30 May 2015
Deborah Tannen’s “How Male and Female Students Use Language Differently”
In her essay, “How Male and Female Students Use Language Differently”, Deborah Tannen states that classrooms are more receptive to most men than to most women because our educational system puts more emphasis on challenging debate rather than open-ended discussions. (From Inquiry to Academic Writing) From my own personal classroom experience I agree with her claims.
My educational background is homeschooling. As a homeschooler I participated in many classes outside my home. I can clearly identify with the woman who said, “I have the urge to participate but often feel I should have something more interesting/relevant/wonderful/intelligent to say!!” (From Inquiry to Academic Writing) I felt others in the class had more meaningful things to say so I kept quiet and took notes. I regretted not speaking up more and feel I missed the opportunity to get the most out of my classes by keeping silent.
As a young woman I can relate to Tannen’s saying that women tend to feel more comfortable speaking up in a small group than in a challenging debate. Women, in my opinion, feel more relaxed in a conversational type atmosphere. As females we tend to talk to and make friends with people who we can share our problems and confidences with. I am much more confident talking in a smaller group of people than in a larger one.
Growing up with an older brother and several male cousins I also find that I agree with Tannen’s statements of how males learn to communicate. She says that men use a different verbal ritual, one in which they use a war of words to compete with each other to develop clever insults. (From Inquiry to Academic Writing) I have seen this firsthand with my brother, cousins and their friends. The insults were for the most part good-natured but it isn’t something I have encountered with female friends.
Cited: Greene, Stuart, and Lidinsky, April. From Inquiry to Academic Writing: A Text and Reader.
Boston: Bedford/St. Martin 's, 2012. 345-349 Print.
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