Bridging Differences: How Social Relationships and Racial Diversity Matter in a Girls' Technology Program

  • Kekelis L
  • Ancheta R
  • Heber E
 et al. 
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Abstract

In this article, we explore an understudied dimension of girls’ single-sex education: how social relationships and racial diversity impact the educational environment for girls, and how teachers may best address these concerns. Findings are presented from a 3-year qualitative study of girls’ experiences in a single-sex technology program. Girls valued the all-girls aspect of the programs, and friendships formed the foundation of their social experiences. Girls’ friendship groups influenced their experiences and eventually their success in the afterschool technology programs. When friendship groups were observed to be racially homogeneous, they created challenges for including and supporting a racially diverse student membership. Our responses to the challenges that cultural differences and tensions present are outlined, along with recommendations for helping girls bridge these differences.

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Authors

  • Linda S. Kekelis

  • Rebecca Wepsic Ancheta

  • Etta Heber

  • Jeri Countryman

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