GIRLS%20AND%20BOYS%20AND%20EQUITY%20IN%20MATHEMATICS:%20TEACHERS - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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GIRLS%20AND%20BOYS%20AND%20EQUITY%20IN%20MATHEMATICS:%20TEACHERS

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Title: GIRLS%20AND%20BOYS%20AND%20EQUITY%20IN%20MATHEMATICS:%20TEACHERS


1
GIRLS AND BOYS AND EQUITY IN MATHEMATICS
TEACHERS BELIEFS
2

3
THE ABC of NUMERACY riitta_at_soro.fi
4
A basic belief underlying this presentation is
that females social learning and beliefs about
themselves with regard to mathematics are
different from those of males. The entire field
of mathematics might be enriched if more young
females were given the opportunity to grow into
mathematical scholars and give their unique
contribution.
5
University of Turku Department of Mathematics
Male Female
Professors 6
Docents 22
Lecturers 8
Senior Assistants 6
Assistants 2
Total 44 5
  • retrieved from http//www.math.utu.fi/henkilokunt
    a/

1
4

6
Females have not elected to participate in
advanced mathematics courses or in
mathematics-related careers at the same level as
males have. Girls tend to underestimate their
math ability in school, even though their actual
performance is as good as or better than that of
the boys. Mathematics has been and continues to
be a critical filter to careers and occupations,
which are interesting, challenging, have high
status, and are usually well-paid.
7
Elizabeth Fennema Mathematics is a unique
product of human culture. Permitting females to
understand this culture is important both for
their own appreciation of the beauty of
mathematics and the transmission of this culture
to future generations. Fennema, E. 1995.
Mathematics, Gender and Research. In B. Grevholm
G. Hanna (eds.) Gender and Mathematics
Education. Lund Lund University Press, 21-38.
8
Defining Equity
9

In this presentation the word equity is used
instead of equality. In some aspects "equality"
is not synonymous with "equity. Thus, rather
than striving for equality in the meaning of
sameness amongst girls and boys, teachers
should promote equity which reflects the needs
and strengths of both groups. Merriam-Webster
On-Line Dictionary
equity justice according to natural law or
right specifically freedom from bias or
favouritism
equality equal (1) of the same measure,
quantity, amount, or number as another 2)
identical in mathematical value or logical
denotation
10
What is gender equity (equality)? Council of
Europe defines
  • Gender equality means an equal visibility,
    empowerment and participation of both sexes in
    all spheres of public and private life.
  • Gender equality is the opposite of gender
    inequality, not of gender difference.

11
Gender equity in mathematics education
  • Judgements on educational equity have been based
    on three different definitions of equality
  • equal opportunity
  • equal treatment
  • equal outcome.

12
(1) equal opportunity
Many teachers believe that equity has been
reached since there are no formal borders and
the co-educational school system provides equal
opportunity to elect mathematics. However there
are far more boys than girls in advanced math
classrooms.
13
(2) equal treatment
  • This second definition is also problematic.
    Teachers may believe that they treat boys and
    girls the same way. Classroom observations show
    that this does not prevail.
  • Males interact more frequently with their
    teachers. Teachers have different achievement
    expectations and they vary their explanations for
    success and failures depending on the sex of the
    student.
  • Even, if the teacher strives to equal treatment
    of girls and boys, girls and boys may perceive it
    differently.

14
(3) equity as equal outcome
  • If equity in mathematics is defined as equal
    educational outcome, there should not be gender
    differences in achievement or participation or in
    how males and females feel about themselves and
    mathematics.
  • This third definition is consistent with the
    definition of equality Council of Europe has
    given i. e. to require equal visibility,
    empowerment and participation of both sexes.
  • Equity in this sense has not been reached.

15
The Gender Problem in Mathematics
  • There are widely differing perceptions of what
    constitutes the so-called gender and mathematics
    problem. The starting point and the assumptions
    behind it are questionable.
  • Ernest has listed five views of gender and maths
    problem. Each of the views is connected to a
    different educational ideology and to a different
    socially located interest group.
  • Ernest, P. 1998. Changing Views of The
    Gender Problem in Mathematics. In V.
    Walkerdine, Counting girls out Girls and
    Mathematics (new edition) pp. 1-14. London Virago

.
16
Five views of gender and maths problem
  1. Fixed biological differences
  2. Society needs workforce
  3. The ablest women to be encouraged
  4. Girls/women lack confidence
  5. Distorted social construction of gender roles

17
1. Fixed biological differences
  • Fixed biological differences make males better at
    maths.
  • Attempts at equal opportunities are undesirable
    political interventions in the natural state of
    affairs.

18
2. Society needs workforce The situation of
female under-participation should be improved for
benefit of society. Well-educated workforce of
both men and women is needed, even if, as many in
this group believe, females are inferior at
mathematics.
  • 3. The ablest women to be encouraged
  • Maths ability is inherited and primarily male. In
    the interest of mathematics this group want also
    the ablest women to be encouraged to progress as
    far as their nature will allow them.

19
4. Girls/women lack confidence
  • The gender and mathematics problem is due to the
    lack of confidence and poor mathematical
    attitudes of girls and women, i. e.
  • it is an individual problem.
  • The solution is to encourage and support girls
    and women more in mathematics.

20
5. Distorted social construction of gender roles
Gender inequity is due to underlying sexism and
stereotyping in society in maths. Gendered
identities, gender roles, are socially
constructed and mathematics is stereotyped as
male and femininity as non mathematical.
21
  • If mathematics is understood to be
    stereotypically male and unfeminine, it means
    that girls must choose to be feminine or to
    choose to be successful at mathematics.
  • For some women it is possible to opt for both,
    especially for those, who have been encouraged to
    develop their mathematical talents by significant
    male others (like their fathers) during the
    formative adolescent years, but for many others
    it is a strong barrier and an inhibiting force.

22
A problem of the views of the utility of
mathematics?
  • If we want more women to choose math-based
    careers it's not enough to try to raise girls'
    confidence levels. Their career choices are often
    based on human values. Girls, also boys, should
    be demonstrated how mathematically based sciences
    can improve the world.

23
GIRLS AND BOYS AND EQUITY IN MATHEMATICS
TEACHERS BELIEFS
Some results of my study
24
  • The focus of my doctoral dissertation was to
    examine
  • (1) teachers beliefs about differences of boys
    and girls as learners of mathematics, and
  • (2) teachers beliefs about gender equity in
    mathematics education and how it could be
    reached.
  • Finnish secondary school (13-15 year olds)
    teachers of mathematics, 110 female and 94 male,
    answered to a questionnaire. One year later ten
    of the respondents were interviewed.

25
GIRLS BOYS
Boys and girls essential differences as math
learners
  • 145 characterizations in total 105
    characterizations in total
  • conscientious 35 idle
    17 diligent, hard-working 34 reasoning,
    intellectual 13 rote-learner 12
    careless 11
  • lack of selfconfidence 12 insight,
    creative 9 routin-doer 10 selfconfident
    8 rule-follower, copies 8 venturous
    7 exercising 5 problemsolver 5
    persistent 4 not persistent
    5

26
What are girls and boys essential differences
as math learners?
  • The most prominent difference concerned working.
    Girls are painstaking and diligent and boys are
    idle.
  • Secondly cognitive skills were emphazised, girls
    tend to routines and boys use their power of
    reason.
  • The third difference was found in attitudes, boys
    are venturous but girls lack self-confidence.
  • 14 of the teachers did not believe in essential
    differences.

27
Describe in a few words a girl / a boy who is
achieving high in mathematics
  • 30 of the teachers described a high achieving
    girl and a high achieving boy with same or nearly
    same words.
  • But the great majority of teachers mentioned
    different factors for girls and boys high
    achievement. The factors for boys were more
    varied and many-sided than those of girls.

28
A HIGH ACHIEVING GIRL A HIGH ACHIEVING
BOY descriptions (tot. 320)
descriptions (tot. 250)
  • diligent 82 diligent 23
  • conscientious 66 conscientious 20
  • (somewhat) talented 15 (naturally) talented 20
  • quiet 11 perceiving 15
  • careful 11 intellectual 19
  • bright 11 bright 14

29
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31
Teachers beliefs about gender equity Question
1. What is the best way to treat boys and girls
equitably? (hintsno attention to gender, equal
treatment, girls and boys needs, favour the
weaker) Question 2. Is it necessary to bring
up gender equity in math class and how do you do
it?
32
Teachers were categorized under three labels
according to their answer on addressing gender
equity
  • (1) students have no gender (41 )
  • (2) equal treatment (38 )
  • (3) girls and boys needs (21 )
  • (4) favour the weaker (0 )

33
Students have no gender
  • Approximately 41 of the teachers actively
    denied the existence of gender equity issues or
    tried to behave as if they were gender blind.
    They gave responses such as
  • I dont bother about gender, I just teach.
  • I treat a student as a person not as a boy or a
    girl.
  • I try to overlook gender.
  • Mathematics and teaching mathematics is gender
    free.

34
Equal treatment
  • 38 of the teachers defined equity as equal
    treatment. This category differs from the former
    one, of negative awareness, in that the students
    of these teachers were girls and boys. These
    teachers did not actively reject the possibility
    of inequity.
  • The teachers did not usually define what they
    meant with equal treatment. They addressed equity
    by paying attention to all students and they
    avoided emphasizing differences.
  • I require the same performance from girls and
    boys. Nowadays also girls dare, there is not so
    big difference.

35
Girls and boys needs
  • 21 of the responses were classified as
    reflecting teachers aims to care about gender or
    individual differences. Teachers starting point
    was that both genders have special needs or that
    there are gender differences in cognitive
    abilities, attitudes or learning styles.
  • I vary my teaching methods and exercises
  • I take into account the different learning
    abilities of them both.

36
Favour the weaker
  • The teachers of this study did not accept this
    principle and no one chose the alternative of
    favouring the weaker one in the questionnaire.
    Also in the interviews this idea of compensation
    was rejected.
  • The Finnish law on gender equity says that it is
    possible to deviate from equal treatment
    especially in the favour of females, if it
    strives to realize the aims of the law for
    equality. This compensation is not regarded as
    discrimination. (In Finland we have the quota
    principle in political decision making, every
    committee must have at least 40 of either
    sex.)

37
Is it necessary to bring up gender equity in
math class and how do you do it?
  • Only one third of the teachers regarded the
    equity issue necessary to be brought up. The
    great majority of the teachers regarded gender
    equity self-evident.
  • Gender equity is self-evident, its no need to
    make any fuss about it.
  • Mathematics and gender are in no contact
    whatsoever.

38
Results
  • Even though many of the teachers did not express
    very stereotyped beliefs, a great majority held
    different beliefs about girls and boys and those
    differences favoured boys. The most emergent was
    the belief in girls employing inferior cognitive
    skills.
  • Gender equity was not considered a problem, but
    equity between those who were motivated to learn
    and those who were not, and heterogeneous groups
    and disturbance.
  • Some of the teachers were concerned about boys,
    who were underachieving or might fall aside, but
    girls were supposed to manage thanks to their
    consciousness.

39
  • Boys attained most of teacher attention. But this
    situation was not seen to violate equity.
  • Gender equity was considered self-evident and
    mathematics gender-free. Most teachers did not
    pay any attention to the issue, they believed
    that they treated a student as an individual and
    not as a girl or a boy.
  • No differences were found between the beliefs of
    female and male teachers.

40
  • Valerie Walkerdine published 1989 Counting Girls
    Out, a book that changed perceptions about the
    gender problem. The mainstream analyses of the
    problem had located one or other lack in girls
    and women as the root of the problem.
  • In the new edition (1998) Walkerdine writes in
    the afterword
  • Considerable concern is now being expressed
    about the relatively poor school performance of
    boys related to girls....Girls attainment in
    school is not celebrated as an index of
    cleverness, brains or intellectuality.

41
Rather those very factors that year 1976 were
considered a problem in relation to Mathematics,
namely rule-following, rote-learning, neatness,
good behaviour and so forth, are presented as the
keys to female success, downgrading that success,
while suggesting that classrooms are too feminine
and that masculinity is downgraded and
discouraged. The ideal child it seems is still a
boy, a boy indeed with potential, whose success
is being thwarted by women and girls, indeed by
the very notion of female success. (Walkerdine
1998, p. 168).
42
Lucina Hagman (1897) My experience on
co-education
43
Lucina Hagman wrote in 1897
  • A girls diffidence and lack of self-confidence
    makes her to distrust the competence of her
    knowledge in solving problems. It is astonishing
    that this conscientious and diligent girl is
    often unwilling to use her intellect. The teacher
    must urge and force her to think independently
    and if he does this, he will find the girl more
    capable than her outward appearance might
    suggest.
  • Such as a woman is on her present stage of
    evolution, she seldom possesses such confidence
    in her talent needed for scientific research.

44
  • I barely need to mention that these
    characteristics are a result from the prevailing
    perceptions and fostering traditions during
    centuries.
  • It often happens in class, when you ask for
    reasoning and conclusions, that the boys raise
    their hands up sooner and more densely than
    girls, but when asked, you get nonsense for an
    answer from the former. As girls lack
    self-confidence, boys have got it too much.

45
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