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When working on an assignment, would you rather work individually, with a partner, or in a group?
Give a specific example of what a teacher in the social sciences department can do to make their lessons more appealing to you.
What types of resources would give you a better understanding of the Social Sciences curriculum and strike your interest? (I.e. Videos, PowerPoint Presentations, Worksheets, etc.)
*Please note that sufficient space was placed between each question for the students to write.
When looking at whether or not the size of the classroom impacts the learning process of students, overall, the different genders had various points of view depending on their age groups. At fifteen years of age, females more readily agreed that the number of students in the social science classrooms impacts learning. When asked about the classroom's size and its influence on education, one fifteen years old female stated that the amount of pupils "sometimes" affects learning and said that: "Sometimes, because it is harder to be recognized by the teacher if they have a larger class". Sixteen year old males, however, had the greater consent on the
effect that the number of students plays on the schooling process. One student remarked: "Yes because then I have less 1 on 1 time with the teacher". In the case where the students did not fit into either neither the fifteen nor the sixteen year of age categories, there were an equal number
of students in both sex divisions that either agreed or disagreed that the amount of students in the class acts upon the quality of learning that takes place. Thus, females believed that there is an influence and this was made clear through the following statement: "Yes, I prefer smaller classrooms since I can focus better when less people are in a class". Males, however, believe the contrary and one student reasoned that the number of students does not affect their learning: "No, because I'm independent". The tables in addendum 1 show a visual representation of the results collected.
Teacher's interaction with his/her students was also examined in my study. It was found that, in general, both genders agreed that participation in class was impacted by the teacher's relations with the students:
Educators have long assumed gender gaps in achievement would be
eradicated if boys and girls were taught the same subjects in the same
way at the same time. They were wrong (McTaggart, 17).
Females, in fact, regardless of age all consented that the way the teacher interrelate with their students affected the level of participation. This was stated clearly by one fifteen years old who remarked: "...if your teacher is more calm and relaxed and makes the class more fun & educational at the same time, it motivates us and makes us participate". This observation is also affirmed through the literature review:
Results indicated that students with a more positive perception of school personnel also reported a greater sense of school membership. Male students
and older students had a more negative perception of administrators relative
to female and younger students (Smith-Doerr, p. 11).
Agreement between the sexes in regards to the level of participation and the teacher's interaction was seen most evidently at the youngest age group of fifteen years old. One male student in that group stated: ".if the teacher seems kind then I would be less intimidated to participate". Therefore, it can be easily concluded from these data that the style in which the teacher interacts with the students definitely influences the level of participation in class. Campbell's research on gender equity for Science teachers affirms this belief:
Teachers knowingly or not, influence how girls view scienceâ€¦girls receive
less teacher attention; that textbooks and other educational materials are
gender-biased; and the result is that girls have little self-confidence in their
abilities in mathematics, science, and technology (Campbell, p. 6).
Lesson delivery methodologies preferences were also examined. Students were asked to choose the method that they enjoy the most in terms of lesson delivery. As shown in the table in addendum 1, male students at the age of fifteen years old chose class discussion as the most preferred way of lesson acquisition. Sixteen years old male students' preference tied between lectures and class discussion. Finally, males who did not fit in neither the fifteen nor the sixteen year old categories rated lectures as the top choice in regards to lesson delivery. Females' choice in terms of the most enjoyed lesson delivery method was very similar to males as illustrated in the table and graph in the addendum. Just like the students in the fifteen, sixteen years old, and the "other" categories, fifteen and sixteen years old females chose class discussion while
students in the "other" category picked lectures as the number one preference in terms of lesson delivery. Typically, class discussion is not a major component of Science curriculum and such women may not feel comfortable in the Science classroom environment. In fact,
They are more likely than their male counterparts, however, to drop out of
Science and engineering, both in academia and in industry; those who re-
Main earn significantly less, gets fewer honours and awards, and struggles more
than their male colleagues. Social scientists have largely concluded that the
underlying reasons for such outcomes are more likely attributable to gender
discrimination and systemic bias than innate differences (Jesse, p. 833).
Discussion and Analysis
From my observations, the meaning I ascribe is that gender differences in classroom interaction play a crucial role on the school experiences for both sexes at all ages. Boys seem to be less affected by the size of the class and thus, as stated by Howe, "contribute more to whole-class interaction than girls, regardless of whether we look at the number of utterances or the quality of their content" (Pg. 15). Therefore, it becomes apparent that girls generally are more likely to avoid tasks in which there is a likelihood of failure or embarrassment in the class. So, they tend to not believe in themselves more, and they appear to not want to subject themselves to the most challenging learning situations such as those present in oral brainstorming and question and answer sessions. These barriers that girls place on themselves are more internal than external.
These internal barriers are attitudes, expectations, and fears that result from subtle differences in the way that males and females are socialized:
Notably, this gender gap often does not emerge until high school, leading
some to conclude that these differences in ability and preference between
male and female students are not sex differences caused by genetic, chemical
or biological factors, but instead gender differences learned through
socialization (Lewin, 14).
Males are often more apt to learn things for fun while females often feel they have to do well to gain approval and thus feel a greater stress in classroom situations. This is significant because it puts into perspective the way the different genders learn and how the teacher should be aware that their actions and interactions with the students could either reinforce or remove these gender difference hindrances.
Through my in-class survey, I was able to gather information that addressed the differences of classroom interactions between the two genders. Through this research, I am able to say that the results found supported my hypothesis about males' greater role in the classroom's interface. Males' learning was found to be less negatively affected by the class size; they were to a lesser