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Browsing by Author "Poikela, Teresa"

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  • Poikela, Teresa (2020)
    The subject for this Master’s thesis is to study how gender is produced in opinion pieces that deal with PISA results for boys and girls. The opinion pieces compared PISA results for boys and girls and from these comparisons various conclusions were drawn on differences between girls and boys in relation to schooling. In this thesis, gender is understood as socially, contextually and culturally constructive. The following research questions were set: 1) What kind of gender discourses are being produced in opinion pieces that deal with PISA results? 2) How do these discourses define gender? Social constructionism, discourse analysis and feminist theory’s critical perspective towards gender guided the analysis of the research material. The research materials used were the opinion pieces which dealt with girls’ and boys’ PISA results, school achievements and schooling, published in Aamulehti and Helsingin Sanomat between 2010-2017. From the research material nine (9) gender discourses were formed. The discourses were named as: worry discourse, boys’ impaired proficiency discourse, threatening future discourse, gender struggle in school discourse, need for gender identification opportunities discourse, the achievers and school favourites discourse, far from school discourse, permitted boyhood discourse, and gendered practises and frameworks discourse. Worry for the boys was central in discussions. Constructing and maintaining polarity and differentiation was a central way of producing gender. Gender was defined as dichotomic, hierarchic and framed by internal unity and, thus, by divergence between the girl and boy groups. In relation to schooling, boys were described as distant, uninterested and unappreciative. It was emphasised in the discussion that pedagogy should be changed to better fit boys’ needs. Girls, on the other hand, were described as successful and having a positive attitude towards their education. In addition to the gender perspective in regard to discussing school achievements and schooling of boys and girls, it would be beneficial to pay attention to other gender-related factors, such as immigrant background and social class, and their importance to school achievements and schooling.