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Gender Issues in Elementary School

Pre-school and kindergarten are often the first time children really start to think about the differences between boys and
girls. Children generally know that there are boys and girls and that they are different, but when they start school, they often
become more aware of those differences. Girls now have cooties, and boys are gross. It is in elementary school where
children start to learn about social constructions of gender. They learn that girls wear skirts and play with dolls and that boys
play with bugs and play sports. All of these issues start to shape the way they perceive themselves and others around them.
Gender Issues in Junior High School and Above
By junior high school, students have learned about and possibly accepted social constructions of gender. Ideas such as boys
being better at math and science begin to circulate and become an issue in classroom. These can cause boys to stress out and
girls to either strive to work harder or feel discouraged. Girls are encouraged to be neat and well-mannered, while boys are
taught to be outspoken and to think independently. These ideas about gender influence the courses and paths of education
some students take.
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Race Issues in Elementary School
Children do not identify themselves as a part of a specific race until they are informed that they are a part of one and thus
different from other people. In school, children can identify that people are different shades but do not naturally identify as
white or black. The absence of race classification in elementary school helps students to be unaffected by stereotypes and
generalizations. Once race is introduced, students can begin to feel inferior or inferior, and these feelings affect the way they
learn and how comfortable they are in the classroom.
Race Issues in High School and College
Once a student is in high school, they are well aware of their race and the way society perceives them. They are also aware of
generalizations and stereotypes attached to other races. Students might begin to separate themselves and seek out friends of
their race, as well as join organizations such as the Japanese or African Student Union. Complexes of inferiority or
superiority begin to surface and affect the way students chose their educational goals. An African-American student in a
college class with a majority of white and Asian students might feel a greater need to prove himself and experience high
levels of stress.
Combating Race and Gender Issues
It is crucial for teachers and parents to avoid racial and gender generalizations or influencing societal norms when talking to
their children and students. Teachers must attempt to teach lessons that highlight achievements of both men and women
and people of all races. Any sexual harassment or situations of hate must be dealt with immediately and firmly - not only
with punishment but with education as well. Providing a solid foundation about race and gender will help students avoid
problems with these issues in the classroom and later in life.

Read more : http://www.ehow.com/info_8111241_race-gender-issues-classroom.html

Gender bias in the classroom can be defined as how boys and girls are treated differently. In
the classroom, boys and girls read the same books and have the same teacher, but may
receive different educations because of gender bias. Bias based on a student's gender may
involve being called on more often, being given different guidelines for behavior and being
given different opportunities. Gender bias may be evidenced in what kinds of questions boys
and girls are asked, what students are encouraged to study and whether students receive a
sense of validation.

Read more : http://www.ehow.com/info_7861060_types-bias-classroom.html

The Teaching of Gender Issues in Elementary Schools
By Laurie Reeves, eHow Contributor



6Found This Helpful
Teaching gender diversity helps children understand and accept
Sexual identity in children forms in the preschool years. By the age of three, most children identify themselves as either
boys or girls, but they have not yet formed their gender identities. Gender identity refers to "the totality of physical and
behavioral traits that are designated by a culture as masculine or feminine," as defined by Webster's Medical dictionary.
The role of the educator in today's classroom is to create a gender-equitable and fair environment where children express
their gender identity without fear of retribution.
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Differences Between Boys and Girls in Education
How to Address Gender Bias in the Classroom
1. History
o Historically, if a girl child expressed a desire to do "boy" things, parental and authoritative figures discouraged this. This
applied to boys who liked "girl" things as well. Rigidly defined gender roles didn't allow children to express themselves
naturally. This form of discrimination and lack of tolerance is known as gender bias and is against the law in most
democratic societies today.
Classroom Environment
o Gender equality starts with the teacher setting a nonsexist classroom environment that does not stereotype gender roles. An
environment that recognizes students equally, regardless of sex, is the first step in teaching gender equality. Children first
learn what they live and the teacher sets this tone.
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Gender Issues
o Teaching children gender issues starts with using gender-neutral language. Choosing to use plural pronouns instead of
masculine or feminine ones helps avoid gender specific language. In using traditional children's music in the classroom,
switch out the "Mary had a Little Lamb," to "Johnny" instead of "Mary." Involve students in discussions about gender issues
and have them help to solve gender-related problems that may come up in the classroom.
Gender Diversity
o A classroom's environment should create a safe haven for gender diversity instead of creating one of stereotypical roles.
Provide alternatives in the classroom to the "pretend" kitchen -- instead set up an office, a workbench or a hospital
scenario. Provide images of men and women in non-stereotypical roles, such as women as firefighters or men as nurses.
Show boys and men participating in domestic tasks and caretaking roles previously assigned to women. Depict girls and
women in leadership roles and having occupations in science and mechanics.
Diverse Families
o Select children's books that display gender diverse roles that counter gender stereotypes. Provide magazine cutouts and
pictures that display diverse family units as opposed to the traditional stereotypical ones. Some families have mothers and
fathers, some only have a mother or a father, while some families have two mothers or two fathers. Provide an environment
where children understand and learn to accept diversity in multiple ways.

Read more : http://www.ehow.com/info_8412562_teaching-gender-issues-elementary-schools.html