This research examines how perceptions of masculinity might influence boys’ engagement and performance in reading. It extends my MA dissertation research which explored how a deficit model of masculinity can be seen to shape boys’ attitudes to reading. A collaboration with County Durham’s education authority, this PhD will explore secondary school boys’ attitudes, but equally teachers’ understanding of gender, their practice and training experiences.
The partnership involves working with English teachers from Durham secondary schools alongside specialist literacy staff within the authority. Evolving understandings of masculinity – for teachers through bespoke training and pupils via an adjusted pedagogy – will produce an intervention to be evaluated through a comparative case study across the partnership schools. This intervention will attempt to generate an improved understanding of how a deficit model of masculinity affects boys’ gender identity and resultant attitudes to reading. Further, the partnership aims to compare parental practice, pedagogy and policy, identifying the various forces informing attitudes to gender, while potentially reframing teacher, parent and student understanding of masculinity.