Gender Inequality in the Primary Classroom: Will Interactive Whiteboards Help?

Fay Smith, Frank Hardman, Steve Higgins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper sets out to investigate (i) gender differences in whole class classroom interaction with a sample of teachers who were not using interactive whiteboards (IWBs) in their lessons; and (ii) the short-term and longer term impact of IWB use upon gender differences in classroom interaction. The study focused upon teacher-student interaction at Key Stage 2 in the teaching of literacy and numeracy in English primary schools. As part of the National Literacy and Numeracy Strategies, IWBs have been made widely available as a pedagogic tool for promoting interactive whole class teaching. In order to investigate their impact, the project looked specifically at the interactive styles used by a national sample of primary teachers. Using a computerized observation schedule, 144 lessons were observed over a two-year period. The findings concur with other research which has found that boys dominate classroom interaction in terms of the frequency of certain discourse moves. The average length of each move did not vary significantly between boys and girls. Frequency dominance was disproportionately stronger in classes with a high percentage of boys in class, and was also stronger in lessons where whiteboards were used. Understanding how interaction varies in the classroom, and how new technology might affect this interaction, has important implications for teachers, researchers and future research priorities. (Contains 6 tables, 1 figure and 2 notes.) ABSTRACT AUTHORS: Author.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-469
Number of pages15
JournalGender and Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007

Bibliographical note

Database: ERIC

Record type: New.

Language: English

DataStar source field: Gender and Education, Jul 2007, vol. 19, no. 4, p. 455-469, pp. 15, 43 refs., ISSN: 0954-0253.

DataStar update date: 20090101

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