Gender and Preferred Content in Children's Drawing among Selected Primary School Children in Zaria Metropolis, Kaduna State

By Oluremi, Awogbade Mabel | Gender & Behaviour, December 2010 | Go to article overview

Gender and Preferred Content in Children's Drawing among Selected Primary School Children in Zaria Metropolis, Kaduna State


Oluremi, Awogbade Mabel, Gender & Behaviour


This study sought to establish the relationship between gender and preferred Content in children's drawing. A total of 220 pupils stratified into 110 males and 110 females drawn from eleven randomly selected primary schools in Zaria metropolis were used for the study. Four research questions were raised and four null hypotheses were generated. A narrative adopted from Tuman's (1999) study, was validated by experts in the department of Fine Art Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria Kaduna state of Nigeria and used as a major tool for data collection. Chi-square (×^sup 2^), cross tabulation, ANOVA and t-test were used for the analyses related to the null hypotheses. A histogram was also used for the distribution of the scores explaining the scores on formal characteristics used by the subjects in the study by sex. The results revealed that none of the four null hypotheses was retained; all the hypotheses were rejected. However, the results revealed that there were significant differences in the drawing content chosen by boys and girls. It also showed that there were significant differences between the way boys and girls use lines, colour, shape, texture, space and composition; there were inter-relationships in the forms and content of drawings of boys and girls and there were significant differences between the drawings of boys and girls in terms of gender characteristics. The findings revealed that girls exceeded the boys in the use of elements of art. It is recommended that provision be made for tests and activities that would allow pupils to think and ask questions that would lead to discoveries and motivate learners to create drawings outside their gender characteristics.

Introduction

Gender - preferred characteristics of children's drawing have been, for the past century, an area of consistent research focus on children's artistic development (Turnan, 1999). The idea that the spontaneous drawings of young Children may throw light upon the psychology of child development and artistic performance have also greatly influenced the objectives of art education and teaching strategies (Garber,2003; Wagner- Ott,2002;). The failure of many of these studies to interpret findings (data) on children's drawing in terms of gender stereotyped content has often led to biased / wrong assumptions about the possibility of gender differences in children's drawing. Goodenough's research (1926) on children's drawings of the human figure is a study which highlights some of the problems associated with research assumptions on gender and the analysis of data. Goodenough states that primary school age girls performed significantly better than boys in their ability to draw the human figure in detail and proportion.

While this finding have been confirmed by American, English and Danish researchers in later years. (Cox,1993; Papadakes, 1989; Wilson 1977; Koppitz,1968; Harris 1963), questions are still been asked as to whether these abilities are derive from biological or psycho - cultural differences in the development of the boys and girls used for the study. Only recently Scott (1981) also argues against the findings of Goodenough. If these studies focused on elements of drawing and not detail and proportion which are elements traditionally associated with girls' drawings, the study might have concluded that the drawings of boys were significantly better / superior. Other examples of previous research studies which have used inconsistent criteria for judging and interpreting gender differences in children's drawings abound in the literature (Blaikie, 2003).

The attention of recent researchers has been turned away from questions of "superiority" and "inferiority, and have started looking into other differences of the relationship between gender and style. The common trend in the findings of researchers is that girls show a marked interest in drawing a human figure as a well proportioned, realistic and natural (McNiff, 1981; Majewski, 1978; Cox, 1979, Koppitz, 1968; Machover, 1960). …

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