+ Participation grades are, in effect, inherently sexist, as well as ableist.
Teachers, first off, favor boys speaking in the classroom, even ones who think they do a good job of classroom equality.
- teachers are more likely to call on boys and then go on to reinforce, praise and encourage them. When a boy gives a wrong answer, a teacher will spend time to help him reason out the correct answer. However, when a girl answers, a teacher is likely to either respond with a bland “okay” to her right answer or simply to move on to another student if her answer is incorrect.
- Boys are eight times more likely to call out in class without raising their hands and tend to dominate discussions. Boys are twice often used as role models in class and five times more apt to get a teacher’s attention when they raise their hands to recite. Boys often recite even if they have not done the day’s homework, whereas even well prepared girls hesitate to participate. The older girls get, the more they let boys take over the class.
- Teachers learn boys’ names more quickly.
- An underlying theme of coeducational schools is that if only boys would work harder and behave better, they’d get better grades. The underlying message for girls is “You are nice and well behaved, and you work hard, but you’re not very smart.”
This is not even considering students who suffer from social anxiety or autism, or who are maybe even just introverted. This is generally an ableist phenomenon. Besides, anxiety mostly affects—wait for it—women. Women are twice as likely to have anxiety than men are.
Classrooms need radical change. Learning gender roles begins during childhood, and what are we teaching children? That boys get to talk, and girls get to submit to them.