The Equitable Classroom Practices Institute developed the following strategy to cultivate gender-equity in the classroom. Teachers developed implementation plans that consist of the following strategies that cultivate gender equity in classrooms. For the most part, instructional strategies are based on the works of Anderson, Brooks, and Reavis, 1998; and Morrow, 1993; and Sadker & Sadker, 1994. The following practices are divided into the three main areas of gender bias, Sadker, 1994 and are proven best practices for all students.
STUDENT / TEACHER INTERACTION
* Call on girls as often as you do boys, and be sure to ask the girls some of the higher- level cognitive questions. Research shows that both male and female teachers initiate more interaction with boys, and on higher cognitive levels. * Have high expectations of both male and female students. Do not encourage learned helplessness by over-nurturing the girls. * Encourage girls to be active learners by using manipulatives and providing hands-on learning experiences. * Use gender-free language in classroom discourse.
* Use quality, precise feedback to girls' as well as boys' answers - not just a nod or a "good." * Keep an interaction journal. Keep tract of the quantity and quality of interactions with students. * Make eye contact with all students and call them by name. * Provide adequate wait time, perhaps 3 or 5 seconds, before calling on a student to answer the question. Females often wait until they have formulated an answer before they raise their hands; boys often raise their hands immediately and then formulate an answer. * Do not interrupt girls or let other students do so.
* Refrain from recruiting students to perform classroom "chores" based on traditional gender roles. Do not ask only boys to assist in carrying boxes and girls to clean the bookshelves. * Be a model of non-bias behavior for not only your classroom, but also the entire school.
* Mentally divide your room into quadrants. If students in all quadrants do not participate, you can say, "Let's hear from someone in the back right corner." * Balance cooperative and competitive activities. Research shows that most girls learn more readily in cooperative situations. * Establish rules for participation and rotate jobs within each group. * Give girls an equal amount of assistance and feedback. Boys usually receive more help and praise that builds self-esteem. * Ask students to discuss concepts orally. This helps students to learn the vocabulary of the subject. * Encourage all students to take additional math and science courses. Adult encouragement proves to be a major factor in students' decision-making processes. * Encourage girls to participate in extracurricular math and science activities. Some schools have organized Girls' Clubs where female students interact with mentors in the fields of math, science, technology, and engineering. * Sponsor a Girls' Technology Club. Plan activities that use technology in real life scenarios. (Do the same for math and science.) * Provide opportunities for female students to teach lessons or tutor younger students or even parents in math, science, and technology. As a teacher, you will ascertain that the girls really know the content and the opportunity to verbalize such fosters higher self-esteem. * Stress safety precautions instead of dangers. Girls will sometimes be reluctant to participate in lab activities if they seem too dangerous. * Insist that girls as well as boys learn to set up and use all electronic equipment: VCR's, video and digital cameras, printers, scanners, DVD players, etc… * Address inappropriate behavior with a fair and respectful attitude, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic class of students. Video tape yourself to monitor your actions. * Use computer and lab partners. Again, most girls work better in cooperative groups or teams. * Introduce lessons with an overview. Females learn more readily from the "big picture" rather than from disconnected details. * Provide female role models. Research shows that girls need to see females in certain professions or career choices in order to visualize themselves in the same or similar roles; whereas boys need only to hear about certain roles to imagine themselves taking place in those same roles. * Provide learning experiences for girls to develop spatial visualization skills. * Use writing to help students express and clarify their feelings and thoughts (e.g., math autobiographies, science journals). * Create an attractive classroom environment. Research shows that girls learn better in an aesthetically pleasing environment. * To appeal to students with various learning styles, encourage students to solve problems by multiple methods.
* Use gender inclusive language.
* Avoid generalizations that stereotype women in certain roles. * Encourage a "can do" attitude; teach students to give themselves credit. Females tend to credit their achievements to luck rather than to their ability. * Analyze curricular materials for bias and supplement as needed. * Take girls to an Expanding Your Horizons conference in your area. These conferences sponsored by AAUW, provide female students with access to workshops led by female professionals in the areas of math, science, technology, and engineering. * Use toys to teach concepts in math and science. Traditionally, toys that cultivate understanding of math and science concepts are typically marketed as "boy's toys." * Set aside an area in the classroom to serve as a resource center that includes materials in career opportunities in math, science, technology, and engineering. * Diversify classroom resources to include females and diverse races. * Celebrate Women's History Month.
* Assign biographical essays to students. Focus on male and female inventors and females in other areas of math, science, and technology. * Acknowledge the contributions of both men and women to mathematics and science via posters, reports, examples, story problems, etc. * Provide current events representative of women and other minorities with varying economic, legal, and social concerns. * Invite quest speakers of both genders to speak to students. * Incorporate students' comments into lectures. This technique validates the students' understanding of concepts. * Help female students value themselves. Girls often have a severe drop in self -esteem during the middle school years. Women teachers need to model a healthy self-respect and male teachers need to have respect for both girl students and female colleagues.
SANDRA ACKER’S READING
Sandra Acker’s reading is about the three types of feminist theory called the liberal feminists, social feminists, and radical feminists. Mitchell and Oakly (1986) define feminist theory as a question of deceptive simplicity. Feminist theory, like feminism itself, is multifaceted and complex. Sandra’s aim in this paper is to draw out the implications of certain feminist frameworks for the analysis of education. I really like her research because it taught me lot of ideas about the important terms. Generally speaking, I do believe and agree that all people are created equal and should not be denied equality of opportunity because of gender based on liberal feminist. For example, I think we are created equally so that everyone can have access to education in their respective community. They also focus on social change through the construction of legislation and regulation of employment practices. Because we live in modern world whereby everything is change from the way it was before. According to a group of research women, they said that we are a global economic world highlighted by technology and when we look at the past it does not apply anymore. I agree with them, because speaking of employment now, women have the higher level of knowledge (smarter and speak better English than men).
GIRLS AND BOYS – NOT AS DIFFERENT AS WE THOUGHT
For decades, psychologists and researchers have been telling us the same old thing — boys and girls are fundamentally different. Their brains are different, their childhood development is different, their perceptions of the world around them are different. It’s the old nature versus nurture debate, with many parents unmistakably believing that nature is the primary force in a child’s development and that all parents can do is hang on for the ride.
But a new book by Lise Eliot, PhD, suggests that many of these differences are what we, the adults, make of them. She’s done the equivalent of a meta-analysis on the research foundation for gender differences between boys and girls, and put into a consumer-digestible format. The results are summarized in her new book, Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow Into Troublesome Gaps — And What We Can Do About It. As Newsweek summarized:
How we perceive children — sociable or remote, physically bold or reticent — shapes how we treat them and therefore what experiences we give them. Since life leaves footprints on the very structure and function of the brain, these various experiences produce sex differences in adult behavior and brains — the result not of innate and inborn nature but of nurture.
The gist of her findings is that many of the differences that parents believe are innate or nature-led are not. Motor skills? The same. Ability to have deep emotional feelings? The same. Aggressiveness? The same. Why do we observe such differences in little boys and girls? Because parents often unconsciously reinforce the gender stereotypes within their children –
“Oh, little Sally can’t run as quickly as little Bobby.”
“Oh, Mikey is always so aggressive; Angela is an angel in comparison!”
“Since little Eric doesn’t seem to express many emotions, he must not be as emotional as little Hannah, who has an outburst at the drop of a hat!”
Our children become a self-fulfilling prophecy — they turn into the kids we, by and large, imagine them to be. Parents don’t usually do this consciously, of course. It is the stereotyped roles hammered into us at an early age, reinforced by consumerism and toy makers and commercials, and our own mothers and fathers. Boys are athletic and competitive, while girls are less so, and more social and emotional. These are stereotypes we imprint on our children; they are not naturally this way.
There are some differences the research supports with robust data. Dr. Eliot found that girls write better and more easily than most boys, and that boys have a better sense of spatial navigation than girls (like in reading a map).
And hormones affecting our ability to think and reason and be in control of our emotions? The evidence was far weaker than Dr. Eliot had imagined:
On the other hand, I was surprised at how weak the evidence is for hormonal effects on our mood and thinking abilities. While prenatal testosterone has some pretty dramatic effects on play behavior and, probably, later sexual orientation, the sex hormones that rise at puberty and remain elevated in adults have surprisingly modest effects on our thinking — except for the increased sex drive that testosterone produces in both men and women.
What Dr. Eliot is saying isn’t really new. We’ve known for years that infant brains are extremely malleable. But she’s put it into simple language and has done a good job summarizing the vast body of research to really help put all of that data into some context. Her argument that small differences at birth become amplified over time as we all work to reinforce the gender stereotypes resonates.
Children must learn to stray from their comfort zones, with parents helping them try new things and explore new ways of expressing themselves that perhaps don’t feel natural at first, but will often come with time. Boys, for instance, should be encouraged and reinforced for being able to express their feelings. The book not only goes into what few differences really exist, but also explains what parents can do to help encourage their kids to go outside of their comfort zones.