An Interesting Perspective: The Nature of Science

Howdy bloggers,

This week officially marks the seventh installment of An Interesting Perspective. In today’s post, we will discuss the importance of equity within the classroom, and how having an equitable classroom is beneficial to everyone.

Picture this. You hear that a new, ground-breaking scientific discovery was found. It’s all anybody is talking about. You hear while walking through the streets, “This discovery has the potential to change the world.” Now, picture what you think the scientist who discovered this looks like. You might be thinking of somebody like this:

Image result for albert einstein    Image result for James Watson    Image result for Thomas Hunt Morgan

But why didn’t you think of somebody like this:

Image result for Rosalind Franklin    Image result for james west    Image result for mae jemison

A scientist is not defined by their appearance. Anybody can be a scientist, no matter their height, their weight, their age, the clothing they wear, their gender, or their ethnicity.

With this said, we often see very large discrepancies between males and females in science. This can be attributed to many things, but one of them is schooling. In fact, we have seen widespread gender segregation in schools, which has hindered effective classroom communication.

This is dangerous, and can be very detrimental to students. Balance is necessary for any part of life, and that includes equity within a classroom. Take this for example. We can compare classroom equity with basketball. In basketball, if a team only settles for outside jump shots, they may score some big baskets, but won’t be able to score some easy baskets in the post. In a classroom, if all of your focus is on male students succeeding in science, you will have some go on to become scientists, but you will have missed out on the opportunity to encourage females to do the same.

So, what are some strategies to create this balance?

Place female students in leadership roles as often as male students. This is essential for classroom equity, because it allows both males and females to be seen as leaders equally. it also gives both males and females a chance to experience leadership roles, which can create a better sense of responsibility and understanding.

Call on males and females equally. This is crucial. This allows students to see that their ideas and inputs are an important part of the classroom discussion and learning process. It allows them to see that their ideas do matter and that they can make an impact.

Intervene when females defer to males, and males allow them to. Don’t allow students to defer questions to which they’re not sure. Allow them to think through the question and formulate their own answers. If students are constantly deferring their questions, they will not be confident in their problem solving abilities.

Promote non-traditional career paths. This can be applied to all genders. If you have female students who want to pursue a career in STEM, work with them to do so. The same is true for males. If you have male students who want to pursue art or early childhood education, work with them to do so, as well. Diversity in any career field is important to create a new perspective, which can help solve many problems.

Cartoons are helpful. #equityineducation

A post shared by Allison Loggins-Hull (@alogginshull) on

Having an inequitable classroom can be a hindrance to everyone. Instead, have an equitable classroom. This allows students to have the best opportunity for success in whatever it is they choose to pursue. It promotes confidence and pride in the students’ work and thoughts. It levels the playing field and allows students the opportunity to bring out their full potential.

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8 Responses to An Interesting Perspective: The Nature of Science

  1. rohlfswe says:

    Shay,
    A lot of the same strategies can be used to encourage students of color, both male and female, to pursue STEM. You must make sure they are in positions of leadership frequently, get called on frequently, and make sure they don’t give up on a question or project. You must encourage them to be the best they can be and instill a sense of pride in their work.

  2. rohlfswe says:

    Tom,
    Finding the strategies that can make a specific classroom more equitable is essential. Every classroom is different, so you will need to use multiple different strategies with each one. The ones above are just a few to get you started. The important thing about equity in the classroom is finding the right balance. If you can create a balance in your classroom, it can help lead to an equitable classroom, and increased interest in the subject by all students.

  3. rohlfswe says:

    Katin,
    Some of the things that are done in classrooms, and in other aspects of life, that hinder women include men talking more, and dominating the conversations. This is really important in classroom equity because, if the men dominate the conversation, the women can often feel as if they have no voice in the matter. This can translate into other aspects of their lives where they feel men dominate the narratives, and can cause them to defer back to the things that make them feel comfortable.

  4. rohlfswe says:

    Hayley,
    It absolutely is our job to change the way we approach equity within the classroom. If our classrooms are not equitable, they will not allow for our students to live up to their fullest potential. This can cause a sense of inadequacy, and can ultimately lead to students becoming uninterested in the field. Approaching your classroom in an equitable way can make students feel comfortable and can give them the confidence necessary to pursue their interests.

  5. Shay says:

    Billy,
    I absolutely love the way you write! I also loved all the different strategies you gave to get more girls interested and involved in STEM. I also think it was very important that you brought up leadership and other traits that have typically been attributed to men. Yes, we need to get more girls interested in STEM occupations, but we also have to break down the wall that men are better leaders. Helping students become empowered will help them in any profession or walk of life they decide to pursue. I want to know what you will do to help get people of color more interested in STEM and how you will help them take on leadership roles? You focused a lot on women in STEM, but what about other minorities?

  6. radfortj says:

    Billy,
    This post speaks volumes to equity and how it is such an important part of science on a societal level, and in smaller settings. I think it is important that you start you post showing examples of scientists and how they relate to the concept of equity. The most important thing you do in this blog is give concrete examples of how to improve equity in your classroom. Sometimes as teachers, it is easy for us to distinguish the problem yet we can find it hard to find a solution to it. So these examples of how to improve equity in the classroom are very important and a great reference to all future teachers.

  7. angelokm says:

    Billy,

    I really liked your blog post this week! I thought you did a great job of explaining equity in the classroom. I loved how you made the reader think about the “typical scientist” and explaining why we normally think of scientists are white males. Your strategies are really helpful in making a good classroom environment for women! I thought your graphics were great; I used one like the equity verses equal. I think I would have liked to see some things used in the classroom that hinder women’s education. What are somethings done that do not make an equitable classroom for women?

    Katin

  8. johns708 says:

    Billy-
    I love the beginning of your blog. It was a great way to show how we are pretty unaware about many famous minority scientists (well, should be famous). I do think a lot of this stems from our educational experience and how exposed we were to various minority scientist, if any. So this is a great way to introduce the issue in our education system today. It’s our job to change this! Your classroom ideas for creating equity with your women and men students were great. I also liked that you differentiated equity and equality because it really is an important distinction. Great blog!

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