[EDEQUITY Science Dialogue] Suggestions in creating a better

From: Gay.Gordon
Date: Wed Nov 15 2000 - 12:30:39 EST

learning environment in science
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Thanks, Erin, for raising these questions. According to Sue V. Rosser,
teachers can make their classes more interesting to girls by doing the

 - providing hands-on experience and practical applications
 - being sensitive to the applications and methods of experiments
 - using both qualitative and quantitative data
 - using an interdisciplinary approach
 - de-emphasizing competition
 - providing a broad, holisitc scope of study
 - creating collaborative groups or study groups
 - using female examples
 - including more history of science
 - creating communities of learners

As you suggest, doing these things also creates a better learning
environment for all students - boys and girls alike. Both the current
national standards in science and in math suggest that one of the most
important things a teacher can do is to use a problem solving or inquiry
approach to math and science. In the math classroom, this includes having
students talk through problems and honoring different approaches to solving
problems. In science, it includes having the students come up with
authentic problems to research that are relavant to them, and it should
involve doing in addition to reading. Students, regardless of gender,
should have the opportunity to make a connection between what they are
learning and their world.

It is also not surprising that your daughter is in sixth grade. Middle
school is the point at which many girls lose interest for a variety of
reasons. In last year's discussion, some people suggested that it starts
much earlier, but manifests itself in middle school. For whatever reason,
it is a point that many girls "opt out" of science and math. There are many
good programs for girls of this age, including those described by other
panelists, Cerise Roth Vinson and Mary Thompson.

Gay Gordon

>" Last, the teacher must strive to adapt his or
>her teaching style to the needs of the students."
>This raises some interesting questions:
>1. What types of teaching styles are best suited to the teaching of math
>and science courses to students?
>2. Are different styles more suitable for different sexes?
>3. Is there perhaps a universal style of teaching that makes learning of
>complex and sequentially taught material more accessible to all learners?
>(mother of 6th grade daughter losing interest in science and math)

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