If you have teenage children you may be interested to know whether boys and girls are already assuming the gender roles in the classroom which will define their adult years.
We decided to ask Elizabeth Fisher a secondary school English teacher in South West England and her colleagues about how boys and girls behave in the classroom and whilst the answers may not surprise you, they do highlight how gender roles are cemented in the school years. Take a read…
Q1. What are your experiences of how boys and girls dominate conversation in class?
Most teachers feel that boys have a tendency to be louder and call out more often than girls. There is also a tendency for boys to become the “class clown” to gain attention which is often attention-seeking behaviour, rather than contribution. Girls tend not to do this.
Q2. Do you see boys interrupting girls when they are talking or giving answers?
Yes we do see boys interrupting girls routinely. As teachers we pick up on it and reinforce class expectations of everyone having the chance to answer equally.
Q3. Do you see girls interrupting boys when they are giving answers?
We occasionally see girls interrupting boys but it is certainly less frequent than the other way round.
Q4. Have you seen evidence of boys supporting girls who show confidence in the classroom in front of their male peers?
We all agreed that rarely did we see this behaviour from boys.
Q5. Do boys routinely nominate girls as spokespeople in mixed group activities?
Not really but this could be due to the fact that they leave it to the girls to actually ‘sort-out’ and ‘organise’.
Q6. Do girls nominate other girls more frequently as spokespeople or boys?
Girls tend to ‘sit back and wait and see’ and they are more fearful of engaging in the process of nominating a spokesperson..
We will be returning to gender roles in the classroom and inviting male and female readers to say how they think this can be changed so that confident girls are respected and encouraged by boys and can speak out without fear. More on this soon..