Gendered Identities or Behavior in the Classroom
Gender identities refer to the particular body language, speaking styles, and mannerisms in boys and girls. I have chosen the environment in the classroom for observing as it is the best place to see the differences between genders. In the classroom, it is possible to understand what physical and motor skills are typical for boys and girls. Moreover, this place helps to reveal the differences in cognitive abilities and achievement motivation. The observation in the classroom can result in understanding interpersonal relationships, sense of self and self-esteem, and classroom activity of both genders.
The observed classroom is suitable for learning as it is a dedicated science room that is equipped with the necessary devices and contains the tables, maps, and books for studying sociology. The seating arrangement is in the form of the circle that gives the possibility to every learner to see each other and discuss the suggested questions.
During my presence in the classroom, there were 14 students (7 boys and 7 girls). They were discussing the problems of gender inequality in the society. One should that that all participants were active and absorbed in the learning process. There was no interruption during the class period. Thus, all students were very concentrated, interested, and curious. The teacher was females. However, she conducted very professionally and supported neither girls nor boys. The teacher set the objectives and explained the problem to establish the tone of the classroom. Teacher’s authority, comfortable classroom, and interesting subject contributed to making the classroom a favorable learning environment.
During by observation, I have noticed many interesting gendered patterns that underlined the crucial difference between boys and girls. Boys were more active than girls. They talked more and put many questions. They felt more superior comparing to girls. Moreover, they dominated in the group discussions and ignored girls’ requests and ideas. When the task was to work in pair, boys were in leading positions showing they were always right. One should say that in a pair boy-girl, boys tried to be competitive and reveal himself in the best way. As to girls, they were collaborative and conducted in such manner to avoid conflicts and contradictions.
When boys answered the questions, they were short and laconic. As to girls, they were expressive, emotional, and creative. Girls did not answer the questions when they were not sure that they were correct as they were afraid to show incompetence in front of their peers. As to boys, they were too talkative and suggested the different ideas correct and wrong. For me, this gendered pattern was not striking as these differences are evident not only in the classroom environment. I observed them in the family and at work.
I also noticed that boys were noisy and could not stand still for a long time. Consequently, they could talk with each other and distract from the discussion on doing other activities. As to girls, they were attentive and committed to the problem of the lesson. I noticed that girls wrote or note something more eagerly than boys. Boys insisted that they could remember everything or took girls’ notes. One should also mention that boys were aggressive and loud when the girls did not agree with them. Moreover, it was evident that boys held a higher self-esteem and self-worth. Consequently, they were extremely confident in their answers and opinions on gender issues. It was surprising to me that girls did not defend the idea of gender inequality in a proper way. They were a bit passive or felt less authority comparing to boys.
I also noticed that male students speak more frequently; they interrupted girls without raising their hands. However, the teacher did not make any remarks to them. There were the situations when female students could not complete their responses. Moreover, they made their statements at less length and less loudly. It means that they felt the lack of confidence and reliance on their forces. One should also say that girls expressed their ideas in more polite, less assertive, indirect, tentative, and hesitant manner.
The observed and described patterns could be regarded as gender differences among girls and boys. One should say that boys and girls are different in physical activity and motor skills, cognitive abilities and achievement motivation, interpersonal relationships and behavior, sense of self and self-esteem. These differences are natural and should be treated adequately to avoid the problems of gender inequalities and stereotypes that create the barrier between males and females. The observed and described patterns show that girls display positive classroom behaviors and approaches to learning comparing to boys. Not without a reason, gender issues exist as even in the classroom boys demonstrated their superiority. It means that family background and education reinforce gender challenges in the society.
The differences I have observed in the classroom are tied to the gender inequality in the community. First, males show that they have more authority and power than females. Second, it is evident that girls are doers, and boys are instructors. One can draw the parallel between the situation in the classroom and the gender roles of man and woman. Men always impose the role of housewife to women and believe that only they can occupy the leading positions. In the classroom, boys were forceful, assertive, and confident. Thus, they can be so in the relationships, work, and family. Girls came to doubt their skills and abilities. Thus, in the adult life, they can fail to try their efforts in the career. It means that gendered behaviors have formed since childhood.
Kimmel insists that gender differences are extremely exaggerated. However, indeed, they are reinforced by the stereotypes in the society. Men and women could have a lot in common if they were not separated at school and in the family. The problem is that everything is divided into something for males and females. Thus, this division is the main milestone for achieving gender equality. Even in the classroom boys try to manipulate with girls. It means that they imitate their fathers’ behaviors that could do the same in the family circle. In the classroom, male and female students had different speaking styles. Males spoke to establish hierarchy and status. Consequently, their speaking style was more argumentative than girls’ one.
Kimmel states that men and women have much in common. However, there is the gap between them created by the society that prevents from achieving equality. It means that parents should explain to their children that they are in equal gender roles and should demonstrate them the example. At school, teachers should also not divide groups into boys and girls to achieve the equality in the classroom. However, Kimmel is right stating that psychologists suggest the gender differences. Consequently, they are also guilty in the inequality between sexes.
In conclusion, it is necessary to say that there are gender inequalities in the classroom environment. They are provoked by the stereotypes, education, family background, and division of students according to gender. Males and females have a lot in common, and they should not be competitors but cooperators and collaborators in their thoughts and actions and only they can be equal.