WEEA Equity Resource Center
WEEA Equity Resource Center
About Us
Our Services
Resources to Infuse Equity
Women of Achievement
Contact Us
Calendar of Events
Recursos en Espanol

This site is no longer active.

Resources to Infuse Equity

Excerpt to Curriculum- Grade the Teacher Exercise

Excerpt to Curriculum

Background Information:
Even though most teachers believe they treat all students in their classroom exactly the same, major differences do exist in the way many interact with girls and boys. Sadker and Sadker have labeled this treatment "subtle and insidious gender lessons, micro-inequalities that appear seemingly insignificant when looked at individually but have a powerful cumulative impact" (Failing at Fairness, Sadker and Sadker).

Find out if you're one of these teachers. Have the students do an unannounced survey of your student interactions sometime over the next few weeks. You might be surprised at the results.

If you're a student, choose a teacher to statistically examine what "subtle and insidious gender lessons" you might be under. Become aware of the lessons you're being offered in class and choose what you want to take home at the end of the day.

The Exercise

Over a week, count the number of times the teacher:

  • Calls on a boy to recite or perform
  • Affirms a boy's performance
  • Corrects a boy's performance
  • Stands close to a boy
  • Gives individual help to a boy
  • Praises a boy's learning performance. Note the reasons for the praise
  • Compliments a boy
  • Waits for a boy to answer the question before supplying the answer (note the amount of time the teacher waited)
  • Listens attentively to a boy
  • Physical touches a boy (arm or shoulder)
  • Provides clues and/or a higher-level question to help a boy respond to a question
  • Corrects behavior of a boy in a calm, courteous manner
  • Expresses courtesy and respect in an interaction with a boy
Count the same activities, during the same week, for the teacher's interactions with girls. What are the differences? Discuss the numbers and what they mean in class.

[D. Grayson and M. Martin, Gender/Ethnic Expectations and Student Achievement: Teacher Handbook (Earlham, Iowa: GrayMill Foundation, 1988).]

The Results:

  • Across the U.S., the students most likely to receive teacher attention are white boys
  • The second most likely are boys of color
  • The third, white females
  • And the least likely, females of color
The results of these differential teacher treatments and expectations can lead to girls, and to boys of color, performing at a lower level than white boys.

For example, African American girls tend to be active and assertive in the primary grades, but as they move into elementary school, they become the most invisible students in the classroom. They are the least likely to receive clear academic feedback from the teacher. When a girl of color's achievement is on par with that of a white boy's, the teachers tend to assume the girl's success is due to hard work and don't encourage her further, while they encourage white boys to work even harder.

[S. Damico and E. Scott, "Behavior Differences Between Black and White Females in Desegregated Schools," Equity and Excellence 23 (1987): 63-66; L. Grant, "Black Females 'Place' in Integrated Classrooms," Sociology of Education 57 (1984): 98-111; J. J. Irvine, "Teacher-Student Interactions: Effects of Student Race, Sex, and Grade Level," Journal of Educational Psychology 78, no.1 (1986)]

The above excerpt was from Raising the Grade, a curriculum about Title IX. It is available from WEEA in the Spring of 1998. Call 800-793-5076 to order.



About Us | Our Services | Resources to Infuse Equity
Publications | Women of Achievement | News
Links | Contact Us | Calendar of Events | Recursos en Espanol

Gender Equity Works for All

WEEA Equity Resource Center
55 Chapel Street
Newton, MA 02458-1060

This site is no longer active.

Site questions and comments:genderdiversities@edc.org


Education Development Center