What's the Story with Gender and Writing?
A case study of pupils' attitudes towards, and experiences with writing in a secondary classroom

Ang Sing Leng Cynthia

English Language Honours AE, NIE, 2003


Research on gender and writing has been predominantly concerned with the differences in pupils' textual productions. Pupils' attitudes towards, and experiences with writing have been largely unexplored and a discussion of the influences of the home and school on shaping pupils' attitudes is noticeably absent. This study thus attempts to fill these gaps by investigating and analysing the differences girls and boys in a Singapore Secondary 2 classroom report in their attitudes towards, and experiences with writing, and how the social practices in their homes and schools shape their attitudes. The methodology employed involved two sources of data collection to aid credibility and validity: a questionnaire survey on the writing attitudes, experiences and interests of the pupils and two mixed-gender focus group interviews to explore the survey's findings in greater detail. The findings revealed girls' and boys' marked differences in their self-perceptions as writers, notion of good writing, favourite text types, out-of-school writing and narrative interests, and how they draw upon their narrative interests for school writing. For instance, the girls were reportedly more confident in their writing abilities and more positive towards writing both in- and out-of-school. The findings further indicate that the home and school play vital roles in shaping pupils' attitudes and suggest that the school writing teacher has to expose her pupils to a variety of text types as required by the new 2001 syllabus, and beyond that make reading and writing them meaningful for the pupils. In addition, special efforts are needed to increase pupils' interest and involvement in factual writing, girlsĄŻ interest in argumentative writing, as well as boys' interest to write in school and their willingness to write out of school.