Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Teaching & Learning


The purpose of this study was to determine the consequences to emotionally disturbed elementary school girls of being in the minority in self-contained classes for emotionally disturbed children. This study was conducted in MISII (Modified Instructional Service II) classes, primarily for the emotionally disturbed, in the New York City Public Schools. The ratio of boys to girls was 6.5 to 1. A survey was distributed to teachers of such classes with at least one girl attending. Part 1 of the survey consisted of 36 statements on the following topics indicated by the literature as relevant to the situation of girls in such classes: gender ratios, aggression, restrictive environment and interaction. The teachers responded to the statements on a Likert scale.

Part 2 of the study consisted of a description of a typical school day with key words omitted. The teacher completed the description by supplying the word or phrase that best described the experience of the subject girl. Two scenarios were constructed from the responses: (1) the typical day of an aggressive girl, and (2) the typical day of a withdrawn girl. The responses were also tallied by number of girls. The study was based on 34 survey forms. Of the girls described in these forms, 20 were identified as aggressive, 9 as withdrawn, and 5 could not be categorized. The teachers' frequency and percentage of responses indicated distinctive patterns of behavior characteristic of the aggressive subjects and withdrawn subjects. The aggressive girls were seen as responding to frustration with verbal aggression, as having greater management needs than the boys in the class, were disliked by the boys, and their teachers' main concern about them was self control/socialization skills. The withdrawn girls responded to frustration by withdrawing, were seen as having management needs not as great as the boys, were liked by the boys, and their teachers main concern about them was poor academics.

It was concluded that, with the modification of grouping at least three girls together in a class, the self-contained class for the emotionally disturbed can be an appropriate placement for aggressive girls. Such classes do not generally meet the needs of withdrawn girls.

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Psychology Commons