Publication Date

12-2013

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Elizabeth Winkler (Director), Alex Poole, Sandra Hughes

Degree Program

Department of English

Degree Type

Master of Arts

Abstract

Gender interacts with other facets of English Language Learners’ social identity like race and ethnicity to guide their learning experiences, desires, and outcomes; however, much of traditional Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) research has focused on how motivation and language learning beliefs differ between male and female English as a Second Language/English as a Foreign Language (ESL/EFL) students with the intent to identify difference, if it exists. English Language Learners who are studying abroad or who have immigrated to the United States have already established a gender identity influenced and created by their experiences in their first language and culture. Yet, immersion in a new culture and acquiring a second language may cause these students to re-evaluate their perceptions of gender roles and influence their choice of language, as previously found by Gordon (2004) and Schmenk (2004). This thesis attempts to break from this tradition of ‘differential tendencies’ research in the creation of two pilot surveys, one of which was tested, that attempt to solicit information on English Language Learner’s perceptions of their own gendered identity and their consciousness of the catalyst for identity change that is learning a second language. In this case, an English pilot survey asked 32 ESL students to evaluate their beliefs about their own perceptions of gender identity, their conscious choice of language utilization, and their perception of their inclusion in American culture; from that survey, a second has been created but not piloted. A conclusion is drawn that incorporates research about the appropriateness of addressing developing gender identity by teachers inside of the classroom.

Disciplines

Communication | English Language and Literature | Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | International and Intercultural Communication | Reading and Language