Do teachers equate male and masculine with lower academic engagement? How students’ gender enactment triggers gender stereotypes at school
- 2.3k Downloads
Girls presently outperform boys in overall academic success. Corresponding gender stereotypes portray male students as lazy and troublesome and female students as diligent and compliant. The present study investigated whether these stereotypes impact teachers’ perceptions of students and whether students’ visible enactment of their gender at school (behaving in a very masculine or feminine way) increases the impact of these stereotypes on teachers’ perceptions of students. We hypothesized that teachers would ascribe more behavior that impedes learning and less behavior that fosters learning to male students who enact masculinity as compared with male students who show gender-neutral behavior and female students. Three pilot studies (N = 104; N = 82; N = 86) yielded pretested material for a randomized vignette study of N = 104 teachers. The teachers read one randomly assigned vignette describing a male (or female) student enacting his (or her) gender (or not) and rated how likely this student would be to display behaviors that impede or foster learning in a 2 (between: target students’ gender) × 2 (between: gender enactment [yes/no]) × 2 (between: teachers’ gender) × 2 (within: ascribed behavior) factorial design. As expected, male students enacting masculinity were rated as showing the lowest amount of academic engagement. Results are discussed with regard to the current debate on the causes of boys’ lower academic success.
KeywordsGender stereotypes Masculinity Gender differences in academic achievement Teachers’ expectations Academic engagement
The current research was supported by a grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) allocated to the second author (KE 1412/2-1).
- Department of Education and Skills. (2007). Gender and education: The evidence on pupils in England. London: Department of Education and Skills.Google Scholar
- Finkenauer, C., Engels, R. C., Meeus, W., & Oosterwegel, A. (2002). Self and identity in early adolescence: The pains and gains of knowing who and what you are. In T. M. Brinthaupt & R. P. Lipka (Eds.), Understanding early adolescent self and identity. Applications and interventions (pp. 25–56). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
- Fiske, S. T., & Neuberg, S. L. (1990). A continuum of impression formation, from category based to individuating processes: Influences of information and motivation on attention and interpretation. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 23, 1–74. doi: 10.1016/s0065-2601(08)60317-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Glock, S., & Krolak-Schwerdt, S. (2014). Stereotype activation versus application: how teachers process and judge information about students from ethnic minorities and with low socioeconomic background. Social Psychology of Education. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s11218-014-9266-6
- Goffman, E. (1976). Gender advertisements. Communications and culture. New York, NY: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
- Hamilton, D. L., Sherman, S. J., & Ruvolo, C. M. (1990). Stereotype-based expectancies: Effects on information processing and social behavior. Journal of Social Issues, 46(2), 35–60. 10.1111/j.1540-4560.1990.tb01922.x.
- Hannover, B. (1997). Das dynamische Selbst: Die Kontextabhängigkeit selbstbezogenen Wissens (The dynamic self: Context dependency of self related knowledge). Bern, Seattle: Huber.Google Scholar
- Hannover, B., & Kessels, U. (2011). Sind Jungen die neuen Bildungsverlierer? Empirische Evidenz für Geschlechterdisparitäten zuungunsten von Jungen und Erklärungsansätze (Are boys left behind? Reviewing and explaining education-related gender disparities). Zeitschrift für Pädagogische Psychologie, 25, 89–103. doi: 10.1024/1010-0652/a000039 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Havighurst, R. J. (1961). Human development and education. New York: Longmans, Green & Co.Google Scholar
- Kessels, U., & Hannover, B. (2008). When being a girl matters less: Accessibility of gender-related self-knowledge in single-sex and coeducational classes and its impact on students’ physics-related self-concept of ability. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 78, 273–289. doi: 10.1348/000709907X215938 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kessels, U., Warner, L. M., Holle, J., & Hannover, B. (2008). Identitätsbedrohung durch positives schulisches Leistungsfeedback [Threat to idendity through positive feedback about academic performance]. Zeitschrift für Entwicklungspsychologie und Pädagogische Psychologie, 40, 22–31. doi: 10.1026/0049-8618.104.22.168 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Krahé, B., Berger, A., & Möller, I. (2007). Entwicklung und Validierung eines Inventars zur Erfassung des Geschlechtsrollen-Selbstkonzepts im Jugendalter [Development and validation of an inventory for measuring gender role self-concept in adolescence]. Zeitschrift für Sozialpsychologie, 38, 195–208. doi: 10.1024/0044-3522.214.171.124 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Lam, S.-F., Jimerson, S., Kikas, E., Cefai, C., Veiga, F. H., Nelson, B., & Zollneritsch, J. (2012). Do girls and boys perceive themselves as equally engaged in school? The results of an international study from 12 countries. Journal of School Psychology, 50, 77–94. doi: 10.1016/j.jsp.2011.07.004 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Linville, P. W., & Carlston, D. E. (1994). Social cognition of the self. In P. G. Devine, D. L. Hamilton, & T. M. Ostrom (Eds.), Social cognition: Impact on social psychology (pp. 143–193). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.Google Scholar
- National Center for Education Statistics. (2002). The condition of education. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
- National Center for Education Statistics. (2009). The condition of education. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
- Ostendorf, F., & Angleitner, A. (2004). NEO-Persönlichkeitsinventar nach Costa und McCrae, Revidierte Fassung (NEO-PI-R) [NEO-Personality Inventory Revised]. Göttingen: Hogrefe.Google Scholar
- Statistisches Bundesamt Deutschland. (2011). Datenreport 2011: Ein Sozialbericht der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Band I [Data report 2011]. Bonn: Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung.Google Scholar