Elementary Schools — Dealing with the Biases

We won’t be spilling the beans if we say that women are inadequately represented in the field of math and science. There are various theories discussing the reasons for this situation, and many of them focus on childhood. According to these theories, the root cause lies in the methods of parenting that discourage daughters from taking up more challenging careers in these fields.

According to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, which is an American nonprofit research organization, families where the father is more educated than the mother and in families having low-income, such biases are far more evident. The road from kindergarten to a career choice is a narrow one for girls. Keeping that in mind, elementary schools in NYC and other cities seem to be a critical juncture in their lives. The influence of teachers at the elementary school level in overcoming such biases holds major significance. The thriving experiences of elementary education play a substantial role in the courses that students choose later in their academic life that eventually become their profession. As communities develop and focus more on this issue, such experiences can increase the number of women entering fields like computer science and engineering.

At an elementary school level, as the students emulate more, the behavior of the classroom teachers play a crucial role in diluting the differences between boys and girls. Such a behavior includes giving constructive responses, praise, help, and criticism equally to boys and girls.To create an inclusive environment where girls feel at ease to answer and clear their queries, educators must work together to ensure enough opportunities are presented to girls to engage within the classroom environment, as well as offer the girls the same type of feedback as provided to their male counterparts.

If not dealt properly, such differences may be carried through to college and later career pursuits. Previous studies have found that college professors and employers tend to discriminate against female scientists. In the United States, for instance, just 18.5 percent of high school students who take part in advanced placement exam are girls. In college, women earn only 12 percent of computer science degrees.

Dealing with any form of bias must be a collective effort. Together with elementary schools, parents and society as a whole should get sensitized to such biases and work together towards equality in the classroom.