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Title: A paradigm paralysis? Boys and early literacy learning in three Maltese state schools
Authors: Bonello, Charmaine
Keywords: Schoolboys -- Malta
Boys -- Education -- Malta
Readiness for school -- Malta
Underachievers -- Education
Issue Date: 2019-06
Publisher: University of Malta. Faculty of Education
Citation: Bonello, C. (2019). A paradigm paralysis? Boys and early literacy learning in three Maltese state schools. Malta Review of Educational Research, 13(1), 79-107.
Abstract: Within the global context of concern about ‘boys’ underachievement’, this article highlights sections of my doctoral study where I investigated the reading and writing experiences of five- to six-year-old boys in three Maltese state schools. The purpose of this enquiry was not to solve the widely discussed phenomenon of ‘boys’ underachievement’ but rather to create new understandings related to the concepts of ‘boys’ underachievement’, ‘early literacy learning’ and ‘school readiness’ in a Maltese context through a mixed methods phenomenological research investigation. Young boys’ voices, several stakeholders’ perspectives and the lived experience of three groups of five- to six-year-old boys during schooled reading and writing practices were investigated through an online questionnaire, classroom observations, individual interviews, and focus groups. This article presents the core findings which suggest that the three main concepts explored were inclined to biased and constricted worldviews that resulted in the majority of the young boys experiencing undesirable reading and writing practices. Subsequently, the overall conclusion implies the risk of a ‘paradigm paralysis’ in the fields of gender, literacy, and early years education in the local context, and offers new conceptualisations towards an educational response.
Appears in Collections:MRER, Volume 13, Issue 1
MRER, Volume 13, Issue 1

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