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Joseph Nelson

Michael Reichert and Richard Hawley. 2014. I Can Learn from You: Boys as Relational Learners. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press. 216 pp. ISBN: 9781612506647

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Boarding School for First-Grade Black Boys

Stereotypes, a Single-Sex Program, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Joseph D. Nelson and Sangeeta Subedi

Single-sex schooling for boys of color has become popular throughout the United States. Leaders and educators often consider these environments a school-based intervention to address adverse outcomes associated with Black boys. A contributing factor to these outcomes have been negative stereotypes of Black males related to Black masculinity norms, which developmental psychologists contend boys internalize during childhood. Interviews and observations were conducted over 12 months to describe a single-sex boarding program for first-grade African-American boys, affiliated with a coed independent school. Designed to facilitate boys’ positive identity development, the program’s mission and vision, educational philosophy, and schedule/programming will be primarily described from boys’ perspectives. The goal is to explore the merits of this single-sex intervention to ameliorate how Black male stereotypes and masculinity norms contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline.

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Reproduction, Resistance and Hope

The Promise of Schooling for Boys

Michael C. Reichert and Joseph Nelson

Extended editorial introduction to a double special issue on boys and schooling. Adopting a developmental perspective on boyhood, the editors frame these special issues on boys' education by reviewing research on their experience of schooling. In particular, they endeavor to illuminate boys' agency and opportunities they can find in schools for resistance to restrictive masculine regimes.

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"A Place to Be Myself"

The Critical Role of Schools in Boys' Emotional Development

Michael Reichert, Joseph Nelson, Janet Heed, Roland Yang and Wyatt Benson

Restrictions on boys’ capacities to process and to show emotion, however detrimental for their development, constitutes a key lesson of the masculinity curriculum learned in schools. To explore what schools can do to offer support for boys’ resistance to this curriculum, a series of studies has been conducted at a suburban independent school outside Philadelphia, PA. The present study uses a mixed-method design, including teachers, university-based researchers and students on the research team, to examine how boys’ participation in a peer counseling program influenced their sense of self and self-expression. A survey, focus groups, interviews, and observations supported the usefulness of the intervention for boys. The following qualitative themes emerged: (1) The constraining effect of the school’s masculinity culture on boys’ emotional development; (2) the value of a “safe space” in overcoming this culture and in promoting boys’ learning and connection; (3) boys’ ready development of new skills, especially in relation to emotional experiences, when invited to do so; (4) the deepening and broadening of boys’ friendships resulting from their self-disclosure and mutual support.

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Karl Frerichs, Peter Kuriloff, Celine Kagan, Joseph Nelson, Dwight Vidale and John Thornburg

"Reinventing Leadership Training Using a Participatory Research Model" by Karl Frerichs and Peter Kurlioff

"Reading for Masculinity in the High School English Classroom" by Celine Kagan

"Helping Boys Take Flight: A Peer-Mentoring Program for Boys of color at the Riverdale Country School" by Joseph Nelson and Dwight Vidale

"A Relational Approach to Teaching Boys" by John Thornburg