Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Girls' social connections affect math learning

Date:
May 29, 2014
Source:
University of Illinois at Chicago
Summary:
Social connections among African American girls influence their participation and recognition in math class, according to a researcher who found that students who are more socially connected tend to enjoy more access to learning opportunities. Socially peripheral and isolated students had less support, but not all were equally affected. Those who valued social status often participated less, while those who were indifferent to social status participated more and worked alone by choice.

Social connections among African American girls influence their participation and recognition in math class, according to a University of Illinois at Chicago researcher who found that students who are more socially connected tend to enjoy more access to learning opportunities.

Maisie Gholson, a UIC doctoral student in curriculum and instruction, studied a third-grade classroom in a public school on Chicago's west side. Through observation, interviews, and her own participation in the class, she determined which girls formed the core of the dominant social group, which were peripheral, and which were isolated from it.

Gholson focused on the two girls who achieved most highly in mathematics: one who was positioned as a "model student" and was central to the dominant group, and one positioned as a "bully" who was isolated from it. Gholson found that their labels and positions followed them from playground to classroom.

"These tags or identities can shape children's access to recognition and learning opportunities. Shawna's identity as a bully, for example, eclipsed opportunities for her to be recognized as a competent mathematics student," Gholson said.

She noted that bullying is perceived differently when enacted by girls.

"The issue of gender is at play here," she said. "It is less socially acceptable for girls to display physical aggression; however, it is more acceptable for girls to engage in relational forms of aggression, like gossiping."

Students were allowed to sit where they wanted during class and in small study groups, leading the dominant group to sit together, encourage each other, and recognize each other's knowledge.

Socially peripheral and isolated students had less support, but not all were equally affected. Those who valued social status often participated less, while those who were indifferent to social status participated more and worked alone by choice.

Gholson cautions that the findings of one small-scale ethnographic study cannot be generalized to every elementary classroom.

"Children's informal social ties are a natural part of development," she said. "Less structured classes allow children to develop autonomy and responsibility for their learning. There are also risks, like children's social network rising in prominence and overtaking learning goals.

"The challenge in my mind is to cultivate an ethos within the school, at different grade levels, where children on their own volition create inclusive social groups focused on classroom learning."

Gholson earned a National Academy of Education fellowship for her analysis, "Smart Girls, Black Girls, Mean Girls, and Bullies: At the Intersection of Identities and the Mediating Role of Young Girls' Social Network in Mathematical Communities of Practice," published recently in the Journal of Education. She previously received a three-year fellowship in STEM education from the National Science Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Chicago. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Maisie Gholson. Smart Girls, Black Girls, Mean Girls, and Bullies: At the Intersection of Identities and the Mediating Role of Young Girls' Social Network in Mathematical Communities of Practice. Journal of Education, May 2014

Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Chicago. "Girls' social connections affect math learning." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140529181658.htm>.
University of Illinois at Chicago. (2014, May 29). Girls' social connections affect math learning. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140529181658.htm
University of Illinois at Chicago. "Girls' social connections affect math learning." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140529181658.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins