Gender In Education

Essay by cmc210University, Master'sA+, October 2004

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Gender, what does it tell us? It doesn't furnish as much information as previously theorized. One's sex does provide details of biological makeup, but it isn't a predictor of an individual's interests, emotional characteristics, or academic skills and abilities, as we were once led to believe. In fact, girls as a group and boys as a group are more alike than they are different, but research design and theory is based on the concept of "statistically significant differences" instead of similarities, so many misconceptions still exist today.

There are different conflicting theories for the gender differences we observe. Although the ideas differ, their theories generate from one common theme, society. Some feel that the differences arise from expectations and experiences within the female's family, others think that our education system is to blame, and a portion believe that myths and stereotypes keep perpetuating the 'gender difference cycle'. It doesn't seem unrealistic to believe that all three have a significant impact.

As educators, we can't do much to change or influence how parents raise their daughters, but we are able to create an environment that equally encourages and challenges both genders while also providing opportunities for everyone to step outside of stereotypical boundaries. This may seem easy because we've been taught to treat everyone fairly and equally. We've also been instructed to be nonjudgmental with our diverse population, yet studies show that gender education begins as early as kindergarten and continues throughout college.

A variety of research has demonstrated that, although unintentional or on a subconscious level, teachers treat male students much differently than their female counterparts. Teachers consistently ask more questions, provide more follow-up or feedback, and have more overall interaction with males. Females are required to complete more work independently, receive more criticism when work is incorrect or incomplete,