Gender and Middle School

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What can middle schools do to provide opportunities for girls and boys to enhance areas of strengths throughout all academic and social activity?

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  • Students are each handed a piece of paper at the beginning of class. They are instructed not to look at what is on the papers others have. They are given one of the following tasks:a. List the 8 most important characteristics that an ideal person should have.b. List the 8 most important characteristics that an ideal woman should have.c. List the 8 most important characteristics that an ideal man should have.Lists of the characteristics they come up with for each three categories are written on the board. Students discuss and evaluate the degree of overlap between perceptions of the ideal person and the male and female stereotypes.
  • My designated topic for this tutorial is: “Given that current research has identified potential differences between a "male” and "female" brain, how might middle schools accommodate those differences in a proactive way?” and “Specifically, what can middle schools do to provide opportunities for girls and boys to enhance areas of strengths throughout all academic and social activity?“ I have chosen to firstly look at whether it is proven that differences between male and female brains can lead to later differences in educational outcomes.
  • Firstly, let’s look at the statement ‘research has identified there are potential differences between a "male and "female" brain’.All the sources I investigated agreed that the brain is an intricate organ but research is still in its infancy. The statements on the slide all refer to the current belief that differences in the structure of the brain do not appear to impact on intelligence or educational outcomes.OECD – Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in the PISA (Program for International Student Development) reportFrom the text book ‘Teaching Middle Years’ by Pendergast and Bahr3. Dr. Diamond is professor of Anatomy/Neuroanatomy at the University of California, Berkeley and comments further on the research.So far, no live human beings, males or females, have been willing to give up their brain tissue to use in experiments. But all is not lost: The rat brain, oddly enough, has the basic components and major structures in its little pecan-size brain that we humans have in our large cantaloupe-size brain.
  • If there is no conclusive evidence that differences in the structure of the brain do not appear to impact on intelligence or educational outcomes, why are we seeing differences in achievement and engagement?
  • Let’s look at some statistics which show differences in achievement.For instance the differences in student achievement between boys and girls as listed in the PISA report ‘Equally Prepared for Life? How 15 year old boys and girls perform at school’ (OECD, 2009 p.9)In PISA 2000 reading was the major area of assessment, in 2003 it was mathematics and in 2006 it was science.
  • Results from Naplan also show some differences in achievement.
  • And finally, take a look at these figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Boys are disengaging from school at a greater scale than girls and it appears more pronounced over the past 15 years. How can we as Middle School Teachers prevent this continuing record of disengagement whilst addressing issues around boys and literacy and girls and numeracy
  • Let’s look at boys and girls in the classroom. What is your first impression of this image?What is the difference between the sex of a person or their gender?
  • A description of the difference between sex and gender in the Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences Curriculum at Monash University.Gender Roles establish sex-related behavioural expectations which are culturally defined and therefore vary from society to society and from era to era. (Crooks & Bauer p. 144)
  • David and Victoria Beckham and Beauty and the Beast (males look strong and protective – females appear fragile and in need of protection)Take for instance the Simpsons. Bart is portrayed as naughty and playful.Lisa is portrayed as intelligent and well-behavedHomer is the breadwinner / Marg is the homemaker
  • What are some common gender stereotypes Boys - Girls??By the time we, as Middle School Teachers, welcome boys and girls into the classroom, they will have been exposed to many of the stereotypical expectations of gender.
  • Love this cartoon and the idea that it expresses. Are the statistics on boys’ literacy skills and girls’ numeracy skills a result of students’ attitudes shaped by gender expectations? Should we recognise our students’ weaknesses as an integral part of the diversity in our classroom and address our classroom practices to provide the support needed?
  • Embracing the understandings and know-how of each learner brings us back to getting to know our students. What are their interests and how can we develop authentic learning experiences around the interests which will engage them.
  • Encourage students to think about how the genders are stereotyped. This is just one activity developed by the Curriculum Corporation. We also need to be aware that we may be teaching to a diverse multicultural classroom where expectations of gender can also be impacted by culture. For instance, a brochure prepared by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (2007) about the Australian Sudanese community warns that “Traditional Sudanese age and gender roles may be significantly different from those in Australia”
  • One last thought…..It is essential that we facilitate a classroom environment of mutual respect and social support. When students are able to share personal experiences and connect on a emotional level they are more likely to feel empathy for each others’ differences.
  • Gender and Middle School

    1. 1. Welcome Question: Given that current research has identified potential differences between a "male” and "female" brain, how might middle schools accommodate those differences in a proactive way?EDUC6500 Presented by Jannine McGarry
    2. 2. Specifically, what can middle schools do to provide opportunities for girls and boys to enhance areas ofstrengths throughout all academic and social activity?
    3. 3. What evidence is there to show differences in male / female brains? Despite differences in the structure of the brains of females and males, there is no conclusive evidence that these differences lead to later differences in educational outcomes. (OECD, 2009 p.9)It is important to remember that the brains of males and females sharegreater similarities than differences and that scientists are quick to notethere isn’t any evidence to suggest any significant differences in intelligence.(Pendergast & Bahr, 2011 p. 95) A basic question being asked is whether the differences between male and female brains outweigh the similarities or vice versa. Some researchers report finding more differences within the sexes than between the sexes. (Diamond, 2003)
    4. 4. Why is so much literaturefocused on the differences between boys and girls in the classroom?
    5. 5. Programme for International Student Assessment Equally Prepared for Life? How 15 year old boys and girls perform in schoolSome key findings include:• In reading in PISA 2000, females significantly outscored males in all countries.• In mathematics in PISA 2003, males often outscored females.• In science overall in PISA 2006, there was no significant difference between males and females in the level of performance. However, when examining the different science competencies, females were better than males at identifying scientific issues, while males were better at explaining phenomena scientifically. OECD (2009)
    6. 6. NAPLAN – Qld results
    7. 7. Gender differences• The following graph shows that in spelling, writing and grammar and punctuation the girls’ results were better than the boys’ with the girls generally performing at the national average except at the Year 3 level. The gap in reading is not nearly as significant, while the boys have a slight edge in numeracy overall and are close to the national average Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (2008)
    8. 8. Statistics retrieved from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 1984 - 2010 ABS (2011)
    9. 9. Gender• Sex refers to biological differences; chromosomes, hormonal profiles, internal and external sex organs.• Gender describes the characteristics that a society or culture delineates as masculine or feminine. Nobelius, 2004
    10. 10. Gender and StereotypesFrom infancy, our culture teaches what it means to be a boy or agirl. From the colour of our clothes to the toys we play with.(Aksu, 2005 p.14)Gender shaping occurs in advertisements,magazines, and even in childrens’ cartoons.
    11. 11. Nursery RhymesWhat are little boys made of?Frogs and snails And puppy-dogs tails,Thats what little boys are made of.What are little girls made of?Sugar and spice And everything nice,Thats what little girls are made of. A nursery rhyme by Robert Southey
    12. 12. Common Gender StereotypesBoys GirlsLoud QuietMessy NeatAthletic CleanActive ArtsyMath & Science orientated EmotionalNot emotional SubmissiveNaughty English orientatedAggressive Maternal
    13. 13. What Middle School teachers can doTeachers need to consider the expectations they have ofstudents of both sexes and adopt strategies to raise thelevels of self-confidence and motivation of students in thoseareas where each are weak. OECD (2009)
    14. 14. What Middle School teachers can do Recognise the diversity in the classroom by acknowledging and embracing the understandings and know-how each diverse learner brings to the learning experience. Develop strategies based on the Productive Pedagogies
    15. 15. In the Middle School classroomPromote a sense of community and mutual respect iestudent-teacher and student-student. • encourage class participation - allow a wait time before choosing someone to answer a question • Promote cooperative small group work • Rearrange classroom setting to add to personal connections in classroom • Acknowledge both men and women’s contributions eg science • Incorporate the concept of stereotyping through planned activities
    16. 16. Diversity in the classroom
    17. 17. Gender expectations in educationhttp://bigthink.com/ideas/6064http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZPmXfSc0Rw
    18. 18. Bibliography:Aksu, B. (2005). Barbie against superman: Gender stereotypes and gender equity in the classroom. Journal of Language and Linguisitic Studies, vol.l1(1), pp. 12-21. Retrieved from the Academic A database.Australian Bureau of Statistics (2011). Year 7/8 to Year 12 apparent retention rate (a) – 1984-2010. Cat. No. 4102.0. Canberra: Author. Retrieved March 14, 2011, from Retrieved March 18, 2011, from http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0Main+Features40Mar+2011Curriculum Corporation (n.d.). Gender Stereotypes. Retrieved March 20, 2011, from http://www.curriculum.edu.au/verve/_resources/Gender_stereotypes.pdfCrooks, R and Baur, K. (2010). Our sexuality. Cengage Learning. Retrieved March 24, 2011, from http://books.google.com.au/books?id=MpRnPtmdRVwC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=falseDepartment of Immigration and Citizenship (2007). Sudanese Community Profile. Retrieved March 25, 2011, from http://www.immi.gov.au/living-in-australia/delivering-assistance/government-programs/settlement-planning/_pdf/community-profile- sudan.pdfDiamond, M. (2003). Male and Female Brains. Retrieved March 15, 2011, from http://education.jhu.edu/newhorizons/Neurosciences/articles/Male%20and%20Female%20Brains/index.htmlMinisterial Council on Education, Training, Employment and Youth Affairs (2008). Analysis of Queensland students’ NAPLAN performance. Retrieved March 20, 2011, from http://www.qsa.qld.edu.au/downloads/early_middle/3579_naplan_performance_rept_08.pdfNobelius, A. (2004). What is the Difference between sex and Gender? http://www.med.monash.edu/gendermed/sexandgender.htmlOECD (2009). Equally prepared for life? How 15-year-old boys and girls perform in school . Retrieved March 19, 2011, from http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/59/50/42843625.pdfPendergast, D. & Bahr, N. (2011). Teaching middle years : Rethinking curriculum, pedagogy and assessment (2nd ed.). Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin

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