Gender Differences and the Threat of Gender Stereotype in Science Education

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Gender differences in education is something of a common topic among educational studies since intensification in the 1970’s (Breakwell, 2003, p. 437). Gender differences among the subjects taught in school has been found to be somewhat more of a social construct rather than a concept that has any kind of scientific explanation because of the idea of gender differences being taken and changed into the idea of a gender stereotype in most parts of education (Crilly, 2013, p. 1).
The most common stereotypes that play a role in the gender differences that can be found in education are the ideas that girls are pre-determined for the English Language Arts subject and boys are have more of a proclivity for the mathematical areas in education. These ideas are attributed to the images that are often gendered in our culture (Breakwell, 2003, p. 437).
“It is argued that the social construction of science as ‘masculine’ discourage girls from participating in science by posing the risk of pressure to themselves—as more masculine and less feminine than their peers (Breakwell, 2003, p. 437).”
It is because of these beliefs being so widely known and instructors enforcing those beliefs in the classroom that they can become self-perpetuating (Crilly, 2013, p. 1). These gender stereotypes and pre-conceived notions that certain subject areas are more acceptable for each gender, can in turn cause students to believe that they will never do well in a subject area simply because of their gender (Crilly, 2013, p. 2). There is a common understanding that this type of stereotyping should be eliminated from education (Bursal, 2013, p. 1151).
Since the 1970’s, many studies have been performed and they have concluded that boys have significantly higher tes...

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Bursal, M. Longitudinal Investigation of Elementary Students' Science Academic Achievement in 4th-8th Grades: Grade Level and Gender Differences. Educational Sciences, 13, 1151-1156. Retrieved April 27, 2014, from the EBSCO Host database.
Crilly, K. How Educational Design Can Respond to the Impact of Gender in Australia.Redress, 22, 1-3. Retrieved April 27, 2014, from the EBSCO Host database.
YAVUZ GÖÇER, F., SUNGUR, S., & TEKKAYA, C. (2011). Investigating Elementary School Students' Motivational Traits in Science Classrooms. Education & Science / Egitim Ve Bilim, 36, 76-84. Retrieved April 27, 2014, from the EBSCO Host database.
Gömleksiz, Mehmet Nuri. Elementary School Students' Perceptions of the New Science and Technology Curriculum by Gender. Journal of Educational Technology & Science, 15, 116-126. Retrieved April 28, 2014, from the EBSCO Host database.

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