Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy in Education
This dissertation is a qualitative study of an all-girls’ advisory in a coeducational, urban middle school located in a mid-sized city in the northeast. The advisory group met daily over the course of the 2010-2011 academic year. Drawing from data collected over one year of fieldwork--including participant observation, analysis of discourse, dynamic interviews, and the analysis of social constructs --this study explores how a group of mostly African American and Latina students created a caring community in order to increase their academic and social success.
Each chapter of the dissertation examines the challenges and obstacles the girls in the advisory group faced in their daily lives, and how they worked together to overcome them. I begin by exploring the social constructs of gender, race, and class that are prevalent to the girls within the advisory group. I then explore the importance of building an effective and authentic advisory program to create a community grounded in care as well as my role as the advisor of this community. Here, I also explore how the girls in the advisory group began to negotiate their understanding of academic "success", namely how the girls grew to use their voices and advocate for themselves and others in order to achieve greater academic success. Furthermore, I discuss why accountability to the teacher and the group led to academic and social growth for the girls in the advisory.
I argue throughout the dissertation that an all-girls advisory provides the caring environment that enabled the girls to experience greater academic success. This study offers a perspective on how an all-girls advisory group empowers the girls within the group while providing them with the tools necessary to negotiate their daily lives. I also argue that the teacher student relationship is essential to the success of the advisory group and directly linked to the girls’ academic and social growth.
Bledsoe, Carey Delauder, "Girl Talk: Analyzing Discourse Among Urban Middle School Girls" (2013). Open Access Dissertations. Paper 123.