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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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

Abstract

This study examined boys' participation in Family Management. It looked at non-enrolled boys' perceptions of Family Management, enrolled boys' experiences in Family Management, and boys' beliefs about the relevance of Family Management to their present and future family lives. Data were collected from student interviews, teacher interviews, and classroom observations at two different sites. One site had a high participation rate for boys in Family Management while the other site had a low participation rate. The study found that boys' participation was less than girls' for a number of reasons. Boys' believed they would not use the information taught in Family Management in their future lives, 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 in Home Economics as basic, boring, and common sense. Many boys felt they could pick up these concepts by watching their parents. Thirdly, boys selected courses they believed would help them secure a future job or career. The most powerful influence on boys' decisions to participate in Family Management at the high participation school was a recommendation from friends and school staff. The reputation of Family Management in the school also has influenced enrollment decisions. Boys' experiences in Family Management were varied and were influenced by the gender compositon of the class. Boys reported that some of the topics were oriented toward girls and not relevant to themselves. The presence of boys in Family Management had an effect on the classroom environment, student teacher interaction, and the way the teacher taught the class. Questions arising from this study included: (1) What are the expressed viewpoints of boys concerning the purposes of their education? (2) How can teachers reduce the stereotyping of boys and girls in Family Management courses and foster appreciations of the diversity of girls and boys? (3) Has the enrollment of boys within Family Management contributed to gender inequity for the girls?

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