Date of Award

May 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


African American Studies


Linda E. Carty


boys, co-ed, girls, grade 10, Jamaican schools, learning

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


Girls’ and boys’ learning has been socially constructed through capitalism, which is replicated in patriarchy, and connoted with recognized physical learned behaviors that have been perpetuated in Jamaica’s culture throughout generations. Employing historical materialism and black feminist theories, this study assumes that the socio-economic and political structure of colonialism to present neocolonialism has been inherently biased towards men while negating women, and had instituted classifications that have characterized girls and boys as different. The perception that differences exist is described through an ethnographic micro case study analysis that examined grade 10 girls and boys at a specific coed high school in Kingston, Jamaica from May – August 2015. This served as a microcosm of Jamaica’s general society.

Data were gathered using participant observation and semi-structured interviews with 22 teachers, 10 females, and 12 males in different subject disciplines and were analyzed through descriptive coding of major codes: expectation, interests and participation and sub-codes. The analysis explains that there are no differences in the ways that boys and girls learn. The notion that differences exist arose from the social structures embedded in the country’s history that have implicated the formal education system through set curricula in which teachers themselves were trained to accept and have internalized. The teachers’ accommodation and attitude toward the ways 10th-grade girls and boys learn result from how they were socialized. I adhere to the reality that girls experience difficulty in learning like boys, and with more struggles that often get dismissed and ignored.


Open Access