Classroom Practices for Gender
- 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 and boys to
be active learners by using manipulatives and
providing hands-on learning experiences.
- Use gender-free language in
- Use quality, precise feedback
to girls' as well as boys' answers - not just a nod or a "good."
- 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
boys 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.
Lesson Planning/Classroom Management
- 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 and boys an equal
amount of assistance and feedback.
- Ask students to discuss
concepts orally. This helps students to learn the vocabulary of the
- 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 and to
participate in extracurricular math and science activities.
- Plan activities that use
technology in real life scenarios. (Do the same for math and science.)
- Provide opportunities for
female and male 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.
- 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 and male 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 them selves taking place in those same roles.
- Provide learning experiences
for girls and boys 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
- Use gender inclusive
- Avoid generalizations that
stereotype women or men 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.
- 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, males and diverse races.
- 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 and male 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 and boy
students and female and male colleagues.