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Boys and Foreign Language Learning

Real Boys Don't Do Languages

Boys and Foreign Language Learning by Jo Carr
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How do boys from the major English-dominant communities of the world explain their apparent lack of interest in the foreign languages option? Is this a 'curriculum misalignment' issue? A reaction to language teaching approaches? Tension between performed masculinities and language practice?

This book explores the boys-languages relationship as explained by boys themselves. Based on data collected from more than 200 boys in different secondary schools, it identifies key dimensions of this unsuccessful relationship: dominant discourses of masculinity, with an emphasis on 'doing' and nervousness around the girl-associated activity of 'talk'; issues of pedagogy, curriculum and communicative practice; the perceived relevance, interest and effectiveness of language programs in terms of boys' social worlds. Supporting data collected from teachers and from girls who share classrooms with boys confirm the power of normative narratives about what boys/girls are 'good' at; and help to explain the continuingly skewed gender profile of language classrooms.
Palgrave Macmillan; November 2005
241 pages; ISBN 9780230501652
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Title: Boys and Foreign Language Learning
Author: Jo Carr; Anne Pauwels
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