Gender Bias in the Classroom

CSC Skill: Teachers will reflect on ways that gender bias can sneak into classrooms.

Gender Bias in the Classroom

CSC Skill: Teachers will reflect on ways that gender bias can sneak into classrooms.


At each table, have teachers come up with a definition of gender equity using Round Robin Brainstorming protocol. As a whole group, use the various definitions to come up with a shared definition to use for the activity. 

Next, hand out the Gender Equity in the Classroom  article. As they read, they should use Logographic Cues to markup the text. ( ?- I have a question/This doesn’t make sense, + I agree/I like this point, !- Something unexpected/surprising, - I disagree/I don’t agree with this point). 

After reading the article, use the protocol Silent Appointment for the staff to share their thoughts from the article. Have a few partnerships share with the whole group. 

Some questions to consider:
In what ways do we discriminate against boys?
In what ways do we discriminate against girls?
How can we bridge students to more participation in class? (Boys in elementary and girls in middle and high school)
What assumptions do we make about science, math?
What activities would help girls speak out more? Boys?

As a whole group, discuss how gender bias is showing up in your school. Over the next few weeks, each person should conduct a gender equity audit in their classrooms. The goal is to identify the hidden biases.  

Some possible things to consider in your gender equity audit:
What is the participation rate of students in your classroom along gender lines? 
Where do students sit in the room?
 What types of verbal and non-verbal feedback do you give students?
Who is represented in your curriculum and how? Which figures are portrayed as leaders? 
Which figures are portrayed as helpers or supporters? 
When it comes to STEM subjects, what are the messages that different students receive according to their gender? 
Who gets to blurt in your classroom?
Are higher level questions alternated between males and females?

Look For:
Work samples of girls and boys are displayed equally.
Teacher requests for help are equally assigned to girls and boys.
Classroom disruptors receive the same response. 
Classroom work is completed in cross-gender groupings.
Gender fair language is used.  She or he is not assigned for specific roles such as auto mechanic or nurse.
The same amount and type of casual conversations occur  with male and female students. 

Activity #2:

Come back together as a whole group. Have each person write down on a post it note one way that gender bias showed up in their audit. (In order to allow for anonymity, do not put names on the post it notes).

On separate tables, have papers with grade level or subject area groups listed (K-2, 3-5, ILA, Math,etc…). Have teachers place their post it notes on top of the papers for their group. Using the Campfire protocol, staff will pick up notes they did not write and come up with changes can be made to create a more equitable learning environment for all students.  

Have a recorder write down the changes that could be made to overcome the biases discovered. Use Roll ‘Em to have groups share out one bias recognized and one strategy to overcome it. 

Discuss: Where you will go from here? Will you as a school choose one area to focus on? Will each teacher choose a strategy to implement in their classrooms? How will you hold each other accountable for the changes? How often will you come back and complete a gender equity audit again?