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"What Are The Ways In Which Gender Stereotyping Occurs In Schools? What Can Be Done To Minimize Such Stereotyping?"

2068 words - 8 pages

Gender stereotyping in schools; does it exist? According to Sarah Delamont (1980), "It is in the classroom and the playground that girls learn to be girls and boys learn to be boys" (p2 of editor's intro.). This is in relation to gender stereotyping in schools; roles that have been assigned to males and females, and are constrained by society's expectations of them. This essay will look at the various types of gender differences and stereotyping and will assess how they can be minimised within the school environment.Gender differences have been examined in domains; personality, physical, occupational and cognitive. Personality traits of males (masculine traits) include aggressive, competitive, dominant, independent, rough and self-confident, whereas the personality traits of females (feminine) are said to be emotional, gentle, kind, passive, needs approval and cries easily. These differences coincide with gender stereotypes and the way society views the different genders (Vialle, Lysaght & Verenikina, 2000, p155). The way in which these are stereotyped in schools is demonstrated by the manner in which the teacher handles behaviour from both sexes. "Little girls had to stay close behind the teacher to get any attention, while boys did not" (Delamont, 1980, p30). Studies have shown teachers spend more time with the boys in the classroom than with the girls. This may be due to disruptions by the boys, although the teacher is often unaware of the amount of time spent with boys over girls. Spencer (1982, cited Porter, 1986, p71) argues that '...when their (the teacher being studied) next lesson is taped it is often found that over two thirds of their time was spent with the boys who comprised less than half the class'.In the physical domain, men are seen as more active in sport, and stronger than women. This could be attributed to the obvious stereotype of gender difference due to men being taller and stronger than women. Physical maturation is another notable difference which is an area in which females outstrip their male counterparts (Vialle et al, 2000, p155). This domain also coincides with the personality domain, as men are seen to be more competitive when it comes to sports; whereas women show stronger interest in passive sports such as dance.In the personality domain, there are various notable traits with gender differences. These include aggression, conformity, emotional adjustment, values and life goals and achievement orientation. Numerous studies have shown that whilst during early childhood boys are more aggressive than girls in terms of both physical and verbal aggression, during adolescence the differences between males and females are negligible (Berk, 1997, cited in Vialle et al, 2000, p.154). This is not say that girls become physically aggressive, but perhaps resort to verbal aggression or the use of covert forms of aggression such as social alienation (malicious gossip and rumours, exclusion) (Berk, 1997, cited in Vialle et al,...

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