by John Baughman
chapter treats one element of diversitygenderas a case study,
to illustrate how unexamined
behaviors and beliefs can perpetuate discrimination or create environments
not conducive to learning. Because much research has been done on the
effects of gender in the classroom, we include a separate chapter on this
topic. We recognize that gender is but one of the various factors which
influence your students' academic performance, but find the body of research
on this subject to be broad enough to fill a chapter of its own.
is one of the most fundamental ways we categorize people, whether consciously
or unconsciously. Often, gender expectations or stereotypes shape our
thoughts and interactions with others in subtle yet perceptible ways.
As a result, gender dynamics in the college classroom paradoxically remain
both obvious and often overlooked. Since the American Association of University
Women (AAUW) published the hallmark study How Schools Shortchange Girls:
A Study of the Major Findings on Girls and Education (1992), the effect
of gender on classroom dynamics has become an even more prominent topic
of educational research and discussion. Although this was not the first
study, it was one of the first to garner widespread attention and to emphasize
how gender influences not only what we teach, but also how we teach, and
how our students learn. As more and more of our students have grown up
in a time where gender equality is "both taken for granted and not
yet a reality" ("Tips for Teachers" 1), classroom gender
dynamics have become even more complicated to identify, much less address.
Nonetheless, being aware of the patterns of behavior described below,
as well as the teaching strategies that follow, will help you treat your
students equitably and encourage wider participation in your classroom.
read the following chapter, please keep in mind that many of the research
studies summarized below focus on gender differences in the aggregate.
Though some of these generalizations can help us understand how gender
affects classroom behavior of students and teachers, it is important to
remember that differences in linguistic styles or learning preferences
often associated with a particular gender are neither innate nor specific
to every man or woman. Thus, many female students will not exhibit the
behaviors or speech patterns described below and some male students will.
As a good rule of thumb, be sensitive to the following patterns of behavior,
but don't assume they will hold true for every male or female student.