Concerns About the Use of Gender Stereotypes
Various gender stereotypes occurred in the classroom create the so-called gender filter, making students act in accordance with sex-related expectations of others rather than with regards to their self-identification. In the given case study, Mr. Matthews notes that the teacher provides the opportunity for his students to control the situation by shaping the two groups. However, when students come up with the idea of gender division, he supports it and encourages that is, perhaps, not the best option. Elmore and Oyserman (2012) consider that “subtle situational cues about the link between one’s gender and future success influence not only identity content but also current effort on academic tasks, especially for boys” (p. 183). This means that male students tend to reduce their motivation for learning as a result of mocking and disparaging jokes like “letting the women win so that they don’t get mad”, not to mention females who have to encounter the direct discrimination.
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Another dynamics observed by Mr. Matthews relates to the perception of Mr. Williams regarding the given situation. It seems that the teacher feels comfortable when male and female students confront in the classroom. Even though he ultimately refocuses them on learning, the situation seems to be conventional and familiar to these students that expand gender-related bias. Thus, the teacher himself promotes gender-associated learning by assigning specific tasks and believing that it actually works well. As noted in the recent study by Giraldo and Colyar (2012), teachers’ gender performance affects those of students, serving as a behavioral pattern.
At this point, gender-stereotyped teaching evokes gender bias in students who adopt it both consciously and unintentionally, thus shaping discrimination against the opposite gender. Elaborating on the topic, it seems interesting to note the recent survey conducted by the prominent Jimmy Kimmel’s TV show. In particular, the video called Kids Explains Why Women Are Paid Less than Men reveals the outcome of gender stereotypes in the classroom.
For example, children provide such answers as “because people expect them to do less”, “because women work less hard”, “because girls behave strangely”, etc. (“Kids explain why women are paid less than men”, 2016). In other words, the unequal perception of girls can be observed even in childhood. In this connection, it becomes evident that there is an immediate need to eradicate such biased views of teachers and adult students and provide grounds for the adequate perception of gender in the classroom.
Constructive Feedback to Mr. Williams
In an attempt to compose constructive feedback to Mr. Williams, it seems appropriate to pinpoint some potential threats and difficulties transgender students or those who cannot identify their gender may encounter in the given classroom. First of all, such students will, perhaps, face the challenge of pertaining themselves to one or the other group on gender basis that may also cause mocking from other students. More to the point, the separation by gender stereotypes may create problems with peers in interaction with them. Many educators tend to ignore such students and their needs, thus affecting other students who are likely to behave in the same way (Ryan, Patraw, & Bednar, 2013).
The lack of relevant training and awareness of teachers, as well as insufficiently elaborated policies regarding this theme, leads to the inappropriate treatment of transgender students and learners with a non-specified identity.
To split adult students into teams, Mr. Williams could utilize the principle of random selection. It is possible to use stickers of two colors put in an opaque bag. Those who pick up red stickers will form one team, and others will compose the second team. Another method to engage students is to ask them to cross their arms across their chests. As a rule, approximately 50 percent cross right over left, and 50 percent do it vice versa. The mentioned methods present splitting into teams that are not associated with gender and ensure adequate treatment of every student along with inclusion.
Considering the role of Mr. Williams as an instructor and a mentor, it is possible to recommend him to reconsider his approach to gender issues. As specified by Ryan et al. (2013), there is a need to introduce teacher modeling that will guide students in questions on gender. For example, it is necessary to create a safe place for all students, eliminate the so-called “male jobs” and “female jobs”, use the inclusive language (e.g. learners and students instead of boys and girls), provide real-life examples, and challenge stereotypes when they occur in the classroom (Kitchen & Bellini, 2012).
The latter is especially important to address gender stereotypes and may be implemented via open discussions led by a teacher when all the students have the opportunity to express their views and receive an adequate reaction from others. To reinforce the existing gender stereotypes in the given classroom, Mr. Williams may initiate a specific lesson, discussing the role of gender, its essence, various aspects related to self-identification, etc., so that students may understand each other better and prevent stressful situations in the future. The lesson plan details may be observed in Appendix A.
Elmore, K. C., & Oyserman, D. (2012). If ‘we’can succeed,‘I’can too: Identity-based motivation and gender in the classroom. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 37(3), 176-185.
English language arts standards. (2017). Web.
Giraldo, E., & Colyar, J. (2012). Dealing with gender in the classroom: A portrayed case study of four teachers. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 16(1), 25-38.
Kids explain why women are paid less than men [Video file]. (2016). Web.
Kitchen, J., & Bellini, C. (2012). Making it better for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students through teacher education: A collaborative self-study. Studying Teacher Education, 8(3), 209-225.
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Ryan, C. L., Patraw, J. M., & Bednar, M. (2013). Discussing princess boys and pregnant men: Teaching about gender diversity and transgender experiences within an elementary school curriculum. Journal of LGBT Youth, 10(1), 83-105.
|Teaching gender diversity in the classroom.|
|Lesson Rationale||The adult learners tend to have established perceptions of gender and gender-related abilities, skills, and behavior, some of which may be stereotyped. In order to address these stereotypes, it is essential to teach adult students on gender diversity importance under the umbrella of multicultural studies (Kitchen & Bellini, 2012).|
|Standards||Anchor Standard 1 (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.1): “Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively” (“English language arts standards”, 2017, para. 1).|
|Desired Results/Learning Outcomes|| |
|Stage 1: Introduction to the topic (Professor – Class mode); |
Stage 2. Discussion of gender stereotypes, revealing gender roles and impacts as well as students’ perceptions (Group discussion mode);
Stage 3. Gender stereotypes: Disruptive consequences in education, workplace, family, etc. (Group discussion mode and Professor – Class modes);
Stage 4. How to create an appropriate and open learning atmosphere for all the students regardless of their gender? (Ryan et al., 2013) (Group discussion mode and Professor – Class modes);
Stage 5: Closing questions (Professor – Class mode).
|Materials Needed||Textbook and handout materials on types and consequences of gender stereotypes.|
|Assignment / Follow-up||Group assignment: Analyze gender stereotypes encountered by you, your family, friend, or any other person and suggest the ways to address that challenge.|