1. Don’t hinder math interest for girls in STEM through your own bias.
Before helping girls in STEM excel, we must first learn to help ourselves. Everyone knows that teachers want students to reach their goals (you wouldn’t be reading this article if you didn’t), yet a teacher who has a girls-in-STEM bias – which could be a subconscious issue – against female students could hinder mathematical growth. During a recent segment, NPR social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam discussed a study from Tel Aviv, which found teachers unfairly graded female sixth-grade math students lower than boys and were more likely to provide helpful feedback to male pupils.
Take a moment to examine how you grade students and the methods of encouragement that are used in your classroom during math lessons or when exams are returned. Ask a trusted colleague to sit in during a math lesson that includes returning graded tests. Are you or your colleague able to identify a difference regarding the manner in which feedback is provided to boys and girls? Pinpoint these exact disparities and work toward providing equally constructive feedback for all students and address how they can overcome math roadblocks.