THE GENDER EQUATION
How to Create Equity and Fairness for All Students
This compelling book takes you inside a teacher’s journey to explore the question of gender in education. Jason Ablin uses his background in math teaching, school leadership, and neuroscience to present expert interviews, research, and anecdotes about gender bias in schools and how it impacts our best efforts to educate children. He provides practical takeaways on how teachers and leaders can do better for students.
There is also a handy Appendix with step-by-step guides for facilitating faculty-wide conversations around gender; writing learning reports without gender bias; using student assessments to check gendered attitudes about learning; evaluating learning spaces; and creating an inquiry map of your classroom.
As a teacher, administrator, DEI director, or homeschooling parent, with the strategies and stories in this book, you’ll be ready to embark upon your own journey to balance the gender equation and create greater equity for all of your students.
Who's Teaching Whom: Math, Literacy, and Making School for Everyone
This chapter focuses on the story of Siena, an academically engaged student, who struggles with her self-confidence in an area well documented in the gender research on education.
For girls, the ramifications are in math and science while for boys, literacy and the entire endeavor of schooling, are the casualties.
Nature Versus Acquired Aptitude: Of Precious Eggs and Kept Princes
The overemphasis of natural aptitude over acquired aptitude is a critical gender construct which exists in school cultures and limits student learning.
Through the stories of Toby and Adam in this chapter, educators can see the impact on rethinking the conversation with students by focusing on effort and resilience as more critical benchmarks for student growth.
Gender stereotypes obscure the reality of what constitutes real success in learning and the process of discovery. Researching your students’ attitudes towards learning can become a powerful tool to unpacking their gendered assumptions which can inhibit progress.
Learning from the Anomalies
When students act outside of our comfortable and acceptable understandings of gender norms, they are giving educators a gift. Through examining how our schools respond to these students, we understand how our reactions can reinforce bias and perpetuate inequity in our school cultures.
In this chapter, teachers learn to explore the descriptors which put their students in a gender box and, instead, how to use storytelling and more robust language to describe learners, free of gender bias.
The Writing on the Wall: The Gender Influence of Student-Teacher Interactions
This chapter explores the power of cognitive systems, such as mirror neurons, that have a tremendous impact on how knowledge and learning behaviors are transferred from teacher to student. ⠀
Implicit bias, micro confirmations, and gendered messaging are everywhere, from the teacher’s attitude toward learning to the very physical construction of classroom space. By firmly dismissing unfounded essentialist arguments regarding gender construction, teachers are given practical tools toward greater self-awareness and practice, having a positive impact on lessening gendered assumptions regarding learning.
Learning Liberation and Integration: It's not About the Math!
This chapter pertains to the integrated nature of learning as a whole brain activity and reveals how compartmentalization of knowledge is a failed gendered assumption. Students need multiple approaches to learning where tools from other disciplines and student academic strengths can be leveraged for greater success. This gender compartmentalization is shown to begin at a very young age in the lives of learners (early childhood programs) and carries with them into subject area acquisition.
It is About the Math: Gendered Mediators and Executive Functioning Skills
Through exploring mediators, such as stereotype threat and self-efficacy, more clear and direct means of addressing gender biases are addressed.
Gender assumptions are also implicated in derailing student development of executive functioning skills, necessary for success in school and beyond. By indicating to students that everyone is capable, both in all subjects and in the assessment of learning those subjects, teachers can alleviate the environmentally ingrained gender inhibitors blocking learning success.
Rage On! Gender/Sex, Emotional, and Physical Expression in Schools
How schools respond to the social and emotional lives of students is at the heart of this chapter. Do we help facilitate healthy, gender supportive responses through the cultures of our schools, or do we construct narrow definitions of gender that inhibit student growth and maturation? How do schools play a fundamental role in helping students navigate their social and emotional development free of restrictive, binary, and damaging gender norms and assumptions?
The Crippling Impact of Mental Health Issues and Trauma: Gender Informed Responses
For schools to better serve students who suffer from mental health issues and trauma, a gender aware faculty and staff are essential. Gender construction and socialization, particularly for LGBTQIA+ students, lead to different responses and nuances by students that teachers need to be able to identify. Schools also need to see how approaches and policies can exacerbate pre-existing mental health issues and how gender bias plays into those policy decisions.
Conclusion: Reconstructing Schools and Celebrating Gender Diversity
Through the ancient art of Kintsugi, the author proposes a need to break down old constructions and understandings of gender to serve our students better in the future. This also includes shattering our old assumptions, both implicit and explicit. We need to open ourselves up to a new gender multiculturalism that dignifies emerging student identities in schools. ⠀