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Mainstreaming gender in mathematics university teaching and an assessment from students and teachers

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Abstract

Although Spanish law obligates the integration of a gender perspective in university teaching, this does not happen in reality and much less in math subjects. We provide guidelines for reviewing math courses from a gender perspective. In particular, we focus on aspects such as: the adequate management of the classroom, the visibility of the contributions of women, the use of an inclusive language, the methodology through active teaching, the contents, the work in values by humanizing the problems, the use of the computer, an appropriate and diverse evaluation and, above all, interpersonal relationships, where empathy and breaking with stereotypes and implicit biases are fundamental. We show examples in some subjects, especially statistics in the field of Engineering and Health degrees. Results based on student participation in activities and their opinion are very satisfactory. Furthermore, feedback obtained after a course about math coeducation to other teachers is also very promising.
Mainstreaming gender in
mathematics university teaching
and an assessment from students
and teachers
Irene Epifanio; Lara Ferrando; Marina Martínez-García
Universitat Jaume I (Spain); Contact: http://www3.uji.es/~epifanio
XI Jornadas
Internacionales de
CAMPUS VIRTUALES
Salamanca (España)
Summary We provide guidelines for reviewing math courses from a gender
perspective at university, although these ideas also serve for lower
levels. In particular, we focus on aspects such as: the adequate
management of the classroom, the visibility of the contributions of
women, the use of an inclusive language, the methodology through
active teaching, the contents, the work in values by humanizing the
problems, the use of the computer, an appropriate and diverse
evaluation and, above all, interpersonal relationships, where
empathy and breaking with stereotypes and implicit biases are
fundamental.
We show examples in some subjects, especially statistics in the field
of Engineering and Health degrees.
Although Spanish law obligates the integration of a gender
perspective in university teaching, this does not happen in reality
and much less in math subjects.
Gender gap in STEM is important. However, few works deal with
integration of gender perspective at math, and less at university
level.
Results based on student participation in activities and their opinion
are very satisfactory. Furthermore, feedback obtained after a course
about math coeducation to other teachers is also very promising.
Guidelines The adequate management of the classroom.
The visibility of the contributions of women
in these areas.
The use of an inclusive language.
The methodology through active teaching.
The work in values by humanizing the
problems.
The contents.
The use of the computer.
An appropriate evaluation.
Interpersonal relationships, where empathy
is essential as well as breaking with
stereotypes and implicit biases.
Guidelines The adequate management of the classroom:
promoting an equal participation, be aware of
the different ways of communicating, etc.
The visibility of the contributions of women in
these areas.
The use of an inclusive language.
The methodology through active teaching.
The work in values by humanizing the problems.
The contents.
The use of the computer.
An appropriate evaluation.
Interpersonal relationships, where empathy is
essential as well as breaking with stereotypes and
implicit biases.
Guidelines The adequate management of the classroom.
The visibility of the contributions of women and
other minoritized groups in these areas: different
activities, ranging from quotes to escape rooms.
The use of an inclusive language.
The methodology through active teaching.
The work in values by humanizing the problems.
The contents.
The use of the computer.
An appropriate evaluation.
Interpersonal relationships, where empathy is
essential as well as breaking with stereotypes and
implicit biases.
Guidelines The adequate management of the classroom.
The visibility of the contributions of women in
these areas.
The use of an inclusive language in all levels, oral,
written, etc. Note that Spanish textbooks do NOT
use inclusive language, so material was prepared.
The methodology through active teaching.
The work in values by humanizing the problems.
The contents.
The use of the computer.
An appropriate evaluation.
Interpersonal relationships, where empathy is
essential as well as breaking with stereotypes and
implicit biases.
Guidelines The adequate management of the classroom.
The visibility of the contributions of women in these
areas.
The use of an inclusive language.
The methodology through active teaching: learning by
doing mathematics, working in cooperative groups, by
projects, etc.
Most of the projects developed by engineering students dealt with social
issues, and several on equality and carried out by boys, such as: “Are
contraceptive methods really used?, “The role of women in the Spanish
series of the s. XXI” or “The salary gap in basketball”.
The work in values by humanizing the problems.
The contents.
The use of the computer.
An appropriate evaluation.
Interpersonal relationships, where empathy is
essential as well as breaking with stereotypes and
implicit biases.
Guidelines The adequate management of the classroom.
The visibility of the contributions of women in these
areas.
The use of an inclusive language.
The methodology through active teaching.
The work in values in hidden curriculum and by
humanizing the problems: some activities were about
discrimination, climate change, etc.
http://www3.uji.es/~epifanio/TEACHINGP/gender.tar
The contents.
The use of the computer.
An appropriate evaluation.
Interpersonal relationships, where empathy is
essential as well as breaking with stereotypes and
implicit biases.
Guidelines The adequate management of the classroom.
The visibility of the contributions of women in these
areas.
The use of an inclusive language.
The methodology through active teaching.
The work in values by humanizing the problems.
The contents: showing the importance of adequate
sampling, the adequate questions in order to see all
the visions, i.e. to show the importance of taking into
account gender in health and engineering through
data, for instance.
The use of the computer.
An appropriate evaluation.
Interpersonal relationships, where empathy is
essential as well as breaking with stereotypes and
implicit biases.
Guidelines The adequate management of the classroom.
The visibility of the contributions of women in these
areas.
The use of an inclusive language.
The methodology through active teaching.
The work in values by humanizing the problems.
The contents.
The use of the computer: applied mathematics and
statistics require a computer to better understand the
concepts without tedious calculations. In addition, it
favors the approach towards ICT of women.
An appropriate evaluation.
Interpersonal relationships, where empathy is
essential as well as breaking with stereotypes and
implicit biases.
Guidelines The adequate management of the classroom.
The visibility of the contributions of women in these
areas.
The use of an inclusive language.
The methodology through active teaching.
The work in values by humanizing the problems.
The contents.
The use of the computer.
An appropriate evaluation: it should include a range of
different assessment activities to recognize diversity in
students, with explicit evaluation criteria. Rubrics are
important for avoiding bias.
Interpersonal relationships, where empathy is
essential as well as breaking with stereotypes and
implicit biases.
Guidelines The adequate management of the classroom.
The visibility of the contributions of women in
these areas.
The use of an inclusive language.
The methodology through active teaching.
The work in values by humanizing the problems.
The contents.
The use of the computer.
An appropriate evaluation.
Interpersonal relationships, where empathy is
essential as well as breaking with stereotypes and
implicit biases: we have to listen actively to our
students, to be open to their concerns and to
help them.
Results No resistance from students.
Anonymous survey at the end of the course:
100% satisfied with the methodology and the
project. The satisfaction rating in the official
university survey was 4.86 on average out of 5.
We improved the student participation and
academic results in comparison with the previous
course.
In November 2020, we carried out a virtual math
coeducation course for teachers in all educational
levels: http://www.coeducamates.uji.es/,
explaining many of the ideas commented in this
work and others. Six hundred people from all
over Spain took part. An anonymous
questionnaire was passed to attendees: they
were very satisfied.
Conclusions
Reference: Irene Epifanio. Guía para una
docencia universitaria con perspectiva
de género de Matemáticas. Xarxa Vives
d’Universitats. 2020.
Free and on-line book:
http://hdl.handle.net/10234/190009
Or free virtual course (3 hours) at
shorturl.at/zFH19
We have seen how the integration of the gender
perspective can be carried out in Math and Statistics
subjects. Furthermore, with good results.
A complete reference with many details, including
research, is Epifanio (2020).
There is no reference to equality in syllabus of the vast
majority of mathematics subjects of all the world's
universities.
However, teachers, also math teachers, must
contribute to the knowledge and development of:
Human Rights, democratic principles, the principles of equality between
women and men, of solidarity, of environmental protection, of universal
accessibility, and promotion of the culture of peace.
Thank you very much for
your attention
Contact: http://www3.uji.es/~epifanio
Chapter
Full-text available
In this paper we present different initiatives carried out by Spanish universities for the incorporation of the gender perspective in STEM disciplines. One of these initiatives is the collection of guides of the Vives University Network for university teaching. These guides cover the sections of objectives, contents, evaluation, learning environment, organizational modalities, teaching methods, and didactic resources with the aim of making women scientists visible in the discipline and eliminating the androcentric vision that predominates in science and engineering. In particular, we analyze the fields of engineering, mathematics, and physics. With the aim of being more than just a review of different initiatives, the paper unifies the fundamentals on which these initiatives are based. Thus, the general principles are well defined, and those aspects more related to each university and discipline particular cultures are identified. The comparison between initiatives will allow us to identify both successful strategies and resistances. Sometimes, the confluence of different events allows an action to become relevant or not. As a result, the paper can be used to effectively define the implementation strategy of the incorporation of gender perspective in STEM teaching at university level.
Chapter
Full-text available
La brecha de género existe en las áreas CTIM (Ciencia, Tecnología, Ingeniería y Matemáticas) y las niñas suelen tener menos autoconfianza en matemáticas. La ley obliga a incorporar la igualdad entre hombres y mujeres en todas las etapas educativas, entre ellas la etapa de primaria, donde nos centramos primordialmente. Es por ello que los principales objetivos son crear una actividad lúdica para: a) reconocer el papel de las mujeres en la historia, de las matemáticas en este caso; b) mostrar referentes de mujeres matemáticas actuales; c) romper estereotipos tanto de género como aquel de «¿para qué sirven las matemáticas?» y d) aprender jugando y disfrutar de un rato divertido, desconectando de la situación que obligó al estudiantado a continuar con las clases online, pues esta actividad se realizó en mayo de 2020. En esta actividad se hace uso de la gamificación educativa, en concreto a través del diseño de una escape room digital. Fue creada a propuesta de la Comisión de Mujeres y Matemáticas de la Real Sociedad Matemática Española para conmemorar el Día Internacional de la Mujer Matemática el 12 de mayo de 2020. Esta escape room, llamada «El rescate de la maga Omega», se encuentra en formato online, en cuatro idiomas y fue realizada usando la plataforma Google forms. Dicha actividad está dirigida especialmente al estudiantado de los primeros años de primaria, aunque es recomendable para todas las edades. Hace un guiño a la situación de pandemia vivida, donde se debe rescatar a una niña maga que ha quedado encerrada en el ordenador al querer ir a visitar a sus amigas y amigos del colegio. En la escape room se han elegido mujeres matemáticas de todas las épocas y lugares, una representación de su diversidad, que muestra que cualquiera puede dedicarse a las matemáticas. Desde Hipatia de Alejandría (Egipto, África), a Emmy Noether (Alemania, Europa) o Maryam Mirzakhani (Irán, Asia), también se incluyen diversas áreas de las matemáticas, de las más aplicadas con Florence Nightingale, a las más teóricas con Sofia Kovalevskaya, de familia gitana. Otra de las matemáticas que aparecen es la afroamericana Katherine Johnson, y Ada Lovelace, conocida como la primera programadora de la historia. Se comentan sus logros de forma divulgativa, para mostrar la utilidad de las matemáticas. Uno de los ejemplos claros en la escape room es la presentación de la matemática española Ana Justel, que estudia los efectos del cambio climático desde la Antártida. En referencia a los resultados, la escape room fue realizada por decenas de miles de escolares en 2020 y continua activa. Contestaron voluntariamente un cuestionario sobre el conocimiento adquirido y su satisfacción. La mayoría (52.9%) de las personas que contestaron no conocían a ninguna de las matemáticas previamente, y los comentarios fueron muy positivos. De ahí que mediante un juego, se logró presentar a mujeres matemáticas, sus logros y dificultades que encontraron por ser mujer a lo largo de la historia. Fue una actividad realizada de manera multitudinaria.
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