Poster Title

The Impact of Teaching Gender Issues on College Students’ Awareness, Knowledge, and Sensitivity to the Topic

Location

Robert L. Carothers Library and Learning Commons

Start Date

13-4-2011 10:00 AM

End Date

13-4-2011 3:00 PM

Abstract

In an effort to evaluate the effectiveness of a course module being taught to students enrolled in a large (approximately 850) general psychology course, students were administered a pretest to assess their awareness of, knowledge about, and sensitivity to gender issues. After the module was taught, students were given the same survey as a posttest. The analysis revealed that there were significant (all p < 0.05) differences in student awareness and knowledge of gender issues as a function of this course module. On the other hand, sensitivity to these issues appeared to be less susceptible to our teaching procedures. This was somewhat expected as research indicates that it can be difficult to change student attitudes (Boatright-Horowitz, 2005). In its current format, the course module for this class involves discussions of chromosomal and hormonal anomalies that give rise to physical and psychological sexual variations. It also includes information about gender as a social construct. As a result of these data, we plan to incorporate information about intersexualism into this course module, specifically the work of Faustos-Sterling (1993), regarding the possibility that there are five sexes. Our expectation is that this additional information would be eye opening for our students and possibly impact their sensitivity to the plight of people whose sexuality deviate from the norm. Our work also illustrates the importance of using scientific methods for assessing the effectiveness of classroom discussions and activities, as well as using the results to guide future classroom curriculum.

Boatright-Horowitz, S. (2005). Teaching antiracism in a large introductory psychology class: A course module and its evaluation. Journal of Black Studies, 36 (1), 34-51.

Fausto-Sterling, A. (1993). The Five Sexes: Why Male and Female Are Not Enough. The Sciences, 33 (2), 20-24.

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Apr 13th, 10:00 AM Apr 13th, 3:00 PM

The Impact of Teaching Gender Issues on College Students’ Awareness, Knowledge, and Sensitivity to the Topic

Robert L. Carothers Library and Learning Commons

In an effort to evaluate the effectiveness of a course module being taught to students enrolled in a large (approximately 850) general psychology course, students were administered a pretest to assess their awareness of, knowledge about, and sensitivity to gender issues. After the module was taught, students were given the same survey as a posttest. The analysis revealed that there were significant (all p < 0.05) differences in student awareness and knowledge of gender issues as a function of this course module. On the other hand, sensitivity to these issues appeared to be less susceptible to our teaching procedures. This was somewhat expected as research indicates that it can be difficult to change student attitudes (Boatright-Horowitz, 2005). In its current format, the course module for this class involves discussions of chromosomal and hormonal anomalies that give rise to physical and psychological sexual variations. It also includes information about gender as a social construct. As a result of these data, we plan to incorporate information about intersexualism into this course module, specifically the work of Faustos-Sterling (1993), regarding the possibility that there are five sexes. Our expectation is that this additional information would be eye opening for our students and possibly impact their sensitivity to the plight of people whose sexuality deviate from the norm. Our work also illustrates the importance of using scientific methods for assessing the effectiveness of classroom discussions and activities, as well as using the results to guide future classroom curriculum.

Boatright-Horowitz, S. (2005). Teaching antiracism in a large introductory psychology class: A course module and its evaluation. Journal of Black Studies, 36 (1), 34-51.

Fausto-Sterling, A. (1993). The Five Sexes: Why Male and Female Are Not Enough. The Sciences, 33 (2), 20-24.