(a) Your feelings about gender in the classroom:
In my opinion, there aren’t big differences between genders in classrooms. There may be a few
small differences such as teachers’ expectations in how well girls or boys do on certain subjects. For
example, teachers may expect girls to do better in things such as art or writing and boys in P.E. classes.
As hard as we try, it is hard for us not to judge students based on their gender. Many teachers have a
tendency to make assumptions on how well students would do on some subjects depending whether
they are a girl or a boy. When we see girls, we tend to think they are more creative and are more
capable of being on tasks and working alone. On the other hand, when we see boys, we would assume
that they are more active, are more easily distracted and work better in groups. With these common
biases in mind, I tend to think whenever a classroom is out of control or is overly loud; boys are the
cause of it, even if this might not be the case. This is one of the greater concerns I would have because
boys are generally labelled as “trouble-makers”. Having such a label would work in disadvantage for
boys because whenever a problem occurs between the two genders, boys would generally be assumed
to be the one to blame (especially if the girl is crying). In addition, when teaching subjects such as art
or creative writing, I would feel that boys may need more attention from the teacher than girls. Girls are
assumed to be able to quietly sit by their seats and draw or write, while boys would be assumed
otherwise. Similar assumptions would be applied for girls during gym classes. Since boys are viewed
to be more active, little motivation is needed to get them going, whereas girls would typically need
more motivation and persuasion to get them moving.
(b) Expand on a gender experience (did you ever feel as if your gender worked against you):
I have never experienced a situation where I felt my gender had ever worked against me. The
only gender experience I have ever encountered happened in my grade 4 gym class. Being a
stereotypical girl, I have never been good at sports or motivated to be good. The closest “sport” I liked
to play during gym class was tag. Knowing that I am not motivated to do well in actual sports, such as
basketball, soccer, etc., my grade 4 teacher, would often put me in groups with boys or teams with
boys. The reason for that is because most of the boys in my class were generally more active than the
girls. Therefore, being on a team with active team mates, I would be forced to work hard, do well and
not be a burden for my team. By forcing me to try harder in my gym classes, my grade 4 teacher made
me more motivated to do better in future gym classes.
(c) Summarize the findings of your ‘classroom’ observations and your memories:
Since the observations I made were not made in a younger classroom setting, not much gender
differences were observed. My observation experience was done in my French 120 classroom. The
gender ratio was approximately the same, with 11 girls and 9 boys. Both gender interacted the same
with each other and interacted the same with the teacher. When the teacher asked a question for the first
time no one would answer, then when she repeated the question, I noticed that girls tend to answer the
teacher’s question a bit more than boys. In general, both boys and girls were often off tasks during class
times, since our teacher was quite lenient on class participation. Also, during group discussion times,
the class would be divided in to several groups to practice vocabularies or to do assignments together.
During those times, I noticed that groups that had all girls would be more on focused and discussed
what we were asked to discuss. In contrast, groups that consist of all boys would be on task for a
minute or two, then they would drift off and discuss other things such as; the latest video game or what
they thought about the hockey game last night.
The gender observations made from my present classroom are mostly the same to what I have
remembered from my elementary classroom setting. Girls would answer the teacher’s question before
boys would. Also, Girls would be more focused during discussion times than boys would. The only
difference that I have noticed is that during class times in elementary and in high school, both genders
would be more on task than the students in the classroom that I have observed recently.