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groups of women-Studies

whitman at arris.com whitman at arris.com
Wed Jun 22 14:57:10 EST 1994

In article <CrHsIA.qxx at mozo.cc.purdue.edu> oommen at brazil.psych.purdue.edu (Mona
Oommen) writes:
>In article <199406161246.FAA21996 at net.bio.net> MLJAP at VTVM1.CC.VT.EDU writes:
>>Two years ago, when teaching a molecular biology lab course, I said at
>>the beginning, before people picked their own lab partners, that there
>>was research indicating that women in mixed-gender groups get less out
>>of courses than single-gender groups. The class divided themselves
>>pretty much by gender, at least among the undergraduates. I think this
>>had a positive impact on the students. I had also observed men
>>dominating groups. One-on-one assertiveness training will also help -
>>the self-confidence from doing it yourself and getting it right is
>>invaluable. Muriel Lederman Biology Virginia Tech Blacksburg VA
>This is really an interesting approach.  I've used it before in other
>contexts.  I was wondering if anyone has a reference for this particular
>study (mixed-gender vs. single-gender groups).  It would be good to be
>able to back oneself up when students ask, as they invariably do (and
>should too).  Thank you.

There is a book called "Failing at Fairness, How american schools cheat girls",
I forgot who it is by(david and myra slanick???), but it is a couple who have
been studying this for the past 22 years.  They have clear studies and proof
which show these dynamics.  Women/girls in all female schools, classes, or
groups are more assertiv, communicative, and learn better.  There is no
question about it.  There are of course alwyas the few exceptions of very
bright, outgoing and assertive young women, but they are definately in the
minority.  I highly suggest you check this work out.

In addition, when I was a TA, I allowed the students to choose their own
groups, which  surprise surprise fell along gender lines.  However, I had no
complaint as I felt the women were better off this way.  In addition, I always
made sure that I was providing strong support and encouragement for the women
in my class.  I often found that very few of these women had had any quality
mentoring or encouragement in science.

Good luck!

Laura Savel Whitman
Molecular Biology
whitman at arris.com

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