Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Mauritius: International Students' Perceptions of Gender in an IEP Classroom
by Berrie, Alexandra Barrett, M.A., California State University, Los Angeles, 2017, 107; 10681694
Abstract (Summary)

This study examines the role of gender and its relationship to communication. It is motivated by two research questions: first, how do adult international students in an intensive English program (IEP) at a public university in Southern California perceive the impact of gender on communicative patterns? Second, in discussing gender, do these students depict gender as a binary, a spectrum, or something else? Previous scholarship has theorized that gender is a performative process wherein individuals, by adopting traits such as gait, vocal range, style of dress, and so on, call upon a cultural code that marks them along a continuum from masculine to feminine. Individuals construct their genders dialectically through their gender performances and other people's reactions to them. Furthermore, gender, as a crucial component of identity, plays a major role in learning. This research addresses two major gaps in the literature by examining how international students perceive gender and how they identify their own gender. Data are derived using qualitative methods, including an open-ended questionnaire and semi-structured interviews. The findings from the research illustrate that the binary gender categories of male and female are salient to the international students investigated, and that many identify their own gender as within a binary. Moreover, the students overwhelmingly depicted women as more talkative than men, and some findings suggested that women's speech is regarded as less valuable than men's. In addition, some students appeared sympathetic toward members of nonbinary genders, while others denied their existence. Pedagogical implications are discussed.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kamhi-Stein, Lía D.
Commitee: Hardacre, Bahiyyih L., Mattheis, Allison, Snow, Marguerite A.
School: California State University, Los Angeles
Department: Applied and Advanced Studies in Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 57/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: English as a Second Language, Gender studies, Higher education
Keywords: ESL, Gender, IEP, International students, Performativity, TESOL
Publication Number: 10681694
ISBN: 9780355533347
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