Season 3 Episode 3
Gender in the Classroom
Gender profoundly affects identity and power structures in the classroom, and many faculty who recognize this are working thoughtfully to promote gender inclusivity in their classrooms. In doing so, they are drawing from a wealth of good evidence-based practices. Indeed, recent scholarship has strived to move from understanding biases in the classroom to preparing effective practices to change that bias (Chin et al., 2020), examining how COVID has impacted classroom gender bias (Berheide et al, 2022) and identifying ways that we can make classrooms open and safe for all learners (Harbin, 2016).
In this episode of What We’re Learning About Learning, you’ll hear experiences and strategies from Amanda Phillips, Associate Professor in English, and affiliate faculty in American Studies, Film and Media Studies, and Women and Gender Studies; Sivagami Subbaramanthe, founding director of Georgetown’s LGBTQ Resource Center, and adjunct faculty in the Department of Performing Arts and Theater; Elizabeth Velez, adjunct faculty member in Women and Gender Studies; and heath pearson, Assistant Professor in Anthropology and affiliate faculty in Justice and Peace Studies.
Some of the key takeaways you will hear from faculty in this episode include:
- Gender inequities play out in a variety of ways in the classroom and, by paying attention to these gender dynamics, faculty can implement strategies to address the inequities.
- Tuning into how gender intersects with other aspects of identity, such as race, economic class, and sexuality, can help faculty with fostering inclusivity and moderating discussions.
- Creating space for students to choose if and when to disclose their identities can help foster a safe and inclusive environment.
- Reflecting on one’s own conscious and unconscious assumptions about gender can increase faculty awareness about their own gender identity and how they represent themselves in the classroom.
- The classroom can be structured as a space where students of all identities feel safe, can be vulnerable, and trust that they will be respected.
- Perfection isn’t the goal, and many faculty struggle to always remember to say the correct thing. The goal is respecting and listening to students.
To take a deeper dive into the literature that has informed their teaching practices, see our Resources and Additional Research sections below. There, you’ll find resources on how gender inclusivity can be understood and facilitated in classrooms, from information on biases (Moss-Racusin et al, 2012) and gender distributions (Leslie et al, 2015), to how COVID has affected gender and racial differences in the classroom (Berheide et al, 2022).
Featured in this Episode
- Sivagami Subbaraman, Adjunct Professor, Department of Performing Arts; Former Founding Director for LGBTQ Resource Center (2008-2021)
- Elizabeth Velez, Adjunct Professor, Prisons and Justice Initiative; Professional Lecturer, Women's Studies Program
- Amanda Phillips, Associate Professor, Departments of English, Women’s and Gender Studies, Film & Media Studies, and American Studies
- heath pearson, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology
- Berheide, C. W., Carpenter, M. A. & Cotter, D. A. (2022). Teaching College in the Time of COVID-19: Gender and Race Differences in Faculty Emotional Labor. Sex Roles, 86, 441–455.
- Cheryan, S., Plaut, V. C., Davies, P. G., & Steele, C. M. (2009). Ambient belonging: How stereotypical cues impact gender participation in computer science. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97, 1045–1060. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0016239
- Chin, M. J., Quinn, D. M., Dhaliwal, T. K., & Lovison, V. S. (2020). Bias in the Air: A Nationwide Exploration of Teachers’ Implicit Racial Attitudes, Aggregate Bias, and Student Outcomes. Educational Researcher, 49(8), 566–578. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X20937240
- Davis, H.F.. (2017). Beyond trans: Does gender matter? New York: NYU Press.
- Good, C. , Rattan, A. & Dweck, C. S. (2012). Why Do Women Opt Out? Sense of Belonging and Women's Representation in Mathematics. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102(4), 700-717. doi: 10.1037/a0026659.
- Harbin, B. (2016). Teaching beyond the gender binary in the university classroom. Updated by Roberts, L.M. et al., (2020). Vanderbilt Center for Teaching. Retrieved [2/9/23] from: https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/teaching-beyond-the-gender-binary-in-the-university-classroom/
- Leslie, S., Cimpian, A., Meyer, M., & Freeland, E. (2015). Expectations of brilliance underlie gender distributions across academic disciplines. Science, 347(6219), 262-265.
- Moss-Racusin, C. A., Dovidio, J. F., Brescoll, V. L., Graham, M. J., & Handelsman, J. (2012). Faculty's subtle gender biases favor male students. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(41), 16474-16479.
- Pozo, T. (2018). Queer games after empathy: Feminism and haptic game design aesthetics from consent to cuteness to the radically soft. Game Studies, 18(3). Retrieved February 15, 2023
- Reid, L. D. (2010). The role of perceived race and gender in the evaluation of college teaching on RateMyProfessors.Com. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 3(3), 137–152.
- Shotwell, A. (2012). Open normativities: Gender, disability, and collective political change. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 37(4), 989–1016, https://doi.org/10.1086/664475.
- Smith, J. L., Lewis, K. L., Hawthorne, L., & Hodges, S. D. (2013). When Trying Hard Isn’t Natural: Women’s Belonging With and Motivation for Male-Dominated STEM Fields As a Function of Effort Expenditure Concerns. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 39(2), 131–143. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167212468332.
- The Office of the Gender and Women's Studies Librarian. (2023). Bibliographies in Gender and Women’s Studies. UW-Madison Libraries.