Gender in the Classroom and What We Don't Talk About

by ctrainham on October 27, 2016 - 11:31am

I come from a rural public school system, where much of the social structure followed a very traditional path, with the expected cliques and social roles. Similarly, the techniques used within the classroom are exactly what you would expect form a traditional rural school. After reading the article, I began to think about how my educational experience contained very much of expected gender roles and treatment. From the gym class sport choices to the course options presented, much of the average public school is based on gender roles that are much more traditional than one would think.

Following this train of thought, I begin to wonder why this is. Gender, much like race, is a very controversial issue and one that many people do not feel comfortable discussing or even addressing. But with what we know about the way that gender manifests itself, would it not be beneficial for us as a society to explore different ways to educate children, with the objective of creating an environment where they are set up to succeed? As the article states, there is a dogma attached to things such as single-gendered schools that has no strong backing. We need to ensure that the people who are going to grow up and take our place in this world have every opportunity to realize their full potential without antiquated ideas standing in their way.


Hi ctrainham,

I come from a similar background, having grown up between a rural area dominated by agriculture and a small town built around a military base. This background, and the fact that I am cis-gendered and heterosexual, kept me from having to contemplate the ideas discussed in the article you shared until I came into self-awareness late in my teenage years. I'm glad we can use this forum to discuss this topic, as it's certainly important for everyone to contribute thoughts and opinions on the topic and see the same from others so we can advance towards a more open society.

I agree that the topic remains controversial, especially so in places like the ones where we grew up. Implementing differential education intended to set people with gender differences up for success may help to diffuse some of that controversy. To answer the question you asked in your second paragraph, I believe it would be beneficial to explore these options. The article suggests offering "gender-informed" education where there is public demand, and I think that suggestion is a great first step towards integrating this type of education into any established public system.

Unfortunately, rural areas and small towns are likely to be places where public demand is not high enough to warrant the integration of gender-informed education into the existing system. What are some possible solutions to this predicted absence of gender-informed education in these areas?

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