Girl Talk: A Qualitative Study of Girls Talking About The Meaning of Their Lives in an Urban Single Sex Elementary School

Sheila Hughes, Carolyn S. Ridenour

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The suburban–urban achievement gap (diminishing until the 1980s) has stopped its narrowing trend, and single-sex schools are proliferating as a reform model, especially in urban areas. In this study researchers interviewed eight elementary school girls (in an all-girls school) three times over 2 years, and the resulting 23 transcripts were analyzed with focused and axial coding. Themes were constructed from these girls' meaning-making, including the challenge of gender stereotypes, an enthusiasm about math, a vision of unlimited futures, a sense of justice and personal ethics in relationships, presence of uncertainties in their lives, their reflections on the “good” teacher, and the strong influence of family belonging. The authors draw implications from the meanings these girls make of their lived experiences to teachers' understanding and classroom practice; and they also connect the themes to contemporary culture, including the field of girls' studies.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalThe Teacher Educator
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Education

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