Children's Fictional Narratives: Gender Differences In ...

Children's Fictional Narratives: Gender Differences In ...

CHILDRENS FICTIONAL NARRATIVES ACROSS THE SCHOOL YEARS Javanna Obregn Acknowledgements Dr. Gigliana Melzi Dr. Adina Schick The LFIP research team The Steinhardt Deans Grant for Undergraduate Research Constructivist Approach to Narratives Narratives are a discourse genre that represent real or imagined experiences in story form (Melzi & Caspe, 2008).

Individu al Society Precursor to academic or literate language 2008). (Bliss & McCabe, Storytelling is a medium used by children to: Reality demonstrate their knowledge about their social world. learn and understand their self within the larger cultural context.

Narrati ves Narrative Development Narratives develop in the context of conversations. Progression of narrative development: Scripts Personal Narrative s Fictional Narrative s 2 years 3-4 years 5-6 years

Fictional Narratives Fictional narratives are fantasy stories. Structurally, fictional narratives often include: A formal beginning Orienting information (i.e., setting, characters) Initiating events that are goal-oriented A problem or obstacle that needs to be solved A resolution to the problem A formal ending device Predominately studied in preschoolers. Focus on gender differences Gender Differences in Structure Boys Initiating events that are goaloriented A problem or obstacle A resolution to the problem A formal beginning and ending

Orienting information Cohesive plot Girls Gender Differences in Content Boys Girls Superheroes vs. Family life and Monsters, animals, Domestic life and Violence and chaos Royalty theme villains

and dinosaurs events activities Gender Stereotypes in Childhood Gender stereotypes are widely held beliefs or attitudes in regard to characteristics, roles, and abilities associated with biological sex. Children are especially influenced by gender stereotypes: Societys Gender Stereotype s Childrens Understand ing of

Gender Childrens Preferences and Behaviors During the early childhood years, children have an extremely rigid understanding of gender. Middle Childhood Gender Development increased masculinity decreased femininity The Present Study The aim of the present study was to investigate the fictional narratives told by boys and girls during the school-aged years (8-11years of age).

Two main questions guided the present study: What are the general features of childrens fictional narratives during the middle childhood years? Are there gender differences in the performance and content of fictional narratives? Participants Total of 20 children (10 boys, 10 girls). Between the ages of 8-11. Mgirls = 121.60 mos, SD = 13.07 Mboys = 114.50 mos, SD = 12.94 Native English-speaking. Parents had completed at least a high school degree. Mfathers = 15.32, SD = 2.75 Mmothers = 15.85, SD = 3.18 Procedure

Visited in their homes and asked to complete two questionnaires: demographic information. the childs reading, viewing, and oral storytelling practices. Children were asked to perform two tasks: Narrative Retelling Tell me two best made-up stories you have ever heard or told Book Sharing Share the story in this book with me Coding: Narrative Performance Narrative Performan ce

Conversatio nal Autonomy K = .90 (Melzi & Schick, Story Grammar Literate Language K = .88 K = .87 (Gillam & Gillam, Coding: Narrative Content Narrative Content

Character Conflict K = .88 K = .90 (Propp, 1968; Quiller-Couch, RQ1 : What are the general features of childrens fictional narratives during middle childhood? Structural Components Childrens 90% of theliterate children language receiveddiffers a perfect

across score of 4 context. on conversational autonomy. Book Sharing Story Grammar Literate Language t(19) = -2.49, p < 0.05 Narrative Retelling M (SD) Range M (SD) Range 11.85 (1.69)

8-15 12.23 (3.38) 5-18.50 11.15 (2.03)* 7-15 9.73 (3.27)* 3-13.50 Coding: Narrative Content Charact er Supplementa

ry Characters Hero Dispatche r Helper Donor Villain Princess Other (Propp, Little Red Rosie So once upon a time, there was a princess. And her name was Little Red Rosie. She loved baking cookies. But she had a twin sister and her

name was Little Red Evil Rosie. And the big sister was so mean and evil. So one day, the little sister baked cookies for the big sister, and the big sister, like, was really nice to the little sister. But she was, like, evil, like, to other people. So she ate the cookies in front of her and then went into her room and said, "thank you. So then when she went into her room, she locked the door. She had like a like captured wolf in her closet. And the wolf was like really nice, but she captured him. And she like didn't like their cookies, so she like stuffed them in his face and like kicked him out of the house. The little sister found out that she was so mean. And the big sister went to jail. That's all. Cynthia, Age 10 Little Red Rosie So once upon a time, there was a princess. And her name was Little Red Rosie. She loved baking cookies. But she had a twin sister and her name was Little Red Evil Rosie. And the big sister was so mean and evil. So one day, the little sister baked cookies for the big sister, and the big sister, like, was really nice to the little sister. But she was, like, evil, like, to other people. So she ate the cookies in front of her and then went into her room and said, "thank you. So then when she went into her room, she locked the door. She had like a like captured

wolf in her closet. And the wolf was like really nice, but she captured him. And she like didn't like their cookies, so she like stuffed them in his face and like kicked him out of the house. The little sister found out that she was so mean. And the big sister went to jail. That's all. Cynthia, Age 10 T o ta l o f C h a ra c te rs Narrative Retelling: Characters 2.5 2 1.5 1 0.5 0 Heroes Villains

Supplementary Characters The average character diversity score was 0.76 (SD = 0.22). Little Red Rosie So once upon a time, there was a princess. And her name was Little Red Rosie. She loved baking cookies. But she had a twin sister and her name was Little Red Evil Rosie. And the big sister was so mean and evil. So one day, the little sister baked cookies for the big sister, and the big sister, like, was really nice to the little sister. But she was, like, evil, like, to other people. So she ate the cookies in front of her and then went into her room and said, "thank you. So then when she went into her room, she locked the door. She had like a like captured wolf in her closet. And the wolf was like really nice, but she captured him. And she like didn't like their cookies, so she like stuffed them in his face and like kicked him out of the house. The little sister found out that she was so mean. And the big sister went to jail. That's all. Cynthia, Age 10 Little Red Rosie

So once upon a time, there was a princess. And her name was Little Red Rosie. She loved baking cookies. But she had a twin sister and her name was Little Red Evil Rosie. And the big sister was so mean and evil. So one day, the little sister baked cookies for the big sister, and the big sister, like, was really nice to the little sister. But she was, like, evil in, like, to other people. So she ate the cookies in front of her and then went into her room and said, "thank you. So then when she went into her room, she locked the door. She had like a like captured wolf in her closet. And the wolf was like really nice, but she captured him. And she like didn't like their cookies, so she like stuffed them in his face and like kicked him out of the house. The little sister found out that she was so mean. And the big sister went to jail. That's all. Cynthia, Age 10 T o ta l o f C h a r a c te r s Narrative Retelling: Characters 3.5 3

2.5 2 1.5 1 0.5 0 Characters Active Character Passive Characters Book Sharing: Character M(SD) Total Possible Hero 0.95 (0.22) 1

Villain 1.00 (0.00) 1 Supplementary Characters 1.50 (0.95) 3 Character Diversity 0.88 (0.25) 1 Character Totals 4.90 (0.97)

5 Active Characters 3.55 (1.05) 3 Passive Characters 1.53 (0.88) 2 Character Types Children made use of all the characters provided by the wordless picture books. Coding: Narrative Content Conflict

Characte r vs. Characte r Character vs. Self Characte r vs. Supernat ural Characte r vs. Destiny Characte r vs. Nature Characte r vs.

Society Characte r vs. Love Object (Propp, Little Red Rosie So once upon a time, there was a princess. And her name was Little Red Rosie. She loved baking cookies. But she had a twin sister and her name was Little Red Evil Rosie. And the big sister was so mean and evil. So one day, the little sister baked cookies for the big sister, and the big sister, like, was really nice to the little sister. But she was, like, evil in, like, to other people. So she ate the cookies in front of her and then went into her room and said, "thank you. So then when she went into her room, she locked the door. She had like a like captured wolf in her closet. And the wolf was like really nice, but she captured him. And she like didn't like their cookies, so she like stuffed them in his face and like kicked him out of the house. The little sister found out that she was so mean. And the big sister went to jail. That's all. Cynthia, Age

10 Narrative Retelling: Conflicts Other Conflict Types Character vs. Character Character vs. Supernatural T Prim... 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50%

60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Narrative Retelling: Conflicts The average conflict diversity score was 0.32 (SD = 0.11). 3.00% 5.00% 0 conflict s 35.00%

57.00% Book Sharing: Conflict Children made use of all the conflicts provided by the wordless picture books. M (SD) Total Possible 1.00 (0.00) 1 0.60 (0.50) 1 Conflict Diversity 0.22 (0.08)

0.29 Conflict Totals 1.60 (0.50) 2 Conflict Types Character vs. Character Character vs. Self RQ2 : Are there gender differences in the performance and content of fictional narratives? Structural Components Structurally, girls and boys stories were not significantly different.

Conversational Autonomy Story Grammar Literate Language Boys Girls (n = 10) (n =10) M (SD) 3.92 (0.18) M (SD) 3.90 (0.23) 11.63 (1.93) 12.57 (2.53)

9.37 (2.59) 11.10 (2.40) Character Totals and Diversity Boys and girls did not differ significantly in amount of characters included. Significant difference in character diversity, F(1, 17) = 5.10, p < .05, partial 2 = .24. Boys Girls (n =10) (n =10) Total Character M (SD) 3.20 (1.03)

M (SD) 3.35 (1.30) Active Characters 2.10 (0.94) 2.80 (1.03) Passive Characters 1.10 (0.52) 0.63 (0.20)* 0.55 (0.60) 0.87 (0.17)* Character Diversity Character Types Significant difference in character types; girls use more supplementary characters, F(1, 17) = 5.62,

p < 0.05, partial 2 = 0.25. Supplementary Characters Villain Hero G 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60%

70% 80% 90% 100% Conflicts No significant differences with regards to amount of conflicts included or conflict diversity. Boys and girls differed significantly in their use of conflict types; F(1, 17) = 5.87, p < .03, partial 2 = .26; F(1, 17) = 4.35, p < .05, partial 2 = .20. Other Conflict Types Character vs. Character Character vs. Supernatural

Girls 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%

Discussion Childrens stories during middle childhood are more sophisticated than those of early childhood, both structurally and in terms of content. Boys and girls did not differ significantly in narrative performance, possibly due to SES. However, there were gender differences in the use of characters and conflicts in the narrative retellings. These differences are similar to those in early childhood. Boys use of conflict might reflect the increase of masculinity during middle childhood. Girls use of character might reflect their greater sense of social connectedness. Conclusions and Future Directions Larger gender norms are reflected in the

narrative productions of children at this age. They are apparent in fictional retellings rather than in book sharing most likely because children have more control of the story. Thus, narrative retellings are an especially important context for allowing childrens creativity and individuality to emerge. Future research should continue to explore the ways in which societal gender norms are reflected in childrens discourse practices. Thank You!! Coding: Narrative Performance Conversati onal

Autonomy Charact er Setting Story Grammar Initiatin g Events Internal Respon se Literate Language Plan

Action/ Attemp ts Consequ ence (Gillam & Gillam, 2010) Coding: Narrative Performance Conversati onal Autonomy Coordinati ng Conjunctio n Subordinat ing Conjunctio ns

Story Grammar Mental/ Linguistic Verbs Literate Language Adverbs Elaborated Noun Phrases (Gillam & Gillam,

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