Gender profoundly affects identity and power structures in the classroom, and many faculty who recognize this are working thoughtfully to promote gender inclusivity in their classrooms. In doing so, they are drawing from a wealth of good evidence-based practices. Indeed, recent scholarship has strived to move from understanding biases in the classroom to preparing effective practices to change that bias (Chin et al., 2020), examining how COVID has impacted classroom gender bias (Berheide et al, 2022) and identifying ways that we can make classrooms open and safe for all learners (Harbin, 2016).
In this episode of What We’re Learning About Learning, you’ll hear experiences and strategies from Amanda Phillips, Associate Professor in English, and affiliate faculty in American Studies, Film and Media Studies, and Women and Gender Studies; Sivagami Subbaramanthe, founding director of Georgetown’s LGBTQ Resource Center, and adjunct faculty in the Department of Performing Arts and Theater; Elizabeth Velez, adjunct faculty member in Women and Gender Studies; and heath pearson, Assistant Professor in Anthropology and affiliate faculty in Justice and Peace Studies.
Some of the key takeaways you will hear from faculty in this episode include:
- Gender inequities play out in a variety of ways in the classroom and, by paying attention to these gender dynamics, faculty can implement strategies to address the inequities.
- Tuning into how gender intersects with other aspects of identity, such as race, economic class, and sexuality, can help faculty with fostering inclusivity and moderating discussions.
- Creating space for students to choose if and when to disclose their identities can help foster a safe and inclusive environment.
- Reflecting on one’s own conscious and unconscious assumptions about gender can increase faculty awareness about their own gender identity and how they represent themselves in the classroom.
- The classroom can be structured as a space where students of all identities feel safe, can be vulnerable, and trust that they will be respected.
- Perfection isn’t the goal, and many faculty struggle to always remember to say the correct thing. The goal is respecting and listening to students.
To take a deeper dive into the literature that has informed their teaching practices, see our Resources and Additional Research sections in our Show Notes. There, you’ll find resources on how gender inclusivity can be understood and facilitated in classrooms, from information on biases (Moss-Racusin et al, 2012) and gender distributions (Leslie et al, 2015), to how COVID has affected gender and racial differences in the classroom (Berheide et al, 2022).