Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

Dissertation Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education Policy, Planning, and Administration

Committee Chairperson

David Backer, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kathleen Riley, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jeremy Isaac, M.F.A.


Research over the past few decades has shown that educating boys about gender and male privilege, especially in the context of single-sex schools, can be a daunting challenge (Martino & Berrill, 2003; Burke, 2011; Heinrich, 2013). This qualitative study examines my efforts to implement critical literacy and feminist pedagogy with male students in an all-boys school while teaching a unit on The Scarlet Letter (1850) by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The goal of the unit was for the boys to understand the novel’s critiques of gender inequality, and apply that understanding to contemporary situations.This study utilized a practitioner inquiry approach to examine the effectiveness of my own practice. I documented my use of critical literacy pedagogical activities and my students’ oral and written responses to these activities, in order to determine how male students responded to the novel in ways that either confirmed or challenged gender stereotypes. I also examined to what extent I, as a feminist pedagogue, could get them to break out of those stereotypes and gain a broader understanding of gender inequality in contemporary society. The results of the study are mixed in terms of success: although students’ responses largely confirmed masculine stereotypes and did not shift as significantly as I had hoped they would over the course of the unit, it is clear that the critical literacy and feminist pedagogical techniques implemented throughout were crucial for students to develop at least a partial understanding of gender inequality and the beginning stages of critical consciousness.