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Teachers' perceptions of gender and academic achievement

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Толық мәтін

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among teachers in single-gender schools in Kazakhstan

Shakhrizada Kalilayeva

Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science

in Educational Leadership

Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Education June, 2020

Word count: 21 169 words

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AUTHOR AGREEMENT

By signing and submitting this license, I, Shakhrizada Kalilayeva grant to Nazarbayev University (NU) the non-exclusive right to reproduce, convert (as defined below), and/or distribute my submission (including the abstract) worldwide in print and electronic format and in any medium, including but not limited to audio or video.

I agree that NU may, without changing the content, convert the submission to any medium or format for the purpose of preservation.

I also agree that NU may keep more than one copy of this submission for purposes of security, back-up and preservation.

I confirm that the submission is my original work, and that I have the right to grant the rights contained in this license. I also confirm that my submission does not, to the best of my knowledge, infringe upon anyone's copyright.

If the submission contains material for which I do not hold copyright, I confirm that I have obtained the unrestricted permission of the copyright owner to grant NU the rights required by this license, and that such third-party owned material is clearly identified and

acknowledged within the text or content of the submission.

IF THE SUBMISSION IS BASED UPON WORK THAT HAS BEEN SPONSORED OR SUPPORTED BY AN AGENCY OR ORGANIZATION OTHER THAN NU, I CONFIRM THAT I HAVE FULFILLED ANY RIGHT OF REVIEW OR OTHER OBLIGATIONS REQUIRED BY SUCH CONTRACT OR AGREEMENT.

NU will clearly identify my name(s) as the author(s) or owner(s) of the submission, and will not make any alteration, other than as allowed by this license, to your submission.

I hereby accept the terms of the above Author Agreement.

Author’s signature:

Date: 26/06/2020

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Declaration

I hereby declare that this submission is my own work and to the best of my knowledge it contains no materials previously published or written by another person, or substantial proportions of material which have been submitted for the award of any other course degree at NU or any other educational institution, except where due acknowledgement is made in the thesis. This thesis is the result of my own independent work, except where otherwise stated, and the views expressed here are my own.

Signed: Shakhrizada Kalilayeva Date: June 26, 2020

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NUGSE RESEARCH APPROVAL DECISION LETTER

Dear Shakhrizada,

The NUGSE Research Committee reviewed your study proposal and decided:

☐ To grant approval for this study

Approval: This approval is effective for the life of the study. However, any time you change any aspect of your project (e.g., recruitment process, administering materials, collecting data, gaining consent, and changing participants) you will need to submit a request for

modification to the NUGSE Research Committee.

Sincerely,

NUGSE Research Committee 4 February, 2019

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CITI Training Certificates

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Acknowledgments

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my research supervisor Professor Somerton, who was extremely helpful and supportive, provided constant guidance on my achievements and encouraged me all the time during my thesis inquiry. I would also like to thank the GSE faculty staff for providing academic and social encouragement throughout this program. I am also thankful to Professor Sciala for supporting us with academic writing and giving us lots of useful suggestions. I would also like to thank all participants for their participation and implication for the present study.

I would also like to acknowledge the great support of my family and friends for encouraging me and believing in me. Finally, I am sincerely grateful to my spouse Maralbek Zeinullin and my daughter Aisha Marat for their endless support, patience and

encouragement.

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Abstract

Single-gender education is considered to have a positive impact on student achievement and is an alternative form of education to co-educational settings. In Kazakhstan, single-gender education is well established with schools such as “Bilim-Innovation” lyceums and provides full engagement of both genders in all curriculum subjects. However, for some time, the research has attempted to address common myths concerning gender-related stereotypes and the academic achievement of boys and girls in certain subjects. These common myths still persist today and may influence the practices of teachers and how they perceive the academic potential of their students. The present study examined attitudes of ten single-gender school teachers in Kazakhstan towards single-gender education and their beliefs about how they feel gender may affect students’ academic achievements in single-gender schools. The present study collected qualitative data from the semi-structured interviews with ten teachers from two single-gender schools in Kazakhstan. The findings indicate that the participants believe that single-gender education has a positive influence on student learning over co-educational school settings. The ten teachers from single-gender schools believe that the gender of the teacher affects student achievement, hence female and male teachers have a different impact on students. Furthermore, the present study is particularly relevant for teachers,

administrators and researchers by providing insight into the attitudes and beliefs of teachers in single-gender schools in Kazakhstan.

Keywords: single-gender education, single-sex schools, single-gender schools, teachers, stereotypes, academic achievement.

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Аңдатпа

Бірыңғай гендерлік білім беру оқушылардың оқу үлгеріміне оң әсер етіп, жалпылай орта білім берудің балама оқыту түрі болып табылады. Қазақстанда бірыңғай гендерлік білім беру “Білім-Инновация” лицейлері сияқты мектептермен жақсы жолға қойылған және оқу жоспарының барлық пәндеріне екі жыныстың да қатысуын қамтамасыз етеді.

Алайда, біраз уақыттан бері зерттеу жұмыстары гендерлік стереотиптер мен ұлдар мен қыздардың академиялық жетістіктері туралы мифтерді шешуге тырысты. Бұл жалпы мифтер әлі күнге дейін сақталған және мұғалімдердің іс-тәжірибелеріне және олардың оқушылардың академиялық озаттығын қалай қабылдауына әсер етуі мүмкін. Осы зерттеуде Қазақстандағы он бірыңғай гендерлік мектеп мұғалімдерінің бірыңғай гендерлік білімге қарсы көзқарасы мен сезімі, оқушылардың оқу жетістіктеріне әсер етуі туралы сенімдері зерттелген. Бұл зерттеуде Қазақстандағы екі бірыңғай гендерлік мектептердің он мұғалімімен жартылай құрылымдалған сұхбаттардан сапалы деректер жиналды. Зерттеу нәтижелері қатысушылардың бірыңғай гендерлік білім беру

оқушылардың оқу үлгеріміне оң әсерін тигізеді деп санайды. Бірыңғай гендерлік мектептердің он мұғалімі, мұғалімнің жынысы оқушылардың үлгеріміне әсер етеді деп түйіндейді. Сонымен бірге, бұл зерттеу мұғалімдерге, мектеп меңгерушілеріне және зерттеушілерге, әсіресе Қазақстандағы бірыңғай гендерлік мектептердегі

мұғалімдердің көзқарастары мен сенімдері туралы түсінік беру арқылы өте маңызды болып табылады.

Түйін сөздер: бірыңғай гендерлік білім беру, бірыңғай гендерлік мектептер, мұғалімдер, стереотиптер, оқу жетістіктері.

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Аннотация

Считается, что раздельное обучение оказывает положительное влияние на успеваемость учащихся и является альтернативной формой обучения обычным школам. В Республике Казахстан данный вид обучения хорошо зарекомендовал себя благодаря таким школам, как "Білім-Инновация" лицеи, где осуществляется раздельное обучение мальчиков и девочек. В течении некоторого времени, было проведено немало исследований, целью которых было развеять самые распространенные мифы,

касающиеся гендерных стереотипов и академических достижений мальчиков и девочек по определенным предметам. Данные шаблоны, все еще существуют и могут влиять как на практику учителей, так и на то, как они воспринимают академический

потенциал своих учеников. В настоящем исследовании изучалось отношение учителей из школ с раздельным обучением, к данному виду обучения, и их субъективная оценка тому, как гендерные особенности могут влиять на успеваемость. В исследовании собраны качественные данные полуструктурированных опросов с десятью учителями из двух школ с раздельным образованием, по результатам которых, было заключено, что респонденты согласны с тем, что раздельное обучение положительно влияет на успеваемость. Также все респонденты считают, что пол учителя играет важную роль и учителя-женщины и мужчины по-разному влияют на успеваемость учащихся. Кроме того, настоящее исследование особенно актуально для учителей, администраторов и исследователей, поскольку дает представление о позиции и убеждениях учителей в данных школах.

Ключевые слова: раздельное обучение, школы с раздельным обучением, учителя, стереотипы, академическая успеваемость.

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Table of Contents

Abstract ... vii

List of Tables ...xiii

Chapter 1: Introduction ... 1

1.1 Introduction ... 1

1.2 Background of the Study ... 3

1.2.1 Education system in Kazakhstan. ... 3

1.2.1 Single-gender schools in Kazakhstan. ... 4

1.2.3 Teachers’ beliefs and gender. ... 6

1.3 Statement of the Problem ... 7

1.4 Purpose of the Study ... 8

1.5 Theoretical Framework ... 9

1.6 Research Questions ... 10

1.7 Overview of Methodology ... 11

1.8 Significance of the Study ... 11

1.9 Definition of Variables ... 12

1.10 Thesis Outline ... 13

Chapter 2: Literature Review ... 15

2.1 Introduction ... 15

2.2 Gender Theories in Education ... 15

2.3 Single-Gender Education ... 17

2.4 Single-Gender Schools and Classrooms ... 19

2.5 Teachers’ Beliefs and Attitudes Towards Gender ... 21

2.5.1 Teacher gender influences student achievement. ... 23

2.6 Summary ... 25

Chapter 3: Methodology ... 26

3.1 Introduction ... 26

3.2 Research Design ... 26

3.3 Research Site ... 27

3.4 Participants ... 28

3.5 Instrument ... 30

3.6 Data Collection ... 30

3.7 Data Analysis ... 31

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3.8 Ethical Considerations ... 32

3.9 Risks and Benefits ... 33

3.10 Summary ... 33

Chapter 4: Findings ... 35

4.1 Introduction ... 35

4.2 Results Pertaining to RQ1: What are the attitudes of teachers in single-gender schools in Kazakhstan towards single-gender education? ... 35

4.2.1 Benefits and opportunities for students in single-gender schools... 38

4.2.2 Challenges of single-gender education for students. ... 40

4.3 Results Pertaining to RQ2: Do teachers in single-gender schools in Kazakhstan believe there are differences in academic achievements between girls and boys? ... 41

4.3.1 Gender differences in academic achievement. ... 42

4.3.2 Gender stereotypes from teachers’ perspective. ... 43

4.3.3 Factors that influence student achievement in single-gender schools. ... 47

4.4 Results Pertaining to RQ3: What factors have shaped teachers’ beliefs and attitudes towards single-gender education? ... 51

4.4.1 Teachers’ reflections on how they feel their own gender influences learning. ... 52

4.4.2 Teacher gender influences student achievement. ... 55

4.4.3 Challenges concerning teacher gender. ... 58

4.5 Summary ... 59

Chapter 5: Discussion ... 61

5.1 Introduction ... 61

5.2 Discussion Pertaining to RQ1 ... 62

5.2.1 Finding 1. Participants believe that single-gender education has a positive impact on student achievement in single-gender schools. ... 62

5.2.2 Finding 2. Single-gender education allows students to concentrate on academics, avoiding social distractions. ... 63

5.2.3 Finding 3. Benefits, opportunities and challenges of single-gender education for students in single-gender schools in Kazakhstan. ... 64

5.3 Discussion Pertaining to RQ2 ... 66

5.3.1 Finding 4. Participants believe that male and female students have their own gender- related peculiarities and differences that influence their academic performance. ... 66

5.3.2 Finding 5. Gender-based stereotypes are just common beliefs, intellectually boys and girls can have equal advantages in academic achievement. ... 67

5.3.3 Finding 6. The factors that teachers believe have an impact on student achievement, in single-gender schools. ... 68

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5.4 Discussion Pertaining to RQ3 ... 70

5.4.1 Finding 7. Teacher gender and teaching experience shape their beliefs and attitudes towards single-gender-education. ... 70

5.4.2 Finding 8. Teachers believe that female and male teachers have different impacts on students’ academic achievement. ... 71

5.5 Summary ... 72

Chapter 6: Conclusions and Recommendations ... 74

6.1 Introduction ... 74

6.2 Revisiting the Research Questions ... 74

6.2.1 What are the attitudes of teachers in single-gender schools in Kazakhstan towards single-gender education? ... 74

6.2.2 Do teachers in single-gender schools in Kazakhstan believe there are differences in academic achievements between girls and boys? ... 76

6.2.3 What factors have shaped teachers’ beliefs and attitudes towards single-gender education? ... 77

6.3 Recommendations ... 78

6.3.1 Recommendations for teachers and administrators in single-gender schools. ... 79

6.3.2 Recommendations for further research. ... 80

References ... 82

Appendices ... 88

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List of Tables

Table 1. Participants’ Profiles ... 29 Table 2. The Distribution of the Major Findings by Research Question ... 61

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Chapter One: Introduction

1.1 Introduction

Gender is considered to be a social phenomenon and a social construct, as

distinguished from sex that is biologically determined (Momsen 1991; Mbilinyi 1992); it includes concepts such as power, equality of labour, and domination (as cited in Yokozeki, 1999). Similarly, gender is a concept that does not always correlate with biological or sex differences of females and males, and includes psychological, social, perceptual and emotional differences between them (Männynsalo, 2008). In addition, the term “gender”

specifies traits and attitudes that a specific culture are judged to be norms for males and females (Woolfolk, 2016). It is well accepted that ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ are not the same

concept. Whereby sex is considered by biological and genetic factors, and gender by the way in which a person perceives their identity (Woolfolk, 2016). The present study will

investigate teachers' perceptions of differences between male and female students in single- gender/single-sex schools in Kazakhstan, and the way they believe these differences impact on student achievement. For the purpose of this research, the term “single-sex schools” will be referred to as “single-gender schools” as they are known as in the Kazakhstani context.

This is because gender in the research context is seen as biologically determined, and is acknowledged only in binary terms as male or female (Brannon, 2002; Deaux, 1993).

For many decades now, gender stereotypes and differences between females and males have been debated and have held the attention of researchers particularly in the spheres of sociology and psychology. Recently, the word “gender” has become major element in the

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field of education, through research that often shares a common root with feminist theories (Yokozeki, 1999).

From a historical perspective, single-gender education in the western context, began with public education in the United States in single-gender schools, then “evolved to coeducational schools late in the 19th century” (Bracey, 2006, p.3). At those times, boys attended single-gender schools, whereas girls were typically educated at home until the late 1800s when single-gender schools were established for girls. Similarly, Kazakhstan's primary education system followed a similar trajectory with single-gender schools, where boys

attended schools and girls were at home-schooling (Ashwin, 2012).

Single-gender education has been practiced in many countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom as an alternative form of education to co-educational settings, and has shown beneficial outcomes for the education system (Smyth, 2010). Research

indicates that in these countries, single-gender schools and single-gender classes are

particularly beneficial in the development of male students (Smyth, 2010). However, much of the research on gender in education has focused on differences between boys and girls. For example, according to some studies (Askew & Ross 1988; Francis 2004; Howe 1997), boys typically contribute more to classroom activities than girls, and differences between single- gender and co-educational settings depend on the dominant presence of boys in classroom interactions (as cited in Smyth, 2010). Moreover, boys might be more active and disruptive in classroom settings, thus they can have a negative impact on girls` academic performance (Smyth, 2010).

According to Sunderland (1994) gender can influence classroom settings depending on the teachers' attitude, and how much and what kind of attention is given to boys and girls (as

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cited in Männynsalo, 2008). Sometimes this has concerned how gender may influence academic performance across different fields such as maths or physics (Männynsalo, 2008).

In addition to the above-mentioned statements, the teacher plays a major role in guiding boys and girls and helping students to overcome certain challenges in a school environment

(Männynsalo, 2008).

1.2 Background of the Study

1.2.1 Education system in Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan is the ninth largest country in the world by land surface which is located in Central Asia. The country has borders with Russia in the North, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan in the South, The Caspian Sea in the West, China in the South-East and Turkmenistan in the South-West (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD], 2015).

According to statistics by the United Nations (United Nations [UN], 2020), the current population of Kazakhstan is 18,751,427.

Kazakhstan has a nine-year mandatory education regulation for young people and according to the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan (Kazakhstan,1995, art.30), citizens are guaranteed to receive free secondary education in state schools. The education system has four levels: pre-primary (3-6 ages), primary (7-10 ages), secondary (11-17 ages) and tertiary education (18-22 ages) (United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural

Organisation [UNESCO], 2020). Primary and secondary education is compulsory from age 9 to age 15, and free of charge for all students. The duration of primary education is four years, and students enter primary schools at the age of six or seven (OECD, 2015). Lower secondary education lasts for five years, followed either by two years in general upper secondary

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education or from two to four years in technical and vocational education. After the completion of upper secondary schools, students have a choice to enter technical and vocational colleges or to continue on to higher education.

Kazakhstan is a country with nearly 130 ethnic groups, thus the education system in the country is very diverse in terms of ethnicity, religion and language (OECD, 2015). The national language of the country is Kazakh, and Russian is considered to be an inter-ethnic language; as it is understood by around 94% of the population. Recently, Kazakhstan has introduced a trilingual system of education, however, only 15.4% of the population are fluent in English (OECD, 2015). School education in Kazakhstan is offered in 21 languages, and state mainstream schools provide education in one of the two languages, whether Kazakh or Russian and in other minor languages for students from ethnic cultures (OECD, 2015).

In Kazakhstan non-discrimination and gender equality remain a priority across all state sectors, including education. This is highlighted and described in the Constitution of

Kazakhstan (Kazakhstan, 1995, art.14), in the developed and implemented Strategy for Gender Equality (Ministry of Justice [MJ], 2015), as well as in the Law “On State Guarantees of Equal Rights and Equal Opportunities for Men and Women” (Kazakhstan, 2009).

1.2.1 Single-gender schools in Kazakhstan.

After Kazakhstan gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, single-gender schools were established in 1992 and located in urban cities and rural areas of the country (Kocak, 2019). Single-gender schools in Kazakhstan are typically a set of boarding schools, where students have an option to live either in a dormitory or at home. There are nearly 30 branches of single-gender schools with dormitories, where secondary school students study

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separately according to their gender cohort (Kocak, 2019). According to the results of the study conducted by researcher Kocak (2019), the dormitory system of single-gender schools is a major element in the educational process of these schools; as it enables students to focus on education; to enhance their academic performance and character development without being disrupted by external factors. Similarly, a dormitory system provides extra time for students to work on their homework and assignments. Additionally, this boarding system includes teacher assistants (tutors) who help students in their academic and social activities.

Teacher assistants’ and students’ gender is supposed to be correlated with each other. In addition, the boarding school system is presumed to be a beneficial model for a single-gender environment to meet the special requirements of students according to their gender cohort (Kocak, 2019).

Furthermore, a set of single-gender schools in Kazakhstan have gained authority among the governmental organizations, parents, students, and their graduates for its positive contribution to the education system of Kazakhstan. Additionally, from the foundation of single-gender schools, there has been a history of demonstrating high levels of academic performance in national and international olympiads (International Educational Fund “Bilim- Innovation” [IEFBI], 2018). Similarly, single-gender schools in Kazakhstan are considered to be for high achieving students, thus these schools are considered to be part of the elite and more prosperous educational institutions in Kazakhstan (Kocak, 2019). Moreover, students from male and female schools take part in different types of projects and olympiads, such as the national olympiad “Zharkyn Bolashak” in Kazakh language, and other science projects.

According to the statistics of these schools (IEFBI, 2018), about 27,000 applicants participate

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in the preliminary examination annually, and nearly 1,700 of participants are enrolled in the 7th grade.

The academic curriculum of single-gender schools in Kazakhstan is adapted according to international educational standards, that is partly based on the State Standard of the

Republic of Kazakhstan, and partly on the academic system of a set of single-gender schools in Kazakhstan (Kocak, 2019). Likewise, single-gender schools apply a trilingual system of education, mostly scientific subjects, such as maths, biology, physics, informatics are taught in English (IEFBI, 2018). Furthermore, other humanities and state subjects are taught in Kazakh and Russian.

According to the findings of the research conducted by Kocak (2019), these single- gender schools do not adopt special gender-based instruction on their academic curricula.

Kocak (2009) has also found that in the professional development of single-gender school teachers, there appears to be no special gender-based methodology and strategy for teaching.

In terms of gender-based classroom management, there is no difference found between boys’

and girls’ schools. Furthermore, the study (Kocak, 2019) indicates that there are differences in the dormitory, sports facilities, and in social activities, not in the academic curricula of single-gender schools.

1.2.3 Teachers’ beliefs and gender.

Teachers are key actors in students’ learning and academic performance. Owing to this point, teachers' perceptions and behaviours are some of the main determinants of

investigating gender issues in educational research (Li, 1999). Likewise, teachers’ attitudes are framed by teachers’ beliefs that directly impact on students’ beliefs and attitudes (Li, 1999). Additionally, teacher gender is considered to be a major variable in the sphere of

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education. According to researchers, a teacher’s gender has an impact on their beliefs and behaviours towards their students’ gender (Sansone, 2017), and how teachers treat their students and evaluate them depending on their own gender-based biases (Lavy, 2008).

Gender differences between males and females in particular subject areas such as mathematics and science have been argued by researchers, whereas teacher gender and its relationship with student achievement has often been neglected in educational research literature. However, there are few studies that discuss and demonstrate significant literature according to the nature and the purpose of the present study, that will be presented in the literature review section of the paper.

1.3 Statement of the Problem

As there are many common myths concerning gender stereotypes and education such as females having challenges in maths or physics rather than males, and male students not being as successful as female students in humanities subjects (Kane & Mertz, 2012). Many research studies have sought to investigate the factors associated with differences in

attainment levels between girls and boys with varying results (Tiedemann, 2000). These factors have been proposed to be biological in nature, culturally influenced, or even as the result of limited opportunities. These common myths still persist today and research has shown that they can influence the practices of teachers and how they perceive the academic potential of their students (Jussim, 1989; Jussim & Eccles, 1992; Tiedemann, 1995;

Tiedemann & Steinmetz, 1998). Thus, it is important to understand the attitudes and the perspective of teachers in Kazakhstan, particularly the opinion of those in single-gender

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schools as often they have worked in other educational contexts in order to gain a clearer picture of the factors that influence their beliefs and practices. Single-gender schools in Kazakhstan provide full engagement of both genders in all subjects (scientific and humanities). As there is little research on this topic in Kazakhstan and Central Asia in

general, it will be useful to provide a more in-depth understanding of the beliefs and attitudes of teachers toward gender and education and educational attainment in this context.

1.4 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the current study is to examine the beliefs and attitudes of single- gender school teachers towards a single-gender education and how they believe this may impact on students’ academic achievement in single-gender schools in Kazakhstan. In addition, this study investigates to what extent teachers believe that gender has an impact on students' achievements in single-gender schools. Moreover, the current study is aimed to find out if teachers in single-gender schools believe that boys have advantages over girls in certain subject areas and what kind of factors influence academic achievement between boys and girls. In addition, the current research aims to examine factors that influence the opinion of teachers such as if the gender of a teacher or years of teaching experience influence their beliefs on differences between boys and girls on academic achievement in single-gender schools in Kazakhstan.

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1.5 Theoretical Framework

The thesis project is framed around Bandura’s self-efficacy theory (1997). According to Bandura (1997), self-efficacy is concerned with one’s belief and perception in his

capabilities to achieve a particular outcome. Self-efficacy may differ depending on people’s field of interest and on their purpose in which sphere they would like to cultivate their efficacy (Bandura, 2006). In terms of generality, strength and level, efficacy beliefs vary depending on wide range activities or particular activity domains that people do and set goals to achieve certain outcomes. Self-efficacy theory is widely practiced in various fields of psychology, economics, and education.

In particular, this study focuses on teachers’ self-efficacy in terms of how their beliefs and attitudes may influence their approach to students' academic performance. Research on teachers’ self-efficacy indicates that teachers' sense of efficacy can be specified as teachers’

beliefs that they can reach any student to help them to learn (Woolfolk, 2016). Moreover, teachers with high self-efficacy tend to be more hardworking and patient while working students, even when they are difficult to teach. The reason is that those teachers believe in themselves and in their students. If teachers’ self-efficacy is high, it will have a more positive impact on students' learning and academic performance. In accordance with researchers (Fernet, Guay, Senécal, & Austin, 2012; Fives, Hamman, & Olivarez, 2005; Klassen & Chiu, 2010) teachers with a high self-efficacy do not experience burnout much and are more

satisfied with their jobs in comparison with others (as cited in Woolfolk, 2016).

Moreover, teachers have a high self-efficacy when the school’s administrative and teaching staff have high expectations for their students, and when teachers know that they can get help from the principals in coping with instructional and management issues. One of the

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major findings of the research conducted on teachers’ self-efficacy (Woolfolk, 2016) claims that self-efficacy increases when teachers see successful academic achievements of their students, not only from the moral support of colleagues. Owing to the point, single-gender schools in Kazakhstan are set schools for gifted students, and relying on the findings of the research teachers in single-gender schools might have a high self-efficacy. Hence, these schools provide gifted education, and students are assigned to different kinds of olympiads, and teachers have high expectations from their students.

1.6 Research Questions

RQ1. What are the attitudes of teachers in single-gender schools in Kazakhstan towards single-gender education?

a.What do they see as the benefits, opportunities or challenges?

RQ2. Do teachers in single-gender schools in Kazakhstan believe there are differences in academic achievements between girls and boys?

a. What do teachers believe are the factors that influence the academic achievement of boys and girls in single-gender schools?

RQ3. What factors have shaped teachers’ beliefs and attitudes towards single-gender education?

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1.7 Overview of Methodology

The present research study is broadly phenomenological as it involves the lived experiences of teacher's beliefs and attitudes about the academic potential of their students (Cohen, Manion, & Morrison, 2011). The research design is considered as a case study, because it involves a bounded system, as Creswell (2014) describes a class or school community to be. Likewise, the present study is qualitative and based on one-on-one semi- structured interviews. An interview is a convenient, adaptable data collection tool, and a powerful instrument for the researcher, which allows the interviewer to obtain a complete and in-depth response on the participants' experiences (Cohen, Manion, & Morrison, 2011).

The data for the current study was obtained at two single-gender schools in

Kazakhstan. The participants of the research study were ten teachers, with whom one-on-one interviews conducted. All ten teachers work at single-gender schools in Kazakhstan, five from girls' schools and five from boys' schools.

1.8 Significance of the Study

In Kazakhstan, gender education has built its base from single-gender schools, where female and male students study separately according to their gender cohort. Single-gender schools are one of the first schools in Kazakhstan where students are segregated by gender from one another; they provide the ideal research site for this kind of research.

Research studies indicate that teacher-student interaction impacts on students’

academic success and performance in an educational context (Männynsalo, 2008). The gender of a teacher and their students can affect academic achievement and classroom

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interactions (Sansone, 2017). For this reason, researchers and scholars have been studying this topic, regarding the context of Kazakhstan, there are no concrete studies concerning single-gender education.

The findings of the present study are particularly relevant for all teachers and school administrators of single-gender schools and to some degree for mainstream schools when working with male and female students in the Kazakhstani context. Therefore, the importance of this study stands on the classroom interactions of teachers with female or male students.

The content and the findings of the study will be useful for informing teaching practices and also teacher training programs in Kazakhstan in the context of single-gender schools. Owing to the fact that there is little research-based literature intended to teacher’s perceptions and attitudes towards gender, and particularly in single-gender schools in the Kazakhstani context, the present study might be beneficial for researchers by contributing to the improvement of that particular research area.

1.9 Definition of Variables

Gender - is defined as a social phenomenon and a social construct, as distinguished from sex which is biologically determined (Momsen 1991, Mbilinyi 1992, et.al).

Academic achievement — is identified from both formal and informal assessments. It includes formative and summative information to learn students' knowledge of the

educational context (Fry, 2009; Nattress, 2013).

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Achievement gap — is a discrepancy of groups of students in academic achievement.

In general, the achievement gap includes performance gaps between ethnic groups, it also includes areas such as gender (Dahlin & Cronin, 2010).

Heterogenous education — is educating male and female students in the same environment at the same time to meet their academic needs (Anfara & Mertens, 2008).

Single-gender schools — are schools in Kazakhstan whose main purpose is to meet the academic needs of a single-gender, either male or female (Bracey, 2007).

Single-gender classrooms — are classrooms where all students are enrolled in the class are one gender, either male or female (Bracey, 2007).

1.10 Thesis Outline

This thesis study consists of six chapters, including the current introductory section (Chapter One: Introduction). The current chapter provided an introduction to the study, outlining the background of the study, the purposes of the study, the research questions, the significance of the study and the definition of variables. The subsequent chapters of the research project are organized in the following way. Chapter Two (Literature Review) is devoted to a review of the relevant literature related to the research problem. This chapter discusses gender theories in education, single-gender education and single-gender schools;

teachers’ beliefs and attitudes towards gender; impact of teacher gender on student

achievement in the field of single-gender education. Chapter Three (Methodology) outlines a detailed explanation of the methodology used for this research, discusses the rationale for the chosen methodology and research tools. Moreover, the chapter also demonstrates a

description of the sampling procedure and data analysis procedure of the study. Chapter Four

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(Findings) reports the major data findings of the study structured by each research question.

Chapter Five (Discussions) critically and analytically reports and discusses the results of the study. In particular, in these two chapters, the major findings and results of the study are discussed in relevance to the research questions and the literature review of the study. The final chapter of the study Chapter Six (Conclusions and Recommendations) demonstrates conclusions arising from the discussions, including the final concepts on teachers’

perceptions towards gender in the context of single-gender schools in Kazakhstan. Likewise, this chapter includes recommendations and limitations of the study, and implications for future research.

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Chapter Two: Literature Review

2.1 Introduction

The previous chapter presented the introduction and the background of the present study according to what is relevant and significant to the field of education with the aim of exploring teachers' attitudes towards a students’ gender and its influence on their academic achievement in single-gender schools in Kazakhstan.

A review of the literature has shown that numerous factors can influence students' academic achievement, including that of gender. This chapter aims to summarize theories and stereotypes of gender and education and cover relevant literature on the topic. The chapter also provides an overview of gender theories in education, an analysis of the key issues and concepts, and reviews of previous studies relating to the topic and purpose of the present study. Based on the theoretical framework concerning teachers’ self-efficacy and their beliefs and attitudes, the chapter concludes with findings from previous research studies related to teachers’ beliefs concerning gender and education.

2.2 Gender Theories in Education

The term “gender” is defined as a social phenomenon and social construction

(Momsen, 1991), rather than a biological aspect; thus it distinguishes gender from the sex of the person (Brannon, 2002; Deaux, 1993). According to researchers (Patterson, 1995; Ruble, Martin, & Berenbaum, 2006) an individual’s identity regarding gender has two features of gender identity and gender-role behaviours (as cited in Woolfolk, 2016). Gender identity

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refers to a “person's self-identification as male or female” (Woolfolk, 2016, p.256). Gender- role behaviours are common beliefs and features that a culture associates towards each gender (Woolfolk, 2016).

Gender in education research is considered to be a category of analysis and an expression of social identity that involves some common stereotypes and certain models of thought toward gender (Dillabough, 2001). One of the most researched and discussed topics on gender is the difference between female and male students in their academic achievement.

Scholars define this term as a gender gap in education between female and male students (Francis, 2000; Martino & Meyem, 2001). This is a certain construction or a common stereotype towards gender which claims that boys have an advantage over girls in scientific subjects, such as maths or physics, whereas, girls are more successful at humanities subjects, such as history, language, and arts (Goldstein, 1993). Additionally, other recent studies have claimed that female students show high academic performance over male students in

particular subject areas (Skelton & Francis, 2005; Francis & Skelton, 2009). Furthermore, according to Francis (2000), these differences in educational achievement between male and female students are only socially constructed and commonly believed stereotypes. Moreover, except for gender, there are other social factors, such as ethnicity, race, social class, status and disability that play a major role in education and the academic achievement of both genders (Berger & Guidroz, 2009; Dill & Zambrana, 2009).

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2.3 Single-Gender Education

Before the 1970s, studies in the area of single-gender education were small-scale and had limitations. One of the first large-scale research about single-gender education was conducted by Dale (1969, 1971, 1974) in the British context (as cited in Smyth, 2010). Dale’s research indicated that a coeducational setting provides a basic preparation for the adult life of both males and females (Smyth, 2010). According to Smyth (2010) the academic

performance of female students, it was found that in co-educational school settings girls have a disadvantage in particular fields, especially in mathematics and science. Later, other studies (Ormerod 1975; Spender & Sarah 1980; Deem 1984) claimed that girls in single-gender classes or schools tend to be more successful and indicate higher academic performance in science and mathematics subjects (as cited in Smyth, 2010).

The benefits of the single-gender education system have been measured by the academic performance and achievement of students in certain subject areas (Smyth, 2010).

The scholars Smithers and Robinson (2006), after reviewing studies on the advantages and disadvantages of single-gender education, concluded that there are no concrete findings that claim that single-gender education is either effective or ineffective. Thus far, the research has shown the limited effects of both types of school settings - single-gender, and coeducational - in school environments and there are research limitations that may or may not successfully pinpoint pieces of evidence on whether single-gender education is beneficial for boys or girls (Smithers & Robinson, 2006).

According to some scholars, the major reason for implementing single-gender

education is the biological differences between males and females and the possibility of these differences manifesting themselves within the learning environment and affecting teaching

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practices (Piechura-Couture et al., 2011). Along with the biological differences between boys and girls, several other features differentiate females from males. A meta-analysis conducted by Bonomo (2010) that highlighted brain-based, sensory-perception-based, physical, and biological differences of boys and girls. The study (Bonomo, 2010) reviewed literature and conducted a meta-analysis of 13 previous research studies regarding the gender-based differences of young males and females in terms of their biological, intellectual and physical development. The date range of those studies in this meta-analysis was various, the earliest study was conducted in 1963 and the latest study was in 2009. Furthermore, the research examined the ambient temperature of classrooms in single-gender classes and presented unanticipated results (Bonomo, 2010). One study, conducted by Sax (2006), indicated that male students learn better in chilly temperatures, whereas female students prefer a warm, heated environment (as cited in Bonomo, 2010). Moreover, in a warm classroom males become sluggish and sleepy. According to ergonomic specialists, the perfect ambient temperature is about 71℉ (22℃) for young men and 77℉ (25℃) for women. Owing to this, the scholars suggested that the ideal ambient temperature in a classroom would mostly be about 2℉ lower, 69℉ (21℃) for boys and 75℉ (24℃) for girls in single-gendered settings (Bonomo, 2010).

On the whole, the literature indicates that there are differences between males and females based on their biological, cerebral, physical and psychological development.

Additionally, researchers have investigated that there is a combination of developmental factors and differences that affect on the brain, sensory-motor and physical development of boys and girls (Bonomo, 2010). Therefore, the previous studies suggest that a single-gender educational context has beneficial outcomes for both male and female students with respect to

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their gender differences, thus teachers need to have knowledge of those gender differences and be familiar with gender-based teaching strategies.

2.4 Single-Gender Schools and Classrooms

According to the researchers, the impacts of gender are far outweighed by ability, social background, race, and ethnicity (Smithers & Robinson, 2006). Smithers and Robinson (2006) concluded that there are both successful coeducational and single-gender schools, and there are excellent reasons for that. Other researchers (Datnow et al., 2001) reported that a single-gender setting helped to avoid some of the social distractions of coeducational settings and allowed the learners to focus more on academics, and it also opened communication on social issues such as teen pregnancy and dating (as cited in Moore, 2015). Therefore, the major goal of single-gender schools is not to remove flirting and other types of distractions.

Instead, the concept of single-gender education came from the ideology that males and females process information in different measures and learn in different ways (Moore, 2015).

Consequently, a single-gender context increases concentration of students and helps to prevent disruptive factors that may exist in co-educational settings.

According to Meder (2012), the achievement gap between male and female students is seen in the middle and secondary school levels, during these stages students really can gain advantages from single-gender educational settings (as cited in Moore, 2015). In addition, Kommer (2006) stated that gender roles are best investigated in the adolescent stage of education. Likewise, the researcher claimed that “finding their ways through this potential mindset is complicated and challenging for secondary school learners” (Kommer, 2006, p.

247).

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Secondary or middle schools have provided an appropriate and effective model for single-gender classrooms. Taking into account the fact that, starting from the secondary school period, students face complex changes in their lives, they change physically, emotionally, and intellectually faster than they do at any other point in their lives (Ferrara, 2005). During this time, their academic studies play an initial role in their future careers (Ferrara, 2005). Moreover, those differences between both genders are noticeable (Bonomo, 2010). Researchers strongly believe that these gender differences have an impact on students' learning and academic achievement. Likewise, the research results do not indicate that female and male students learn in different ways. However, there are important and noticeable differences between both genders and on brain development in terms of size, structure, and intelligence (Bonomo, 2010). With reference to Bonomo (2010) “the male brain is 10 to 15 percent larger and heavier compared with the female brain” (p.257).

Taking into consideration the biological differences of female and male students, single-gender classes are an effective way to educate secondary school learners, as this helps teachers to manage classroom activities, and leads to the use of differentiated instruction (Chadwell, 2007). Differentiated instruction is defined as an instructional design that

guarantees that students learn a subject, how they learn it and how they show that what they have learned corresponds to that student’s readiness level, interests and favoured mode of learning (Bohannan, 2016). This instructional approach is aimed at maximizing the potential educational outcomes for each student by meeting their current educational needs and supporting them through the learning process (Bohannan, 2016).

Moreover, secondary school students start to face colossal changes physically and psychologically, and teachers in a single-gender environment can guide and manage all those

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changes. Furthermore, teachers have the chance to make academic achievement and learning a primary goal. Single-gender school teachers have the opportunity to help students to be successful in their learning and to motivate, support students' academic achievement not only by segregating genders, but also by providing differentiated instruction strategies according to the needs of their students (Chadwell, 2007). Furthermore, Chadwell (2007) claimed that the gender segregation of learners without the instructional strategies and methods that consider gender differences, can be a failure and a major drawback of single-gender education. Just separating students by gender, without including instructional changes into academic curricula is defined as a structural change rather than an instructional change (Chadwell, 2007). Thus, teachers in single-gender schools or classrooms need to adapt curricula to differentiate instruction according to their students’ gender cohort.

2.5 Teachers’ Beliefs and Attitudes Towards Gender

Teachers play an important role in students’ learning. Therefore, teachers' beliefs are a major variable in the study of gender issues (Li, 1999). The review of the literature on

teachers’ beliefs towards students’ gender and gender differences indicate that there are few substantial studies conducted in the educational sphere (Li, 1999). Nevertheless, the

following section presents several studies that are relevant to the nature of the current study regarding teachers’ perceptions and behaviours towards gender and differences between male and female students in certain subject areas.

With reference to Li (1999), teachers’ attitudes towards students are essentially shaped and even determined by their beliefs. Moreover, these attitudes substantially influence

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students' beliefs and attitudes. In addition, Li (1999) claimed that teachers’ perceptions about males and females, and the different views of male and female teachers towards the nature of this subject, academic curricula, and other factors, impact their attitudes, and later on their students’ academic performance. Several studies indicate that teachers' perceptions of students’ academic performance were framed by biased stereotypes according to their students’ gender (Tiedemann, 2000; Sansone, 2017). Previous research conducted by Tiedemann (2000) about teachers’ and parents’ beliefs on the academic performance of students in mathematics, stated that teachers’ perceptions of their student’s performance in mathematics were considered to be influenced by the student’s gender but also correlates to students’ previous grades in that subject. The study by Tiedemann (2000) applied a

quantitative research design and conducted in Germany including only German participants.

The participants of this study were 489 elementary school students, including 343 mothers, 270 fathers, and 28 elementary school teachers. Additionally, the findings of the study conducted by Tiedemann (2000), claim that teachers’ perceptions towards the gender of their students are shaped by parents' beliefs towards their child’s gender, it is based on their gender-stereotyped beliefs.

In addition to above-mentioned concepts, it appeared that mothers’ beliefs, especially, and gender-based stereotypes influence students’ academic performance and thus also

impacts teachers’ perceptions towards students (Lavy, 2008; Tiedemann, 2000). For instance, researchers (Eccles et al., 1990) state that in childhood and adolescence, most parents

overestimate their son’s abilities in maths and science subjects, and underestimate the capabilities of their daughters (as cited in Lavy, 2008). Thus, students are affected by their parents and by their parents' perceptions of them (Tiedemann, 2000).The findings of these

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studies mentioned above indicate that parents’ beliefs, especially mothers’ beliefs have an impact on students' academic performance. Consequently, the studies demonstrate that parents’ beliefs also influence teachers’ beliefs and attitudes towards their students.

2.5.1 Teacher gender influences student achievement.

Most of the previous studies investigated the differences between males and females in academic performance, particularly in mathematics and science subjects. However, the gender of teachers has not been investigated in a substantial manner in the sphere of education (Li, 1999). Owing to that, there is a little research about teacher gender and its impact on students’ achievement. Nevertheless, there are several studies that provide some relevant literature that relates to the current study concerning teachers' gender and its

influence on students’ academic achievement. In contrast, the following section demonstrates some of the major findings of previous studies on teacher gender and its relationship with academic performance.

Teacher gender has been shown to play a role in teaching and communicating with students (Lavy, 2008). Likewise, a teacher's gender also influences their perceptions and attitudes towards their students' gender. In addition to that, teachers might have gender-based biases that may influence how they treat and assess their students (Lavy, 2008). In

accordance with findings by Sansone (2017), teacher gender may influence teacher behaviour and attitudes. This longitudinal study (Sansone, 2017) investigated high school math and science teacher’s gender influences student interest and self-efficacy in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), and the survey design had two levels, one was conducted

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in 2009, the second one in 2012. The participants of this study in the first phase included 26 000 high school students from 940 private and public schools in the United States, in the second level 30 students from each school have been recruited to take part in interview surveys with their parents. In addition, the findings of this study (Sansone, 2017) indicate that a teacher's gender may impact students in several ways, for instance, being role models, eliminating stereotype threats.

According to Saha (1983) male and female teachers influence their students’ academic performance in different ways (as cited in Li, 1999). The major findings of this study claimed that male teachers have more advantages than female teachers in teaching mathematics and science. Likewise, students with male teachers showed high academic performance in mathematics and science, in comparison with students with female teachers (Li, 1999).

Additionally, the previous literature (Li, 1999) on teacher gender with the aim to increase comprehension on how gender differences develop and relate to teachers’ beliefs and summarized the main concepts of those studies. Li (1999) and studies conducted by Carnoy (1971) and Klees (1974) demonstrated similar findings claiming that male teachers have an advantage over female teachers in teaching mathematics and science (as cited in Li, 1999).

Moreover, the researchers Warwich and Jatoi (1994) stated that teacher gender has more influence on the students’ achievement in mathematics compared to student gender, and students of male teachers attained higher test scores than those of female teachers (as cited in Li, 1999). The research by Warwich and Jatoi (1994) was the first national survey conducted in primary schools in Pakistan (as cited in Li, 1999). In contrast, the recent study conducted by Sansone (2017) on teacher gender in the sphere of economics indicates that teacher gender has a minimal (possibly null) impact on students’ performance and interest. According to the

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major findings of this study, building a positive learning environment, treating each and every student equally, and being passionate about teaching are the key drivers in students’

academic achievement (Sansone, 2017).

Most studies that have examined teacher gender and gender differences have implemented a quantitative design as a research methodology. Therefore, according to Li (1999), a qualitative design would be more relevant to the obtention of more in-depth data and insights from this field of research. Thus, in the present study, a case study in single- gender educational context was designed to obtain insights of teachers that is described in detail in the next chapter.

2.6 Summary

This chapter has examined the findings of previous studies relevant to the topic and purpose of the current study. In particular, single-gender education and teacher gender have been discussed. Moreover, this chapter has discussed a range of literature on teacher gender and its impact on student achievement and learning, including teachers’ beliefs on gender differences. The following chapter presents a description and justification of the methodology employed in the present study.

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Chapter Three: Methodology 3.1 Introduction

The purpose of the current study was to examine the beliefs that Kazakhstani teachers hold towards gender and gender stereotypes, and the influence that they believe may have on their academic achievement in single-gender schools. Furthermore, the present study

investigated to what extent teachers believe that boys have advantages over girls in certain subject areas and what kind of factors influence academic achievement between boys and girls. In addition, the current research examined if the gender of a teacher or their years of teaching experience influence their beliefs on the academic achievement of boys and girls in single-gender schools in Kazakhstan.

3.2 Research Design

The present research study was broadly phenomenological as it involved the lived experiences of teachers, and captured their beliefs and attitudes about the academic potential of their students (Cohen, Manion, & Morrison, 2011). The research design can be considered a case study because it involved a bounded system, as Creswell (2014) has described a class or school community to be. However, this study also considered the context of single-gender schools and the culture of Kazakhstan. Therefore, Yin (2002) defined the case as “a

contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context, especially when the boundaries between a phenomenon and context are not always clear and the researcher has little control over the phenomenon and context” (p.13). In addition, this definition of a case study, is considered to be more a legitimate method of research for the nature and topic of the present

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study, as other research designs that involve quantitative methods, such as experimental and survey, may not be able to provide the researcher with the relevant depth in data (Yazan, 2015).Thus, Yin (2002) describes the case study as an utterly novel “comprehensive research strategy” intended to study real-life contexts (p.14).

The study employed a purposeful qualitative sampling method, where the researcher intentionally or purposefully selected individuals and sites for his/her research to learn or understand the central phenomenon (Creswell, 2014, p.228). As the purpose of this particular study intended to investigate teachers' beliefs and experiences, it was necessary to select participants who fit the criteria of the study (teachers working in single-gender schools) and who have knowledge relevant to the topic under investigation. In this way the researcher can obtain an in-depth and clearer understanding of the way they make assumptions concerning the academic potential of their students.

3.3 Research Site

The data for the current study was obtained at two single-gender schools in Kazakhstan. These schools were for students that were considered to be high achieving students, and were located in one large urban city in Kazakhstan. The researcher has chosen single-gender schools as research sites because the context and educational process, social class background, and academic ability of students, typically differ between single-gender and coeducational settings (Hannan et al. 1996). Moreover, Bonomo (2010) stated that gender differences influence the way students learn and the researcher attributed this to the

achievement gap between male and female students. According to the findings of a previous study, single-gender education from teachers' perspectives had a positive impact on the

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students' academic achievements (Moore, 2015). Taking into account differences between gender and school settings and relying on other research studies conducted in this field single-gender schools were chosen to be a relevant research site.

3.4 Participants

The target population of the study were teachers working in each of the schools. From this target population, a total of ten participants, (five teachers from each school) were recruited to take part in the data collection process of the study. After obtaining ethical approval from the university ethics committee, each of the school principals were contacted by phone. The researcher met with each of the school principals individually and explained the purpose of the research study. After the researcher obtained agreement and signed consent forms from the principles (Appendix A) to conduct interviews, potential participants of the study (teachers) were contacted by email. The purpose of the research was explained in the email and teachers were asked to volunteer to participate. Once ten teachers had been

recruited, information and informed consent documents (Appendix B) were provided to them in three languages (English, Kazakh, and Russian). Prior to the interviews, teachers were offered the opportunity to ask any questions they had about the research and their

participation in the study. The participants of the study were not chosen according to their gender or years of experience. The respondents of the study were a mix of female and male teachers who teach opposite or same gender students in single-gender schools in an urban city in Kazakhstan. The participants' teaching experience in a secondary school context (see Table 1) ranges from one year to 14 years, and average teaching experience indicated 6 years and 7 months (6.7 years). Furthermore, subjects that they have been teaching at single-gender

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schools were various, some teachers had teaching experience in humanities and science subject fields as well. Among the respondents, some teachers have practiced teaching in mainstream schools as well, where boys and girls study together in one classroom setting.

Moreover, some of them have experienced working at both single-gender schools, only with boys and only with girls. Others, mostly young teachers, have practiced teaching either in boys or in girls’ schools.

Table 1. Participants’ Profiles

Participa

nt code Gender School type Experience Subject

field Gender experience P1 Female Girls’ School 12 years English Mixed schools, girls’

schools

P2 Female Girls’ School 1 year Mathematics Only girls’ school

P3 Male Boys’ School 7 years Computer

Science Mixed school, boys’

school

P4 Male Boys’ School 14 years Mathematics Only boys’ school

P5 Male Boys’ School 2 years Biology Only boys’ school

P6 Female Boys’ School 4 years English Only girls’ school P7 Male Boys’ School 2 years Physics Only boys’ school P8 Female Girls’ School 10 years History Boys’ school, girls’

school, mixed school P9 Male Girls’ School 11 years English Boys’ school, girls’

school, mixed school P10 Female Girls' School 4 years Computer

Science

Only girls’ school

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3.5 Instrument

The present study is qualitative and was based on one-on-one semi-structured interviews. The interview tool was constructed from similar research conducted in other contexts and from the theoretical framework applied in this study (Appendix C). Questions were based on teachers beliefs and attitudes and the experiences that shaped these attitudes and beliefs according to Bandura’s (1997) self-efficacy theory. An interview was a

convenient, adaptable data collection tool, and a powerful instrument for the researcher. The interviews allowed the interviewer to obtain a complete and in-depth response from the participants based on their experiences (Cohen, Manion, & Morrison, 2011).

3.6 Data Collection

The participants were invited to have the interviews conducted in the language they felt most comfortable with so they could freely express their ideas and opinions. All ten interviews were conducted in the participants’ workplace according to their schedule and comfort. The interviews were also recorded for transcription purposes with the permission of the participants and to ensure that the researcher could capture all responses to the interview questions. Each interview had taken approximately 30 minutes, with 5-10 minutes to get acquainted with a set up for the interview session, overall each participant has spent approximately 40 minutes for an interview.

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3.7 Data Analysis

To analyze the data, the interviews of the participants were first transcribed and typed on a Microsoft Word document. Data collected from the interview process was coded

according to Saldana's (2012) first and second cycle coding method. According to researchers (Miles, Huberman, & Saldaña, 2014) in the first cycle coding stage, codes were allocated as prompts or triggers using chunks or keywords for collected data. In this first cycle, the researcher applied in vivo coding, using participants' own words or short phrases (Miles, Huberman, & Saldaña, 2014). The second cycle coding method summarizes the first cycle codes, generated by the keywords or the chunks of phrases or keywords. In this coding cycle, pattern coding was used to summarize the collected data. The responses of the interviewees were transcribed by hand and typed on a word document (Appendix D) and analysed using a coding system of data analysis. Once the coding was completed, the codes were arranged into broader themes or categories and then the responses of the participants were analyzed, the first and second cycle coding system and in vivo coding.

The first research question, “What are the attitudes of teachers in single-gender schools in Kazakhstan towards single-gender education?” was analysed using first cycle coding, where the keywords and chunks of the collected data were taken. Those keywords and chunks of the data were presented and analysed by using in vivo coding, where parts and phrases of the participants' have taken.

The second research question, “Do teachers in single gender schools in Kazakhstan believe there are differences in academic achievements between girls and boys?”, was presented using the first cycle and in-vivo coding system. To get an answer to this question,

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the chunks and keywords of the teachers were taken and analysed according to the interview coding system.

The final research question of the study, “What factors have shaped teachers’ beliefs and attitudes towards single gender education?”, was analysed by using the in vivo coding method, where the participants' phrases from their interviews were taken and analysed.

3.8 Ethical Considerations

Ethical regulations and standards were followed at all times according to the terms set out under ethical approval provided by the university school ethics committee. Participation in the research process was voluntary. Therefore, participants were made aware verbally and within the written consent form that they could withdraw their participation or data from the study at any time. It was explained to participants that voluntary withdrawal would not have any detrimental impact on their employment or relationship with their employer or

Nazarbayev University. The researcher has taken all the required procedures to maintain the confidentiality of the participants and their data. The identity of the participants was only known to the researcher. Confidentiality was maintained by the allocation of codes to each participant's name before undertaking the data collection. Interview transcripts with participants' coded identities were stored in a password-protected file on the researcher's personal computer which was also password protected. A document that contained the identity of participants and their allocated codes were stored with the signed information and consent sheets in a hardcopy file that was locked in the researcher's office. This has

minimized the risk of being breached ethical requirements concerning confidentiality. All

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electronic password-protected information will be deleted from the computer one

Сурет

Table 1. Participants’ Profiles
Table 2. The Distribution of the Major Findings by Research Question

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