Secret Sexist Lessons Essay, Research Paper
Secret Sexist Lessons
When you send your children off in the morning to go to school, no matter what grade they are in whither it be elementary, junior high, or senior high, you expect that they will receive the best education that they can get. They should be asked challenging questions, encouraged and called upon to participate in class, they should also be given as much help as they need to secede by the teacher. However, this is most commonly not the case. Parents and the children themselves are unaware of what is going on because gender bias is not a noisy problem. Most people are unaware of the secret sexist lessons that occur every day in classrooms across the country. In this essay I will use two essay’s from the reader: Failing at Fairness: How America’s Schools Cheat Girls written by Myra and David Sadker, and Tracking by Mary Kennedy Carter. I will also use my own personal experiences and the experiences of my parents and what it was like when they went through school. Do people realize the underlings of the education system or because the children are so young that they don’t really notice it or think anything of it.
In the article written by Myra and David Sadker they say, “Female students are more likely to be invisible members of classrooms. Teachers interact with males more frequently, ask them better questions, and give them more precise and helpful feedback.” (556) Based on some of my own experiences and the experiences of my parents I fell that this statement is true in many ways. I can remember many times when Mrs. Lee, my forth grade teacher, would favor the male students in my class. She would call on them to do different tasks around the classroom to help make her job easier. One time she needed help passing out some papers and a female student volunteered to pass them out for her but instead the teacher asked a male student who was known as “the teachers pet” to pass out the papers instead of the female student. This didn’t make the female student very happy because she was trying to get more involved in the class but the teacher wasn’t allowing her too. She was the type of student that would just sit back and listen and not participate in any class activities. She realized that she wasn’t getting anything out of the class and she wasn’t learning very much, so she decided that she would try and get more involved so that she would actually start learning something in the class. This wasn’t the only time that she tried to get involved in the class and was turned aside for a male student.
I can remember another time in forth grade when the same female student wanted to participate and get involved in what we were doing. We were going over the homework that we had done the night before and the teacher was asking the class to participate by telling her the answers. She had the majority of the answers and she raised her had to participate almost every time. The teacher only called on her one time and that was because for one of the questions there were only two people that knew the answer and they both were female.
Another time that I can remember was in sixth grade, when my teacher had opposite effects on the students as previously mentioned. He was against the boys in the class, and favored the girls in the class. I can remember this one time when he would ask a question to the class and all of the students would raise their hand and he would only call on the girls in the class. I was upset at this because I would always have my homework done on time and wanted to participate in class. But he wouldn’t call on me or any of the other guys in the class. He was very bias to the girls in the class when compared to the guys in the class. This is just one time that this happened. He had done this along with many other things.
I was taking to my dad the other night and he was telling me about what it was like when he went through school 30-40 years ago. He went to school in Lubbock, TX. Back then when someone got out of hand or miss-behaved they would take that person out onto the fire escape and “paddle” them. My dad had this happen to him a few times because did some things that would get him into trouble. He said that he can’t really remember teachers favoring boys and leaving the girls out. He said that it seemed like the girls were treated differently but that they were treated special. They were able to get away with some things that the boys would have gotten in trouble for doing and would have been “paddled” for. He could only remember a few times when a girl would get in enough trouble that they would be “paddled”.
I have noticed evidence of these types of lessons happening since I have been at UND. I have noticed in my math class the people that sit down towards the front of the class are mostly males. There are some females but not as many as males. The males that sit in the front of the class ask questions more often than do the females that sit in the front. They also ask more questions than the people who are sitting in the back of the class whether they are male or female. I don’t think that the teacher is trying to teach sexist lessons but I think that because of the secret sexist lessons that the students may have had in their education system that it is what they are used to so it just moves from on level to the next with out anybody noticing.
Have I benefited from this type of education system? I would have to say that if I have benefited from it was in math and not science. Throughout my education I have always been pretty good at math. It’s of the courses that I have done really well in and liked. I did all right in science until high school, once I got to high school I found that I didn’t like science and I never got a good grade in any science courses.
In conclusion, there are secret sexist lessons in the education system but not every teacher will use them. My forth grade teacher definitely used sexist lessons, where as my sixth grade teacher did use sexist lessons but he was the opposite, he favored the girls and always called on them to participate in class and left the guys out. When I was in forth grade I didn’t notice what was going on and even if I had I probably wouldn’t have thought anything of it. I would have been to young to fully understand what was going on if I had realized that there were sexist lessons in the education system. In sixth grade I did notice that the teacher favored the girls more than he did the boys and I didn’t think anything of it, I just thought that he liked them more so he would call on them more. As for when my dad went through the education system I have a felling that there were sexist lessons it’s just that my dad didn’t realize it and can’t remember any examples of them now.
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