Encouraging Girls In Math And Science

1699 words - 7 pages

Encouraging Girls in Math and Science

An ideal classroom in an elementary school would allow both boys and girls to
learn fairly, equally, and also be encouraged to be involved in the classroom. The
teacher would expect the same effort from the boys as well as the girls. The teacher
would implement a respectful atmosphere where the teacher as well as the students
would respect one another. The reality is that girls quickly become discouraged to
pursue math and/or science related careers. Girls lose their self-esteem from
experiencing negative attitudes from their teachers as well as from the boys in their
class. Girls are not encouraged to participate in math and science, and they feel that
they are not capable of doing well in these subjects. The low self-esteem is reflected
on girls’ actions and choices. Girls become at risk for dropping out of high school,
experiencing gender bias in the classroom and on their assessment tests, not enrolling
in math and/or science classes, teen pregnancy, and possibly experiencing sexual
harassment at school. Therefore, I believe that it is extremely important that teachers
realize these risks and try to find solutions in their teaching methods and assessments.

Even though drop-out rates are higher among boys than girls, the number of
girls who do not return to school or get their GED is higher than boys. Many reasons
that girls drop out of school reflect: “a sense of alienation from school: a lack of
individual success and/or that school is not worthwhile”. (MAEC, 1993) Reasons
include: “having a large number of siblings, mother’s educational level, and belief in
traditional gender-role stereotypes”. (MAEC, 1993) Girls who don’t experience women
and men in nontraditional roles, will not be motivated to pursue nontraditional roles
themselves. If they see themselves as being a homemaker and feel that they cannot
achieve a career in math or science, then girls will become what they know. Girls drop
out of school with the feeling of worthlessness. Many of these girls are feeling the
effects of harassment. When girls are teased, it has a negative impact on their
educational learning.

To help assure that girls stay in school, teachers might “Establish a respectful setting for learning: Do not allow sexual harassment and select textbooks and curricular materials that are free of sexual and racial stereotyping.” (NEA, 2001) The MAEC(Mid Atlantic Equity Center) recommends that teachers “make sure that students who are quiet, shy, and withdrawn, are not overlooked. On the other hand, make sure that students who may be disruptive are not assigned to special education more for their behavior than for their educational needs.” (MAEC, 1993) Even though it is ultimately the parent’s responsibility to look after their children, teachers need to care for and respect the children while they are at school. Teachers have...

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