Gender specific methods in the Italian state primary setting

  • Cathryn Carena

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education (EdD)


This paper explores gender differences in learning and presents findings from a qualitative study into the effectiveness of teaching methods as regards boys’ learning. The applied part of the paper uses site-specific data collected from a state primary school in northern Italy which suggests that the methods employed by teachers is teacher-centered rather than student-centered. The data collected through observation, interview and questionnaire was measured against criteria formulated from experts in the field of boys’ education and analyzed through both an historical and cultural lens. The historical and social factors reveal noteworthy parallels between the approach to pedagogy and Italian culture. The results of the analysis indicate that the Italian methods observed were at times effective while also deficient. This same approach which continues in the middle and high schools is less effective as the other factors in the school arrangement change. The paper concludes with reasons for modifying the teaching method from strictly content, teacher-centered to one which also taps into additional intelligences and takes a more student-centered approach in order to raise motivation and effectiveness of learning which will in turn raise international performance levels and give the Italian student a competitive edge in the international academic arena.
Date of Award1 Apr 2009
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorYolande Muschamp (Supervisor)


  • achievement gap
  • teaching methods
  • Italian education
  • Gender
  • primary education

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