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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

UNI Education Summit

I had to opportunity to attend the University of Northern Iowa's  Education Summit. I was able to sit in and listen to Professor Dale Baker's presentation "Girls and Women in Science: Increasing Participation and Success" Professor Baker discussed the gender gap that is present between men/ women in the science field and boys/ girls in the classroom. Girls are less proficient on science area, and how can we as teachers help? She developed a list of ten things that works for girls

1. Early science instruction that begins in kindergarten 
2. Relevant curriculum that addresses girls' interests and provides many opportunities for investigation and tinkering 
3. Inclusive language and interactions 
4. Greater emphasis on computer as a tool 
5. Greater emphasis on physical science 
6. Integration of all practices of science, especially reading and writing
7. Attention to how groups are formed 
8. Activities that build self-efficacy 
9. Appropriate role models 
10. Voiced and unvoiced messages that science is for everyone

Professor Baker stressed that you can only focus on one to two at a time, don't try to focus on all of them at once. The one that I found the most important to me was #9. Many people, myself included, imagine a scientist to look like this. 

picture from iClipart for School

As teachers we can break this stereotype by bringing in female professionals, grad students, or other females in the science field. We can also put an equal amount of male and female posters up. When girls don’t see people in science that look like they do, they assume that science isn’t for them. Provide positive messages about girls specific competence in science. Create an environment where risk taking is encouraged and some failure expected for every student. 

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