How to handle the gender issue in class

9th May 2008 at 01:00
- Remember that education is about learning new skills
- Remember that education is about learning new skills. Encourage girls to be risk-takers, and boys to develop empathy.

- Become more conscious of your own actions: are you reacting differently to the same behaviour in boys and girls?

- Do not expect that all girls will be academically able purely because girls perform better as a group. Gender is only one of the factors affecting performance: middle-class boys regularly out-perform working-class girls.

- From early years onwards, encourage pupils to question stereotypical gender assumptions. They usually welcome the opportunity for such discussions, as gender is a large, often unfathomable, part of their lives.

- Male teachers should not focus solely on matey joking with the boys in case they exclude the girls.

- Male teachers can break down gender stereotypes by expressing an interest in books and activities traditionally seen as feminine.

- Try to stop pupils making gendered choices in vocational subjects by providing thorough careers advice for them. For example, do girls know how poorly paid nursery nursing is compared with plumbing?

- Build up links between secondary schools and nurseries. If 15-year-old boys have to work with four-year-olds, they are more likely to consider careers in social care.

- Be aware that girls often police each others' ability to conform. Make it clear that such behaviour will be treated as bullying.

- Consider allowing pupils to wear trainers to school. They are socially acceptable and gender-neutral, so will allow even the coolest girls to run around as freely as boys.

FURTHER READING:

Reassessing Gender and Achievement by Becky Francis and Christine Skelton (Routledge, 2005) Lads and Ladettes in School by Carolyn Jackson (Open University Press, 2006)

Frogs and Snails and Feminist Tales by Bronwyn Davies (Hampton Press, 2003)

The Sexual Paradox by Susan Pinker (Atlantic, 2008).

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now