Teachers, Schools, and Gender , Socialization
From kindergarten through college, schools operate as a rendered institution. Teachers provide important messages about gender rough both the formal content of classroom assignments and informal interactions with students. Sometimes, gender-related messages from teachers and other students reinforce gender roles that have been taught at home; however, teachers may also contradict parental socialization. During the early years of a child’s schooling, teachers’ influence·is very powerful; many children spend more hours per day with their teachers than they do with their own parents.
According to some researchers. the quantity and .quality of teacher-student interactions often vary between the education of irks ND that of boys (Wheelhouse and Yin, 1997). One of the messages that teachers may communicate to students is that boys are ore more important than girls. Research spanning the past thirty years shows that unintentional gender bias occurs virtually all educational settings. Gender bias consists of showing favoritism toward one gender over the other. Researchers consistently find hat teachers devote more
time, effort. and attention to boys than to girls (Sadder and Sadder, 1994). Males receive more praise for their contributions and re called on more frequently in class. even when they do not volunteer. Teach –student interactions influence not only students’ earning but also their self-esteem (Sadder and Sadder, 198,. 1986. 1994). A comprehensive study of gender bias in schools suggested that girls’ self esteem is undermined in school through such experiences as (l) a relative lack of attention from teachers; (2) sexual harassment by male peers; (3) the stereotyping and invisibility of females in textbooks. especially in science and math texts; and (4) test bias based on assumptions about the relative importance of quantitative and visual-spatial ability. as compared with verbal ability. where girls typically excel. White males may have better self-esteem because they receive more teacher attention than all other students (Sadder and Sadder, 1994)
Teachers also influence how students treat one another during school hours. Many teachers use sex segregation as a way to organize students. resulting in unnecessary competition between females and males . . In one study. (or example. a teacher divided er class into the “Beastly Boys” and. the “Gossipy Girls” for a math game and allowed her students to do the “give me five” hand- lapping ritual when one group outscored the other (Thorpe. 1995). Competition based on gender often reinforces existing misconceptions about the skills and attributes of boys and girls. and may contribute to overt and subtle discrimination in the classroom and beyond. The effect of gender bias is particularly problematic if teachers take a “boys will be boys” attitude when toys d young men make derogatory remarks r demonstrate aggressive behavior against girls and
young women. When girls complain of sexual Harassment- unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal r physical conduct of a sexual nature-their concerns are sometimes overlooked or downplayed by teachers and school administrators. Sexual harassment is prohibited by law. and teachers and administrators t.re obligated to investigate such incidents. as well as issues pertaining to women’s equal opportunities to play sports.