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Jane Bradford

Unpacking a can of worms: exploring young children's development of gender attributes and responses to stereotypes through the medium of stories

Welcome to my educational research eportfolio

My research aims to investigate how children's stories help shape growing children's gender identities.
I will be using mainly fairy tales, both traditional and contemporary, to explore how the behavioural and moral messages within them has shifted and the implications this has on the gender role models they provide for children. I will compare children's reader responsiveness to the use of formulaic picture books, for example Two Homes by Claire Masurel, which are shared to develop children's emotional awareness and relationship values. My research will consider how gaps and discontinuties within story, participation and spectatorship can establish a critical and reflective position to reading and how these can be developed.

To enable the growth of broader children’s identities, the following areas within the reading process will be examined:
(i) Teacher’s and parent’s attitudes (social inter-generational meaning and understanding of gender)
(ii) Stories and approaches (pauses for thought and different possibilities)
(iii) Gender role model images (bridging the gap between lived and told story lines)
(iv) Neutral ideological messages (towards agency, freedom, choice, subversion and mobility)
(v) Emotional language and discourse (encouragement of the expression of individual feelings and respect for those of others)

For a more detailed outline of my research please visit the 'My Research' page.


Jane Beaven

Jane Bradford

Warwick Institute of Education

University of Warwick

Dr Elizabeth Coates
Dr Hilary Minns