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Posted on November 23, 2012 1:42 am
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Yasar Bodur
Yasar Bodur
Reps: 614
I Donít Discriminate My Girls
As a teacher with 25 years of experience, I am regularly asked to mentor new teachers at my school. In my 25 years, I have taught every grade level from Kindergarten to 5th grade. One of the new teachers in our school is Ms. Smith who is in her second year at my school. She pays a lot of attention to teaching science using hands-on inquiries. She also wants to make sure that both boys and girls have good experiences in science. She strongly believes that schools push girls away from math and science. I observed one of her science lessons last week. She had her students conduct science experiments in small groups. Students, then, wrote an experiment report at the end. As she was walking around in the classroom, she commented on student work and praised students. What I noticed about her praise was that she praised the boys for using proper science skills, coming up with good hypotheses and predictions, conducting the experiments carefully while she praised girls for keeping the materials orderly, writing a neat experiment report, and being a good team member. When I talked to her about my observation, she became very defensive. She said that she was making sure that her female students were praised for the work they do and that she did not gender-discriminate. I have to find a way to show/convince her that what she is doing may actually hurt her female students. Am I right about these points? How should I explain to her my points? Do you think what she is doing is right?
 
     
     
 
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Solution 1
Posted December 4, 2012 10:55 pm

Jill Graff
Jill Graff
Reps: 104
I think yes, as a veteran teacher you should let her know what you saw. She might not have even realized that she was doing something like that. I think that you should mention ways to praise equally to all students in the room and while not only working on praise, but work on asking in-depth questions to both the boys and girls as she walks around. Speak to her as if she is doing the right thing, which she is by praising them, but turn the conversation into what else can she do to help the girls. Look into rotating the groups assignment each time. (ex. Sara,Jeff, and Kyle each have a job in their group, but rotate what that job is the next time they are in a group.)
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Solution 2
Posted December 8, 2012 2:59 pm

Ariane Anderson
Ariane Anderson
Reps: 114
I think that you made the right decision to talk to her about what you observed. What she is doing is wrong. Itís possible she did not realize what she was doing and that could possible explain why she was defensive. It is very important for teachers to give equal praise to all students on their academics. Try meeting with her in a mutual setting and talk to get to know her and then discuss your concerns.
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Solution 3
Posted December 9, 2012 3:48 pm

Wendie Sikes
Wendie Sikes
Reps: 57
You are right about telling the new teacher she is using praise in the wrong way. I would tell her that although it is important to encourage the girls, it is equally important for the girls to be using the right science skills. All students should receive praise and criticism equally. You should encourage her to maybe switch the roles of the group. She could make the boys in charge of the report and keeping materials neat, while the girls focus on science skills conducting the experiment. This way all students gain experience in all parts of an experiment.
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Solution 4
Posted February 13, 2013 10:23 am

Julia DiTillio
Julia DiTillio
Reps: 28
I think that this teacher is on the right track, but needs a little more insight. When she says that she isn't gender discriminating, I think she is probably considering the fact that she praises both boys and girls equally as frequently. However, you raise a good point in talking about the content of her praise. She probably doesn't realize that her comments reflect different gender role stereotypes: girls are neat and organized followers, while boys are logical, analytical leaders. I would just point out the discrepancy to her in the most respectful way possible. Make sure you point out how great it is that she is using praise, but that she should be giving the same types of praise to boys and girls. She could try using a 1:1 ratio for each thing she praises: if she praises a girl for a neat report, she should also praise a boy. I think that this was an honest mistake that she probably didn't even realize she was making, and if you talk candidly yet respectfully with her about it, it will probably be resolved.
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Solution 5
Posted November 30, 2012 5:23 pm

Meredith Hein
Meredith Hein
Reps: 139
I think that it's important for girls to not be discouraged in math or science, but rather encouraging them as equal than boys and holding them accountable for the same material is vitally important. I think that you are right in your observations and that telling Ms. Smith these observations wasn't the wrong thing to do. It just may be hard for any teacher, especially new teachers, to be criticized on something when they feel they are doing a good job. I think by explaining further that girls need to be encouraged even more so than boys in those subject areas could possibly be a different approach.
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uJabaz
uJabaz
Reps: 100
It may be hard to take criticism but further down the road it will help her be a better teacher.
  Posted on: February 26, 2015 6:10 pm

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Solution 6
Posted December 8, 2012 4:09 pm

Lindsey Harrison
Lindsey Harrison
Reps: 108
I think that telling her was the right thing to do. As a veteran teacher you do have a responsibility to give her insight and to help direct her in her teaching. I am sure that she feels quite passionately about this subject now as a new teacher, but her feelings may be different a few years on down the road. By you giving her insight now, she may remember this a couple of years later and take your advice into consideration.
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Solution 7
Posted December 9, 2012 5:06 pm

Erin Warren
Erin Warren
Reps: 142
I would discuss it wth her further and suggest using a video tape to tape her lesson. Tell her you would love for her to come and tape one of your lessons and provide you with feedback as well, this way the she can also put in her two cents without thinking you are attacking her.
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Solution 8
Posted December 9, 2012 10:03 pm

Jessica Jacobs Graham
Jessica Jacobs Graham
Reps: 116
I would suggest to her that she make equivocal comments to both boys and girls. If she makes a comment to a boy about good hypotheses, she needs to make the same type of comment to a girl. Conversely, if she comments to a girl that her materials were kept neat, she needs to be the same for a girl. I would praise her for wanting to encourage girls and science and explain to her that you believe the comments she is currently giving could be detrimental, because the girls may believe they don't have good hypotheses or the like. If its going to be equal, it needs to be equal.
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Solution 9
Posted December 2, 2012 4:08 pm

David Sanders
David Sanders
Reps: 143
I believe it is the responsibility of senior teachers to mentor junior teachers and not be afraid to pass on helpful hints. The issue is in presentation. As we know, if your approach is that of condemnation, you are destined to fail. If you approach the subject as being helpful, I think you will be well received. You may have to wait for opportunity but it will come if you are a peer worker with other teachers.
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Solution 10
Posted December 8, 2012 3:35 pm

Amari Hagan
Amari Hagan
Reps: 115
If she believe that schools pushes girls away, then you need to remind her of this and explain to her what you observed her doing in class as something she believe schools do. Say it in a way where it not some much accusing her but helping understand the situation. Yes, you are right because you witness. You should ask to maybe next time do an experiment where girls are doing the experiment hands on and they boys are focus on keeping thing in order, being good team member and staying neat. This will allow her to praise the girls and boys within the same perspective. Overall, she just need to justify her statement and apply to her praising her students and work.
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Solution 11
Posted December 9, 2012 12:56 pm

Sarah Hogan Johnson
Sarah Hogan Johnson
Reps: 163
I think you were right to bring this issue to the teacher's attention. Instead of using hollow praise for her female students, she should offer helpful encouragement. If she continues to praise the students for different things, the boys may begin to fee that they aren't doing well because the teacher's praise is empty and is given out for trivial parts of the assignment. It's acceptable to offer different encouragement for different students, but offering the same praise for accomplishments that are so extremely different will make the teacher's praise seem hollow and less genuine to all the students.
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