The Adults Talk Too Much : Interviews With Low-Income Urban Middle School Girls
Farris-Vermeer, Heather K.
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The focus of this study is to examine the social and academic experiences of low-income girls in an urban middle school, and to understand, from the girls' perspectives, how to improve urban education for their benefit. Study participants included seven girls who were interviewed three times toward the end of their eighth grade year. In addition to interviews, the girls also provided written artifacts that they believed described them as people and students. After the researcher extracted and coded themes from what the girls said about their experiences, member checking was completed. The results of the study were written as seven separate case studies. Additionally, the themes that arose from the study were explored and discussed. This study found that, while the girls generally enjoyed middle school more than they expected to, they had suggestions for improving the middle school experience. The most salient theme to arise from the study was that the girls felt that teachers and educators talk too much and seldom listen. Recommendations for educators include the following: provide school day time for students to discuss race and gender issues; find ways to make school more personal for students; listen to what girls have to say; and talk less.
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