Typecasting the ideal woman: The dramatic shaping of students at an urban, all-girls' school
Schmidt, Pauline Skowron
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This ethnographic case study investigates the subtle infusion of drama and other art forms in a secondary English classroom at an urban, all-girls' high school. Focused on sociocognitive theory, theories associated with the arts in education, as well as gender studies, this study seeks to address the following questions: (1) How and why does a teacher infuse arts and process drama into a traditional English Language Arts curriculum? (2) What effect, if any, does this infusion of dramatic arts have on the literacy learning of these female students, with specific emphasis on social, emotional, and cognitive influences? Two eleventh grade classrooms were observed over the course of an academic school year, and interviews were conducted with the classroom teacher and eight focal students throughout that time period. Data include audio and video-taped observations, audio-taped interviews, as well as teacher and student-generated artifacts. The findings reveal a differentiated effect on the literacy learning of the focal students based on various personal issues and perceived gender-bias in the texts read for English class. Findings also displayed specific pedagogical choices made by the teacher and the way they shaped the interesting and controversial classroom conversation amidst a conservative and traditional school climate.