. He didn'tfeel this was good and would like to see it changed.Males should, I don't know how they are going tochange, but they should change themselves in a waythat they take a more active participation in theirchild's upbringing as far as actually taking care ofthe baby, changing it, etcetera.Lee believed males' attitudes toward caring for young childrenand running a household had changed, but there was room for morechange.I think it has to start with the change in the malepsyche and that I think in alot of ways, it ischanging right now because ten years ago I wouldprobably be taking Industrial Education if I was inhigh school, not SHB so it is changing alot. But Ithink it has to change more.Filipe thought some of the topics in SHB were relevant tohis present life.110Pretty relevant actually. Like this relationshipthing right now. It might be a little more relevantwith the girls than the guys but it is part of lifehaving a boyfriend or girlfriend, so I would say that'svery relevant.Filipe said girls saw the course as being more relevant to theirfuture lives than the boys.I think its just a bias from the male point ofview. I guess females think SHB is for familiesbecause they are going to have kids and want tolearn about that and I think guys are more into theindustrial section like electronics with me.If families have young children, Filipe feels it is best for:"The mother to stay home with the kids, better than a thirdparty like a babysitter bringing up the kids in a daycare. Ithink its important that your family brings up the child."Filipe said he has never thought about a father staying homeand caring for his children.I haven't really thought about that. I am not sure.I guess if they tried I guess women have that kindof, they are with kids. Alot of my friends, mygirlfriend and stuff like they get the babysitting111jobs and they know how to take care of kids and treatthem and all that. Like I haven't done muchbabysitting work so I wouldn't be as good. But Ithink if a guy could have some training, they could bejust as good.Filipe had thought about how SHB was relevant to his presentlife, but he hadn't thought about its relevance to his futurefamily roles.Ravinder thought the course was relevant to his presentlife. "You really figure out what type of person you are bytaking a course like helps you out because then youreally know what real life is like. It gives you a good idea."Ravinder's actions in class sent a different message to theteacher and students. He was one of the 'class clowns' and hisbehaviour in class led others to believe he was not seriousabout the course. Ravinder indicated he would like to 'reversethe roles' in a family, because it would be different. He feltthat working fathers were losing out on attention and credit fromtheir children.Mom's home, mom does this, mom gives you that. But whois mom getting everything from? Dad. Dad is bringinghome the money giving it to mom. Mom buys it and momis the one getting the credit...Dad's the one whogave her the money to buy it and he seems to be losing112out on the credit, and that attention, so later on inlife the kid could grow up and say, Dad never didanything.Even though Ravinder claimed the course was relevant to hispresent life, he placed a higher value or worth on work doneoutside the family (the productive processes) than work donewithin the family (the reproductive processes).Ryan told me that SHB was relevant.It deals with everything that happens. Likeright now we are doing relationships, and basicallyeverything we have done throughout the year influencesus now or in the future. It is like a life course.Everything you talk about could happen.Ryan also reported that if students didn't need SHB for theircareers or they weren't interested in the topics then theyshouldn't take it.I wouldn't take a course that you don't need...Well if your area of study needs it then take itbut if you're going to go in to be a lawyer ordoctor or janitor, then you wouldn't need it (SHB).You should take what you need now istead of justtaking it because others are.113Despite Ryan's believing SHB was relevant, it was more importantto him to have his career needs met by taking the courses hewould need. SHB did not meet his career plan requirements.Brenden had a different viewpoint on the purpose ofschooling. He felt school was a place for students to learn howto 'interact' and 'mature', and SHB provided opportunities forthis. Brenden felt SHB was relevant because students were ableto practice communication skills. He saw communication skills asvery useful skills for the future. "Communication has got to bethe most important thing. If you understand how to expressyourself and understand other people you will be successful".Other topics Brenden indicated were not necessary because theywere "common sense" or one "could learn to deal with it on yourown." Brenden could not give me an example of what these othertopics or areas were. He thought schools should emphasize thefamily aspect rather then the career aspect of life.School should be more of a family and human aspectbecause its not so much as go to work, make your moneyand retire and die. It's more of people want tohave their family. They want to get married andhave kids. If they don't want to get married andhave kids they still have to know how to love theirparents. It is not really that it should be taught inschool, but if you're going to be at school you mightas well learn something.114Mao had difficulty answering questions about the relevancyof SHB to his future life, which may have been due in part, to alanguage difficulty. One minute he told me SHB was a nice coursebut most of the information was not very useful to his presentlife. Then he told me he thought it would help him in thefuture with "his career" and "socializing with people." He hadvery traditional views on male/female roles in families. He sawchildcare, meal preparation and household management as women'sresponsibilities. He did not perceive SHB as being relevant tohis future life.Adam identified the "self section" and the "relationshipsection" as relevant. Other sections in the course such ascults and mental disorders were not relevant. He took thecourse to help him with his career. He looked at relevancy interms of one's career, not family life. He planned to takeFrench 12 instead of SHB 12 the following year because heperceived French as being more relevant. He viewed his futurelife in a traditional way. He did not see marriage or childrenaffecting his career plans. He saw his future wife taking mostof the responsibility for childcare. "I think it is importantfor the mom to stay home for a few years with small children. Ithink that is the role of the parent." Adam did not think aboutwhat his responsibilities in his future family might be, andtherefore had not considered whether SHB 12 would be relevant tohis future family life.115Trevor thought SHB was quite relevant. "I have hadexperiences that we have dealt with in class that have happenedin real life, and sometimes it has helped." Even though he sawthe class as relevant, he wouldn't be taking the class in thefollowing year. He reported that he wasn't as interested in thecourse because he wouldn't be going into Psychology. (Trevor hadinitially signed up because he had thoughts about going into thefield of Psychology). Trevor felt it was more important to takeclasses which would help him with his future career. He saw SHBas relevant to his present life. He had not thought about howthe course could help him in his future family. Trevor haddifficulty imagining himself in family roles. He viewed theprimary purpose of an education as preparing students for careersand employment once they leave school.Thomas was disappointed with the lack of family focus inSHB. He thought his Family Management class at his previousschool was more relevant to his future life than SHB. Thomas wasone of a few students who felt it was important for girls andboys to learn about families. He said:In my opinion you should learn about families.That should be like a basic, you have to...Haveyou ever seen Mr. Mom (Thomas starts laughing). Yousaw what he did to that house in one day. So theyknow what they are doing.116Thomas felt the economic aspect of running the household wasvery important for boys and girls to learn. He made no mentionof other topics he believed should be included in the study offamilies.Enrolled Boys at the Low Participation School.When I asked Cameron if he thought Sociology was animportant class for girls and boys to take he replied: "I thinkso...It probably allows the male to learn more aboutrelationships with their girlfriend and stuff." Cameron said hedidn't know if the course would be relevant to his future life.He thought some of the topics could be relevant to students'lives now, and other topics he said may not be relevant because,"you think it would never happen." Cameron had difficultyanswering questions regarding his future family because he hadnever thought about it.When I asked Justin if he thought Sociology was relevant tohis daily life he replied: "Not to me personally because in thealcoholism I don't drink yet." Later on in the interview Justinsaid that some of the topics, such as alcohol, and family lifecould be relevant to boys' future lives. Justin thought othercourses were more relevant to boys' lives than Sociology.Justin felt the most relevant courses were ones which preparedstudents for future careers and jobs.117Steve thought Sociology was relevant to his present life. Hesaid: "there is some stuff in the course that guys and girlsshould know like contraception and stuff." Steve reported thatsome of the information taught had impacted on his behaviour.The unit on alcoholism was an example Steve gave. He reportedthe presentation by MADD (Mothers Against Drinking Drivers) hadchanged his attitude on drinking and driving. "Actually I wasout the other day and I had my drinks and I was driving. Itjust sort of popped in my brain so I got someone to drive mehome."Steve told me his household was traditional with his fatherworking outside the home and his mother working at home. Stevewould like to see his wife working outside the home because thatwould mean more money coming in. However, Steve felt childrearing was mainly the responsibility of mothers, with fathershaving a limited role.I think they would see her everyday and the husbandwouldn't have time because he would be working and allthat. When he comes home he is not going to want toplay with them... he would be tired, he would just wantto lie down and relax.118SummaryQuestions relating to the relevance of SHB or Sociology toone's future life were difficult for students to answer. Mostboys thought about their future in terms of careers (productiveprocesses) but not in terms of their future family life(reproductive processes). Boys talked freely about their futureeducational or career plans, and were reluctant or not able totalk about their perceived roles in future families. Thomastold me most boys don't think about marriage and babies: "Theyjust think they will wait till they get out of school... becausethe guys might think if they like it (learning about marriageand babies) they are kind of sissy." Another student Steve,told me: "I don't like to talk about that kind of thing." Whenboys were asked questions about their future family roles, anumber of boys began telling me about their present families.It was a challenge to encourage them to think about their ownfuture families. Most boys saw SHB and Sociology as beingrelevant to their present life, but indicated courses that wererelevant to their careers were more important. I believe themajority of boys had not thought about education for futurefamily life.119Chapter 5 ConclusionsSummary Many argue that girls/women will not achieve equity in theproductive processes of society until they have equity in thereproductive processes. Eagalt & Steffen (1984) state:Gender stereotypes... will not disappear untilchild care, and household responsibilities areshared equally by women and men and theresponsibilities to be employed outside the home isborne equally (in MacKie 1991, p. 273)Family Management is a course which focuses on the reproductiveprocesses of society, however, boys participate less than girlsin this school subject. This study began with a desire tounderstand why boys participate less in Family Management thangirls. This question was broken down into three specific parts:(a) What perceptions do non-enrolling boys have of FamilyManagement?(b) What are boys experiences in Family Management courses?(c) How relevant do boys see the topics studied in FamilyManagement to their lives and future participation infamilies?The study was conducted in a large suburban school district120during the months of May through June 1991. Two schools wereselected as sites for the study: Ultra Secondary and AldilaSecondary. At Ultra Secondary, the low participation school,the participation rate of boys was seven percent. Aldila wasthe high participation school with a participation rate ofthirty six percent. At the high participation school Iinterviewed ten boys who were taking Family Management and fourboys who were not. At the low participation school, Iinterviewed four boys who were taking Family Management and sixboys who weren't. I also interviewed the Family Managementteachers and observed two classes at each school. All boysinterviewed in the study were selected randomly.At Aldila and Ultra boys selected courses they believedwould help them with a future career or college entrance. Boysbelieved it was more important to prepare for one's futurecareer than prepare for one's future family life.The most important factor influencing boys' enrollment atthe high participation school was recommendation from friends totake the class. At the high enrollment school SHB was perceivedby the boys as a social science. SHB had lost all ties with theHome Economics Department. At the low participation school fourof six non-enrolling boys had never heard of Sociology. AtUltra, Sociology was identified with the Home EconomicsDepartment and hence was thought of by many boys as a girls'course.The gender composition of the class had an impact on boys'experiences in the course. Boys who were isolated or with one121or two others, reported feeling more alienated and uncomfortablethan boys in classes where there was a higher number of boys.From boys' descriptions of their experiences, four themesemerged that accounted for their lack of comfort.: (1) thenarrow focus of course content, (2) the female orientation ofcourse content, (3) the lack of a male voice, and (4) thestereotyping of males.The majority of enrolled and non-enrolled boys in the studyreported the concepts taught were relevant to their daily lives.While most boys were able to see the relevancy of FamilyManagement (SHB and Sociology) to their present lives, they werenot able to visualize its effect on their future lives. Themajority of boys interviewed had not thought about their futurefamily roles. Boys viewed the work done in families as commonsense. They recognized they may lack parenting skills, but theydidn't seek the opportunity to gain practice and knowledge inthis area.Conclusions What are boys' views regarding the purpose of an education?Do they see an education as preparation for the productiveprocesses only? A number of boys in this study had not thoughtabout their future roles in the reproductive processes ofsociety. Have these boys accepted the dominant ideology andtaken their future family roles for granted? I sensed that anumber of boys felt it was okay for girls to talk about their122future families, but it appeared the topic was not acceptablefor boys. Boys often answered questions about their futurefamily roles by telling me about their present family life. Lee,a student at the high participation school believed there hadbeen changes in male attitudes toward gender division of roles,but he also believed that men's/boy's attitudes needed to changemore. He was unsure of how this change "in the male psyche"would come about. Most boys' views on the division of roles inthe reproductive and productive process tended to be moretraditional than Lee's. Boys, however, perceived their views tobe rather 'liberal' as they believed their future wives couldwork outside the home as long as there were no children. Manyof the boys thought mothers were better suited to looking afterpreschool children than fathers, as girls had the experience.Do boys see themselves as incompetent in the area of child care?Why have boys resisted gaining expertise? How active were theseboys' fathers in their sons' up-bringing? Gary told me duringhis interview, even though his parents were together, his motherwas mainly responsible for his care. Is this the norm?Course enrollment is affected by (a) course construction,(b) peer pressure, and (c) the attitudes of school staff.Course construction had an impact on the boys' enrollment.Factors such as the name of the course, the type of classroom inwhich the course was taught, and the department in which thecourse was offered, all affected how the course was constructedin each school. When the course was seen as a "girls" course ora 'Home Economics course', boys were less likely to participate.123Particularly at the low enrollment school, boys viewed HomeEconomics classes as girls' courses, and in the boys' mindsthese courses were not relevant.Are recommendations from friends to take a certain class aform of peer pressure? Recommendations from friends were stronginfluences on boys' enrolling. Such recommendations were one ofthe reasons for boys' higher participation at Aldila Secondary.A third factor influencing boys enrollment wasrecommendations from counsellors. Counsellors influenced courseenrollment by telling boys to take Family Management as it wouldhelp them with their career. Do counsellors view the purpose ofan education as preparation for the productive processes but notthe reproductive processes? None of the boys reported thatcounsellors had recommended the course because it would helpthem prepare for their future family roles. Did counsellorsrecommend the class to girls? If counsellors recommended theclass to girls, what message was sent? What were girls' reasonsfor taking the class?Boys' experiences in Family Management classes were varied.The classroom environment for boys was influenced by theboy/girl composition of the class. In classes which had alarger number of boys, boys participated or were heard moreoften than girls. A group of dominant boys silenced the girlsand other boys in the class. The reverse occured in classeswhere the ratio of girls to boys was higher. Boys' presence inFamily Management affected the classroom environment, the paceof the class, the student and teacher interaction, and the way124the teacher taught the class. Has encouraging boys into theclass contributed to gender inequity for the girls?Discussion Factors Influencing Boys' Participation in Family Management Classes The majority of boys in this study reported that the mostimportant factor in determining their course selection wascareer and/or college preparation. This finding agrees with thefindings of other researchers. Pleshek (1988) found career andcollege preparation were significant factors influencing highschool boys' course selection. Malone (1989) found "for mostteenagers planning for the future tends to focus on which schoolsubjects lead to good jobs" (p. 5). The young men in Gaskell's(1992) study (she interviewed high school seniors in 1977)indicated when they were planning for the future, "paid work wastheir primary focus" (p. 84). Three out of four non-enrolledboys at the high participation school indicated career andcollege requirements had left no room for Family Management intheir timetable. Pleshek (1988) also found that career andcollege requirements had similar effects on student timetables:Students who signed up for classes for career/college preparation usually reported that theyfelt frustrated that their schedule did not allow125enough flexibility for them to enroll in classesfor personal enjoyment. In their opinion, the listof required courses was too long.... (p. 76)Are Home Economics classes seen as courses one takes for personalenjoyment, and not because they might prove useful in the future?Geen (1989) identified three factors which influenced maleenrollment in Home Economics courses: (1) Parental attitudes,(2) Peer group pressure, and (3) Attitudes of members of theschool staff (p. 143).Parental Attitude Geen (1989) reported that parents would permit their sons toenroll in Home Economics courses: "provided that the choice ofHome Economics did not prevent their sons from taking othersubjects necessary for entry to their intended career" (p. 146).In the same study, Geen (1989) distributed a questionnaire toparents to determine their attitudes toward the participation oftheir sons in senior Home Economics classes. She reported thatone quarter of the parents stated: "They would not approve theirsons' involvement in classes which concentrated upon the home,the family, child development or textiles" (p. 143). Many of theboys in this study reported discussing course selection withparents, but they also claimed they alone made decisions oncourse enrollment. Are boys not recognizing the influence oftheir parents? Perhaps parents are sending their sons126subliminal messages on the value of high school subjects. Whatare the boys' parents' attitudes toward gender roles in thereproductive processes? Are domestic tasks shared equally intheir families?MacKie (1991) reported that parental attitudes toward genderrole division varied according to one's social class. Shestated that "working class parents hold more traditional views ofgender than do middle class families," and "male and female rolesare less sharply differentiated in middle class homes than inworking class homes" (p.122). Brenden expressed a similarviewpoint during his interview. He felt male enrollment in SHBwas higher at his school than other schools in the districtbecause he believed the majority of students at his school camefrom middle class families. Brenden felt students from schoolslargely made up of working class families would be less likely toselect SHB. While the boys at Brenden's school selected SHB,they did not participate in other Home Economics courses. Eventhese middle class boys were traditional in their courseselection. Brenden was one exception in that he was currentlytaking a senior Foods and Nutrition course.Peer PressureGeen (1989) stated that peer pressure influenced courseselection decisions. Students in her study indicated theydiscussed course selection with their peers and older siblings.She believed peer pressure (pressure to take the same class as127their friends) influenced boys' course selection. In this studyboys reported the most frequent reason for selecting FamilyManagement at the high participation school was a recommendationto take the course from a friend. Boys at Aldila and UltraSecondaries insisted peer pressure did not influence theircourse selection decision. It appeared, however, that peerpressure in the form of approval or recommendation did exist, butboys failed to recognize it. Pleshek (1988) reports: "studentsstressed that their decisions regarding course selection weremade independently even though they admit that they ask othersfor advice" (p. 77).Attitudes of Members of the School StaffThe teacher at the high participation school creditedmembers of the school staff for helping to build a successfulprogram in which boys participated. She spoke favourably of therole the school counsellors played in promoting the course to allstudents. Geen (1989) reported that the attitudes of curiculumplanners and counsellors affected boys' enrollment in HomeEconomics courses at two of the schools in her study. She citesexamples where boys were discouraged from taking Home Economicsclasses by school counsellors.128Non-enrolled Boys' Perceptions of Home Economics Courses The non-enrolled boys' perceptions of Home Economicsclasses were similar to the boys' perceptions of Home Economicsin studies by Geen (1989) and Pleshek (1988). Half of the boysinterviewed at the low enrollment school reported they and theirfriends didn't take Home Economics courses because they were forgirls. This group of boys believed their future wives wouldtake care of the reproductive work of families, while theyworked in the traditional productive activities of society.Geen (1989) reports ninety percent of the boys she interviewedindicated a reluctance to participate in Home Economics in theupper school, as they believed "certain fields of knowledge weremore appropriate to the education of one andmaintenance of the home was manifestly the concern of women"(p.141).At the high enrollment school, all but three boys reportedthat Home Economics classes as girls' classes no longer existed.These boys indicated that course selection was based onindividual interest rather than gender stereotypes. Sixtypercent of the boys interviewed at Aldila Secondary had no HomeEconomics experience in junior high school. Despite expressinga less traditional view, only 3 of 14 boys had taken a seniorHome Economics class. Two of the three boys were taking aCafeteria course, which they considered not to be Home Economics.At Aldila, boys' actions and behaviour were not congruent withtheir more 'liberal' verbal accounts. Why were boys not129interested in taking Home Economics classes? Did these boysdismiss the relevance of Home Economics to their lives? Whydid these boys continue to make traditional course choices suchas Mechanics and Electronics? Have these boy's succumbed to thedominant ideology, even though they perceive such an ideology asbeginning to breakdown? Were Filipe's perceptions accurate whenhe told me boys didn't take Home Economics because they wereafraid of what their friends and others might say?Davies et. al (1986) found boys were more likely to enrollin textile courses, if they were offered through the ArtDepartment and taught by men. In her 1984-1985 study, shereported that courses in textiles such as Needlework or Needle-craft taught by women had 5 out of 1112 boys participating.However, when the Art department offered, Embroidery, Weavingand Batik with a male teacher, the number of boys participatingrose to 229. Has the offering of Family Management by theSocial Studies Department had a similar effect on boys'enrollment as the textile offering by the Art Department inDavies (1986)?Boys' perceptions of Home Economics classes influencedtheir enrollment decision. The perceptions of Home Economics atUltra Secondary were similar to boys' perceptions of HomeEconomics in Pleshek's (1988) study. Despite enjoying theirjunior high Home Economics experiences, Pleshek's boy subjectsstated they did not select Home Economics in senior high schoolbecause:(a) they already knew the basics of cooking and sewing130(b) it was common sense, boring, basic knowledge(c)boy's felt they could learn more in other courses(d) Home Economics classes in senior high containedthe same information as Home Economics in juniorhigh.Boys' Experiences in Family Management.There are a number of similarities between the findings ofthis study and the findings of other researchers. Similaritiesare found in the following areas:- boys' domination of the classroom- boy's reporting some activities as too personal- female orientation of curriculum-materials and class discussionsBoys' Domination In this study the block A class at Aldila, with ten boys andtwenty girls, had the highest occurence of male domination.This finding was drawn after an examination of interview data anda classroom observation. A group of boys in Susan's block ASHB11 class dominated student-teacher interaction, and classdiscussions. The opposite was found in SHB 12 where there wereonly two boys in each class. Boys in SHB 12 reported girlsdominated class discussions, student teacher interaction and set131the pace for the course. It appears the number of males enrolledin the class and their individual personalities have a bearingon the degree of male domination. The larger number of boys inblock A affected girls' willingness to participate verbally inclass discussions. They became reluctant to participate afterboys in the class "gunned them down" when they did express theirviewpoint. Eyre (1992) found a similar phenomenon occuringduring her observations of a Home Economics 8 class. In a studyentitled 'The Social Construction of Gender in the PracticalArts,' Eyre (1992) observed a co-educational Home Economicsclassroom during a school year, as a group of twenty-fourstudents proceeded through units in Foods and Nutrition, Clothingand Textiles and Family Management. Eyre, reported "girls andmost boys were silenced" and when girls did speak out, "thosewho spoke out .... were corrected, interrupted, made fun of, ordrowned out by the dominant boys" (p. 139). Girls in bothstudies were silenced by the boys. What strategies can a teacheruse to minimize or discourage male domination?Personal Nature of Class Activities Three boys in this study, and some boys in Eyre (1992)reported some of the class activities they were given, were toopersonal. In this study, Rajinder, Justin and Steve reportedsome of the activities they were given, particularly during theself and sexuality unit were too personal, and they did notcomplete them. Eyre (1992) stated during the Family Management132component of Home Economics 8, students were "expected to sharetheir personal experiences in the classroom" (p. 135). Shereported some of the boys expressed a dislike toward thisapproach as "the activities were too private" (p. 135). Eyre(1992) noted none of the girls in her study appeared to object tothese expectations. Are most boys uncomfortable sharinginformation about their personal lives? Can expectations thatall students verbalize and communicate feelings and experiencesearlier in their schooling contribute to boys' becoming morecomfortable with personal and emotional communications?Female Orientation of Family Management CurriculumOne of the themes reccurring in this study from interviewswith boys was the belief that the curriculum, course materialsand class discussions were oriented toward the females in theclass. This female orientation was present in all classes, butwas more frequently reported in classes with a smallerenrollment of boys. Brad complained that discussions in SHB 12were one sided, and dominated by the girls. He felt resources,handouts and assignments were girl centered. Brad withdrew hisparticipation, after he made several unsuccessful attempts tochange this girl centered focus. Thomas (1990) in her study ofFamily Life Education in British Columbia reported that a femaleorientation existed in the six classrooms she observed.Although there were males present in five of133the six classrooms observed, the conversationand concerns of females predominated. Inobservations this was evident in student -teacher interaction and dialogue, in specificreferences to the female experience and insome instances of gender bias. (p. 222)Specific examples of female orientation found in this study,which were also mentioned in Thomas (1990) are: femalediscourse, the absence of a male voice, and the stereotyping ofboys.Female Discourse Brad objected to the length of class time spent doingassignments and class discussions on topics such as marriage andpregnancy. He felt these topics were one sided. He frequentlyfelt left out of class discussions: "Alot of times I found Icouldn't get into the conversation because they were talkingmostly about husbands and this and that". Thomas (1990) reportedin the classes she observed, discussions were often one sidedwith much of the content presented from the female point of view.Absence of a male voice In this study a number of boys reported they were reluctant134to express their opinions for fear of being "jumped on" or"chewed out". These boys believed the girls would not like themale point of view. Thomas (1990) also observed that boys weresometimes "uncomfortable and hesitant to engage in dialogue aboutthe male perspective" (p.225). She (1990) described how sheobserved a girl trying to encourage a boy in the class toexpress his point of view. The boy was reluctant, and respondedto the girl's efforts by saying "we'll just get killed if we sayanything." Thomas believed this lack of a male voice lead tomale stereotyping. What can the Family Management teacher do toencourage or incorporate the mens'/boys' viewpoint?Stereotyping of boys Examples of male stereotyping can be found in both thisstudy, and Thomas' (1990). Brad described how during classdiscussions girls frequently provided examples of theirboyfriend's behaviour, which then became generalized to all boys.Thomas (1990) reported girls made generalizing statements aboutboys' behaviour. Male stereotyping occurred in this study andThomas (1990) when teachers referred to the abuser in sexualassault as he and the victim as she. Filipe, Brendon, Lee andTrevor felt references such as this made all guys look bad. Cantopics such as sexual assault be presented from both a girls' andboys' point of view? How can teachers reduce the stereotyping ofboys and girls in Family Management courses and fosterappreciations of the diversity of girls and boys?135Relevancy of Family Management to Boys' Present andFuture Family Roles Fourteen of twenty-four boys saw Family Management asrelevant to their present lives. But, only four of fourteenboys said the course was relevant to their future lives. Theboys who saw it as relevant to their present lives, reportedthey hadn't thought about what their future family roles mightbe, and therefore they didn't know if Family Management would berelevant. Gaskell (1992) discovered from her interviews withyoung men, that many had not given much thought to their futureroles in families and these boys assumed their future roles wouldbe similar to the roles they saw played in their own families.Gaskell (1992) reports:It became apparent in the interviews that the youngmen had not spent a lot of time worrying about thedivision of family labour...their own householdsran along these lines, and they took these patternsfor granted. (p. 85)Eyre (1992) found that grade eight boys also held traditionalviewpoints. They believed their future wives would take care ofsuch things as "meal preparation and maintenance of clothing" (p.10). Perhaps the boys in this study have also taken the divisionof gender roles "for granted" and therefore assume their roles136will be the same as their fathers/step fathers. Eyre (1992)believes the power of daily living/experience is greater thanexperiences students have in the classroom. Gaskell (1992)suggested that boys don't spend as much time thinking abouttheir future roles, because they don't plan to take muchresponsibility for domestic tasks, which allows them to focus ontheir career. I asked boys in this study if they thought havingyoung children would affect their careers. Eleven out of twenty-four boys reported children would not affect their career, sixboys said they didn't know, and five boys reported children wouldaffect their career. A sample of boy's answers follows:Ray^No, because while you're at work, they are at homeJustin No, I probably wouldn't have that much time forthe kids.Lee^Probably not my own particular career. It mightaffect some people's career who are reallystruggling to get up there and they can't reallytake the time out from work to help raise a child,or if they do, expect to get the same position theywere in before.Adam^I don't think it would. I see more of it being theother way where your career might affect yourchildren and family.137Trevor It might, but hopefully you could work your jobaround it.Dane^There would be alot of stress, especially if bothparents were working. You would need alot oforganization to set things up, plan everything.Phil^Definitely. Sooner or later I want my own businessand a kid costs alot of money.Twenty-one boys in this study thought their wives wouldwork outside the home, and liked the idea because it meant therewould be extra money coming in. MacKie (1991) reported the ideaof a second pay cheque was welcomed by a number of boys. Thisviewpoint is different than the one expressed by the boys inGaskell's study. Boys in Gaskell (1992) reported they wouldlike their wives to stay home and take care of the house. Theseboys felt they were the major bread winner. Most boys at Aldilaand Ultra thought the idea of a wife working only in the homewas outdated.^However their attitudes changed if children wereborn. Sixteen boys believed mothers of preschool childrenshould stay home.Adam^I think it is important for the mom to stay homefor a few years with small children. I thinkthat is the role of a parent.138Filipe:^For awhile until they are at the school stage,it is good for the mother to stay home with thekids, better than a third party like ababysitter bringing up the kids in a daycare.Gaskell (1992) and Herzog and Bachman (1982) found similar sexrole attitudes regarding preschool children and working mothers.Gaskell (1992) reported boys' believed wives should stay homewith young children. Herzog and Bachman (1982) state:When thinking about being married with no childrenmost seniors (both male and female) consider itdesirable or acceptable for the wife to work half-timeor full-time outside the home. But if they imaginehaving one or more pre-school children, theirpreferences for outside work by the wife shiftsubstantially: the most frequently preferredalternative is that the wife not work at alloutside the home. (p. 5)Herzog and Bachman (1982) reported that boys dismissed the ideaof having the husband/father staying home and caring for thechildren while the wife worked. Only four of twenty four boysin this study considered the possibility of role reversal. Bradfelt if he and his wife reversed roles others would interpret itas if there was something wrong with him. Boys in Gaskell (1992)139said husbands/fathers who stayed home to look after theirchildren while their wife worked were "a little wierd" and"strange". Most boys at Ultra and Aldila did not view daycareor babysitters as alternatives. Only three of twenty-fourstudents mentioned daycare as a source of care for childrenwhile fathers and mothers worked.When boys in this study talked about their involvement inchild care, it was most often described as a helping role. Boys'descriptions of their involvement included playing games, sportsor coaching a team their child played on. None of the boysdescribed the role in terms of feeding, comforting, disciplining,or diapering their children. Lee was the only boy whorecognized that child care was not shared equally between theparents. Lee felt fathers should take a more active role:Males should, I don't know how they are goingto change but they should change themselves in away that they take more active participation intheir child upbringing as far a actually takingcare of the baby, changing it.Other boys in the study reported their careers would leavethem limited time to spend with their children. In these boys'opinion, the mother was the primary care giver. Losh andHesselbart (1987) report that fathers take a more active role inchild care as the child grows older. This seemed to be theattitude of many of the boys in this study.140Implications A number of questions arise from this study which haveimplications for Home Economics curriculum development, teachereducation, and future research directions.Implications for Home Economics Curriculum Development. Home Economics curriculum in British Columbia is currentlyunder revision. The proposed educational changes state that allstudents in the intermediate program (grades 4-10) will haveexperiences in Home Economics. For the first time, HomeEconomics will be a required component for both boys and girls.Curriculum developers and teachers should ask: How might thisnew Home Economics curricula address the perceptions, needs,interests and experiences of boys?Perceptions Boys' perceptions of Family Management and other HomeEconomics courses must be addressed, during curriculumdevelopment.^Boys' image of Home Economics will ultimatelyaffect how they act in the course, and their futureparticipation in other Home Economics courses in the graduationprogram where Home Economics is optional. If boys view Home141Economics courses as irrelevant, this will impact on theirperformance and behaviour in the classroom.In this study a common perception of boys emerging from theinterviews was that Home Economics courses were "boring, commonsense, and easy". Boys believed the skills taught in HomeEconomics could be learned from one's family, or as Hartmeetsaid "picked up by watching T.V.". Yet as Martin (1985) pointsout, statistics on family violence indicate that effectiveparenting, communication and interpersonal skills are not foundin many of today's families. She believes that the educationalsystem needs to incorporate these (reproductive processes) intothe curriculum. Good communication doesn't just happen in allfamilies, it must be modelled and practiced. Other reproductiveskills such as meal preparation and household maintenancerequire practice as well. Mark found himself having to learnfood preparation and clothing skills after his mother died. Hehad relied on her to perform these tasks for him. He pointedout that males should learn these skills because there may notalways be someone around to perform these for them. He statedsome boys will be in for a big shock when they move out on theirown. Mark questioned the perception that reproductive skillsare common sense, and don't need to be taught.A second perception boys verbalized in their interviews wasthat women/girls were better suited to look after youngpreschool children. Some boys rationalized "young childrenprefer to be with their mother rather than their father" andthat "small children need to be in their mother's care".142Daycare centres and babysitters were not suitable substitutionsfor mother's care. Boys' perceptions about child care were mostlikely drawn from their own experiences, as boys often talkedabout what happened in their families. In many boys' familieswomen performed child care tasks. This dominant ideology wasnot questioned. When alterations to this dominant ideology weresuggested, Filipe for example, thought perhaps boys could be ascompetent as girls in childcare, with training, but he couldn'tsee himself getting this training as he preferred to takeElectronic courses rather than Home Economics. For a moment,Brad visualized staying home looking after his young childrenwhile his wife worked. But he questioned the validity of thislife style for him because he was worried what others mightthink of this arrangement. What would others be saying? Wouldhis ruputation as a male be damaged?^Home Economicscurriculum must go beyond the teaching of domestic tasks to boysand address boys' role perceptions which develop from theireveryday experiences.Needs Filipe felt girls were better trained to look after youngchildren, but that with training boys could do the job as wellas girls. Does this mean that boys are deficient in some skillsthat girls possess? Do boys require compensatory education? Ifcompensatory education is required, what form(s) should it take?How does one decide which boys are deficient?143Interests The majority of boys who had participated in the Life Skillseight program reported enjoying their experiences in Foods andNutrition, but not Clothing and Textiles. The boys were notinterested in learning how to sew a seam, hem, or mend clothing.Phil reported he would find someone who could do this work forhim, or pay someone to do it for him.Boys stated they would like to see the economic side ofrunning a household included in the grade 12 course. Thisconcept was missing from the curriculum at both schools.Planning a marriage or a wedding was not something two of thethree boys enrolled in Family Management 12 were interested in.Can a curriculum that is developed by women meet the interests ofboys? Perhaps including men in the writing and development ofHome Economics can make the curriculum more interesting for boys.Experiences Four themes emerged from the interviews. Two of thesethemes impact on curriculum development. The first theme, narrowfocus of course content, was reported by two out of three boys.Brad felt the topics studied in Family Management 12 were toonarrow as they all fell under two categories, babies andmarriage. Cameron said the units dragged on too long. Both144boys would have liked to have seen many more topics covered inFamily Management 12. These boys reported the narrow focus ofthe class made them lose interest in the course. The teacher atthe high enrollment school recognized boys didn't like to spendas long on one activity as the girls. She reported teaching herblock A class which had 10 boys enrolled differently then herblock C class which had only one boy enrolled.The second theme identified by boys in the study was femaleorientation to course content, resources, handouts and coursematerials. Boys reported this orientation was unique to theFamily Management class. This orientation resulted in boysbeing uncomfortable during certain units. Would men teachersinvolved in the writing and development of Home Economicscurriculum reduce or balance the female orientation? If menand women worked together writing Home Economics curriculum,perhaps "handouts for the boys" as Filipe requested could be asolution. A men's/ boy's perspective or point of view couldalso be added to units on marriage, pregnancy, parenting, andfamily violence. Can a curriculum written by women only begender sensitive and gender balanced?Another question arising from this study which hasimplications for curriculum development is: In what ways mightcurriculum revision toward the year 2000 accommodate a re-valuing of the reproductive processes of schooling. Boys in thisstudy viewed preparing for one's future career more importantthan preparing for their future lives in the reproductiveprocesses. With the prospect of having all students having145experiences in Home Economics curriculum, how can young women andmen be convinced that preparing for one's future roles infamilies is as important as preparing for one's career. How canwe encourage a valuing of the work done in families, work whichhas traditionally been unrecognized and performed by women? Howcan Home Economics teachers work with parents to change thesubjects image? If parents were involved in Home Economicscurriculum development would their perceptions of the disciplinechange?I plications for Teacher EducationBoys' presence in Family Management, affected the classroomenvironment. When the ratio of boys to girls in the classincreased, so did boys' domination of the classroom. Boys alsorecognized their Family Management classroom was less "rowdy "than their other classes. The teacher at the high participationschool reported classroom teaching and management became morechallenging as the number of boys increased. In classes with ahigh enrollment of boys, a group of boys tended to dominate theclass. How might teacher education programs address the issueof boys' domination in the classroom? What strategies ortechniques can teachers use to ensure a balanced and comfortableclassroom for all students? How can teachers effectivelymonitor class discussions for equal participation? HomeEconomics programs are predominately taught by women and perhapsthis is a contributing factor to its low status as a school146subject. The image of Home Economics in boys' minds might beenhanced if more men were involved in teaching Home Economics.If men are involved in the teaching of Home Economics, then boysmay feel it is okay for them to take Home Economics classes andinvolvement in the reproductive processes of society may not beseen as a threat to ones male-ness. How can Home Economicsteacher education programs attract males into their programs?Lastly, boys interviewed reported their achievement waslower than girls. Boys stated they were less likely than girlsto hand in assignments or complete homework. Reasons given bythe boys for not turning in assignments were laziness or lack ofinterest in the assignment. How can teachers encourage boys toperform as well as the girls?Implications for Future ResearchWhen I first initiated this study, my goal was to findstrategies to increase boys' participation in Family Management.After completing the study, I recognize that boys' presence inFamily Management changes the nature of the class for girls.Perhaps Home Economics classes are unique for girls, and girlsenjoy being in a class predominately made up of other girls.Future Home Economics research might address these questions:Are there other courses in the school that offer girls similarexperiences? What are girls experiences in Family Management?How do the experiences of girls in low boy:girl ratio classescompare to the experiences of girls in a higher boy:girl ratio147class?This study only looked at boys' participation in FamilyManagement classes at two school sites in the province of B.C.Perhaps there is a need to replicate this kind of study in Foodsand Nutrition and Clothing and Textiles in another part of theprovince? Would boys' experiences in Home Economics or FamilyManagement be very different in a rural setting?Future research should look at the development of alternateteaching strategies. Eyre (1992) pointed out that teaching boysand girls the same did not result in gender equity. By treatingJustin (the physically disabled student at Ultra Secondary) thesame as able bodied students during the sexuality unit, theteacher failed to recognize that the experiences of disabledpeople may be different. We must develop teaching strategieswhich take into account individual differences, strategies whichare gender sensitive and gender balanced.148ReferencesBritish Columbia Department of Education (n.d.).of the sexes: Guidelines for educational_m Victoria: Author.British Columbia Ministry of Education (1978). School Department circular No.75. Victoria: Author.British Columbia Ministry of Education (1989). Report 2069 Course Enrollment Data. Victoria: Author.Bovy, Barbara (1985). A feminist perspective in higher education:Implications for Home Economics Education. Journal of Home Economics Education. 2A(2), 4-11.Davies I., Eynon, E., Geen, A., Hall, G., & Hurst, D. (1986).Textiles and art in the secondary school curriculum:Some issues of integration Journal of Art and DesignEducation, a, 239-252.DeZwart, Mary leah (1990). Home economics education in BritishColumbia 1903-1939. Unpublished master's thesis,University of British Columbia.DuBois, P.A., & Schubert, J.G. (1986). Do your school policiesprovide equal access to computers? Are you sure?Educational Leadership. Aa(16), 41-44.Evans, Terry (1988). A gender agenda: A sociological study ofteachers, parents and pupils in their primary schools. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.Eyre, Linda, (1991). Gender relations in the classroom. InJ. Gaskell & A. McLaren (Eds.), Women and education: A Canadian perspective (pp.193-219). Calgary: Detselig.Eyre, Linda, (1992). Gender equity: Coeducation revisited.In L. Peterat & E. Vaines (Eds.), Lives and plans: Signs fortransforming practice (pp.125-150). Peoria IL: Glencoe.Gaskell, James; McLaren, Arlene; Oberg, Antoinette & Eyre Linda(1993). The 1990 British Columbia Mathematics Assessment, Gender issues in student choices in Mathematics and Science.Victoria: B.C. Ministry of Education.Gaskell, Jane & McLaren, Arlene (Eds.) (1987). Women and education: A Canadian Perspecitve. Calgary: Detselig.Gaskell, Jane; McLaren, Arlene & Novogrodsky, Myra (1989). Claimingan education: Feminism and Canadian Schools. Toronto: OurSchool/ourselves Education foundation.Equal treatment aterials.149Gaskell, Jane & McLaren, Arlene (Eds.) (1991). Women and education(2nd. ed.). Calgary: Detselig.Gaskell, Jane (1992). Gender matters from school to work. Toronto:OISE Press.Geen, A. G. (1989). Equal opportunities in curriculum: The case ofhome economics. Gender & Education 1(2), 139-153.Harvey, Glen (1986, March). Finding reality among the myths:Why what you thought about sex equity in education isn't so.Phi Delta Kappan. L2(7), 509-515.Hayibor, Bernice (1990). Analysis of gender bias in home economicstextbooks. Unpublished master's thesis.Herzog, Regula & Bachman, Jerald (1982). Sex role attitudes amonghigh school seniors: Views about work and family roles.University of Michigan.Hyman J.B & Schaaf J..M (1981). Educational equity: Conceptual problems and prospects for theory. Washington D.C.:National Institute of Education.Press.MacKie, Marlene (1991). Gender relations in Canada: Furtherexplorations. Toronto: Butterworths.Malone, Mary (1989 August 26). Where the boy's aren't. The LondonFree Press. pp 3-5, 16.Martin, Jane, Roland (1969). The disciplines and the curriculum.Educational Philosophy and Theory,  1, 23-40.Martin, Jane, Roland (1981). The ideal of the educated person.Educational Theory, 2(2), 97-109.Martin, Jane, Roland (1985). Reclaiming a conversation: The ideal of the educated woman. New Haven: Yale University Press.Martin, Jane, Roland (1986). Bringing women into educationalthought. Educational Theory, 34(4), 341-353.Picone, Maureen (1982).  Assessment of the need for co-ed Clothingand Textile courses in British Columbia. Unpublished master'sthesis, University of Victoria.Pleshek, Phyllis, (1988). Using focus groups in educationalresearch. Unpublished master's paper, University of Minnesota.Sadker, Myra & Sadker, David (1982). Sex equity handbook forschools. New York: Longman.150Sadker, Myra & Sadker, David (1986). Sexism in the classroomsFrom grade school to graduate school. Phi Delta Kappan L2(7),512-515.Treault, Mary Kay (1986). The journey from male-defined to gender-balanced eduation. Theory into Practice, 2L(4), 227-233.Thomas, Jane (1986). Forces influencing home ecomomics curriculumchange in British Columbia secondary schools, (1912-1985). Unpublished master's thesis, University of British Columbia.Thomas, Jane (1990). Conceptions of curriculum and classroompractice: An ethnographic study of family life educationteachers. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University ofBritish Columbia.Thompson, Patricia, J. (1984). Home Economics: A knowledge systemnot a gender system. In P. J. Thompson (Ed.). Borne Edonomics teacher education: Knowledge, technology and family change (pp.317-341). Bloomington, IL: Bennett and McKnight.Thompson, Patricia, J. (1986a). Home Economics and the Hestian Mode.Illinois Teacher 29(3), 87-91.Thompson, Patricia, J. (1986b). Beyond gender equity. Theory intoPractice, 25, 276-283.Thompson, Patricia, J. (1988). Home economics and feminism: TheNestian synthesis. Charlottetown: Home Economics PublishingCollective.Weinekamp, H. (1987). Does unconscious behaviour of teachers causechemistry lessons to be unpopular with girls? International Journal of Science Education. 2(3), 281-286.Weiner, Gaby (1985). Equal opportunities, feminism and girls'education. In G. Weiner (Ed.) Just a bunch of girls: Feminist approaches to schooling. Philadelphia: Open University Press.Weiner, Gaby (1989). Feminism, equal opportunities andvocationalism: The changing context. In M. Bruchell & V.Millman (Eds.). Changing perspectives on gender: Newinitiatives in secondary education Philadelphia: OpenUniversity Press.Wilson, Susan (1985). Changing conceptions of practice in home economics education. Unpublished master's thesis, Universityof British columbia.Wolfe, Leslie (1986). O'Brave new curriculum: Feminism and thefuture of the liberal arts. Theory into Practice 25(4),284-289.151Appendix A.Teacher Consent FormDear Teacher:Part of the requirements for a masters degree at the Universityof B.C. is to undertake a research project and to write a thesis.To fulfill these requirements I am planning to conduct a studytitled "An Investigation of the Participation of Boys in FamilyManagement Courses". The purpose of this research is toinvestigate why boys' participate less in family managementcourses than girls.If you agree to participate in this research your involvementwill include(1)a 40 minute interview and(2)permitting me to observe you teaching twofamily management class.All information gathered in the study is for research purposesonly. Your identity and school setting will be keptconfidential. The information gathered will not be used to harmor misrepresent you.Should you agree to participate in this research project, youmay withdraw at any time, without any consequences.Your withdrawal from the study will in no way affect youremployment status.My university advisor for this project is Dr. Linda Peterat.She is a professor in the Math and Science Department in theFaculty of Education at UBC. If you have any questionsregarding this study, or your involvement, please feel free tocontact me at 590-1311, or Dr. Peterat at 822-4808.Sincerely,Ellen HallI have received and read a copy of the teacher consent form forthe research project titled "An Investigation of theParticipation of Boys' in Family Management Courses". I agree toparticipate in this study.Teacher signatureDate152Appendix B.Interview Protocol for Family Management Teachers 1. BiographyWhat university degrees do you hold?Any professional certificates, diplomas (e.g.certified Family Life Educator )Can you tell me about your professional preparation forteaching family management? (courses, workshops, Thesaconference etc.)How long have you been teaching Family Management?2. Teaching ExperiencesCan you tell me about your experiences teaching familymanagement? (types of students academic/non academic,male/female)Do you enjoy teaching family management? (why/why not)How well has the family management course been acceptedinto the school ? (funding, administrative/counsellorsupport, reactions of other departments)Can you tell me about the performance of males andfemales in family management? (tests, assignments,discussions, group work)3. Teacher perceptions of the value of family managementto their students.In what ways do you perceive family management to be ofvalue to the lives of girls and boys in your class (es)?What things would you like to see your students comeaway from family management with?What perceptions do you think your students have offamily management? (future value in their lives,easy credit, course for girls)Do your students perceive family management to be acourse which is equally important for males and females?Why do you think students enroll in family management?1534. Gender Equity issues in Family ManagementIs the enrollment ratio of female to male in familymanagement a concern to you?Have you implemented any strategies to increase theenrollment of males in family management? (changed thename, posters, displays, newsletter writeups)Has the Home Economics department addressed genderequity issues relating to males? (reviewed curriculum,resources, dominant female discourse)What reasons do you perceive boys have for not enrollingin family management?Can you think of any strategies for increasing theenrollment of males in family management?154Appendix CInterview Protocol for Students Interview questions for boys not taking Family Managementsections A, C, D, EInterview questions for boys taking Family Management sectionA,B,C,EA. Course Selection 1. Did you know that SHB falls under the Home Economicsumbrella?2. Which of the following Home Economics courses are youcurrently enrolled in or have previously taken?Life skills 8^ CafeteriaFoods and Nutrition 9/10, 11,12^Tourism 11,12Clothing and Textiles 9/10 11,12 Textiles Arts & CraftsFamily Studies 10/Family Mang 11/12Are there any other Home Economics courses you have takenthat I have not listed?3 Can you tell me about the Home Economics courses you havetaken? What did you like/ not like about them?4 How did you decide which courses to enroll in?What were your reasons for making the decision not toenroll in certain courses?Probe (eg. interesting/ uninteresting, relevant/irrelevant)What, in your opinion, makes a course interesting? relevant?5 Can you identify people who have influenced your courseselections? (eg. mother, father, siblings, peers,friends, counsellors, teachers, other relatives.Describe how each of these people has been influential. (Whathave they done or said about a particular course) toinfluence your selection or avoidance?6. Why have you not elected to take senior Home Economicsclasses?155B. Experiences in Family Management Courses 1. Why did you elect Family Management?2. Thinking back on this year in Family Management, what did youlike about the course?Probe (content, teachers, classroom activities, useful,relevant)3. What did you dislike about Family Management? (teacher, notuseful, irrelevant)Do you feel that your thoughts on this course are similar tothe thoughts of other students?Do you think there is any difference in the way boys or girlsfeel about the course?How could the Family Management class be made moreenjoyable? more relevant? (eg. methods of teaching,activities,content)4. How do the experiences you have had in other electivecourses compare with the experiences you have had inFamily Management?(a) Can you tell me about some positive experiencesyou have had in Family Management?(b) What negative experiences have you had?(c) What kinds of activities have you liked/dislikedin Family Management -large group discussions^guest speakersworksheets/readings projectsoral presentations film/videogroup work^ simulationsrole playsWhy do you like (name of activity) Why do you dislike(d) How would you rate your participation in familymanagement? (eg high/active, medium, low/passive) ?In what ways have you participated in the class?*offered opinion in discussions156*answered questions*asked questions*completed assigned work*active and a contributing member in group work(e) In what ways has your teacher encouraged or/discouraged participation ? (marks, positivecoments )(f) What is the level of participation of otherstudents in the class?(g) Is there any difference in the participation ofboys' or girls' in the class?(h) How would you describe the classroom environment(friendly, supportive, cooperative, competitive)Do you feel that girls would describe the classroomenvironment in the same way?(i) How do you feel being in a class that is mostlymade up of female students?5. What kind of mark are you receiving in familymanagement?In order to receive a good mark in Family Management, whatkinds of things are required?Is there any difference in the achievement of boys or girlsin Family Management?6. Do you think that Family Management is a course thatmale students and female students should take?Why? Why not?7. How relevant do you think the topics studied in FamilyManagement are to students' daily and future lives?8. Have you signed up to take Family Management 12 ?C. School Climate1. Does your school actively encourage/ discourage boys toenroll in Family Management courses? (posters, teacherssuggesting the course)1572. Why do you think there are so few boys taking FamilyManagement?3. Can you suggest things teacher could do to encourge boys toselect Family Management?QUESTIONS FOR BOYS NOT ENROLLED IN FAMILY MANAGEMENTD.  Perception of Family Management 1. What do you think people do/learn in Family Management?(topics)2. Do you think that Family Management is an importantclass for male students and female studentsto enroll in? Why?3. If you were designing a Family Management course, whatkinds of things would you include?4. Do you think the concepts taught in Family Managementare relevant to students daily lives now or in thefuture?5. What kind of images do Home Economics classes in your schoolhave?E. Future Plans 1. What do you see happening in your life five or ten yearsin the future?2. Do you think having children would affect your career?3. Imagine you are married and have one or more preschoolchildren. How would you feel about each of the following?a) husband works full time wife doesn't work outside the homeb) both work full time outside the homec) husband doesn't work outside the home, wife works fulltime outside the home158Appendix DStudent Consent FormDear Student:Part of the requirements for a masters degree at the Universityof B.C. is to undertake a research project and write a thesis.To fulfill these requirements I am proposing to conduct a studytitled "An Investigation of the Participation of Boys in FamilyManagement Courses". The purpose of this research is todetermine why boys participate less in family management coursesthan girls.If you agree to participate in this research your involvementwill consist of an interview, approximately 45 minutes in lengthduring school time.All information gathered in the study is for research purposesonly. Your identity and school setting will be keptconfidential. The information gathered will not be used to harmor misrepresent you.Should you agree to participate in this research project, youmay withdraw at any time, without any consequences.Your withdrawal from the study will in no way affect yourstanding in the course or other school subjects.My faculty advisor for this project is Dr. Linda Peterat. Sheis a professor in the Math and Science Department in the Facultyof Education at UBC. If you have any questions regarding thisstudy, or your involvement, please feel free to contact me at590-1311 or Dr. Peterat at 822-4808.Sincerely,Ellen HallI have received and read a copy of the teacher consent form forthe research project titled "An Investigation of theParticipation of Boys in Family Management Courses". I agree toparticipate in this study.Student signatureDate159Appendix E.Student Sample by Name^Low Enrollment^High EnrollmentSchool Ultra School AldilaBOYS ENROLLEDFamily Management 11^Steve^RavinderTyson RyanJustin TrevorThomasAdamBrendenFilipeMaoFamily Management 12^Cameron^BradLeeNON-ENROLLED BOYSGrade 11 boys Grant^MathewRaymond JamesGary GinoSteve HartmeetPhilDerekTotals^ 10^ 14160


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items