Learning to Lean InLark S. Escobar
Male and female learners may face dissimilar challenges in the classroom. While males may have a clear idea of what they want to study, and even where they expect to work upon graduation, students at the Women’s campus may not enjoy such confidence. Confidence comes from having certain knowledge of one’s interests, knowledge, abilities, skills, and connections.
While the male cohort may have ample opportunities to explore interests and develop professional connections, female students may not have any at all; and thus struggle to envision a clear path for their future.
Women entering the local workforce and global economy may not be adequately prepared for competing with men in the workplace. In order to prepare our learners for future success in their careers, here are some things to consider in your classroom (for all teachers):
- Are we teaching students how to really listen to each other and reinforcing principles of fairness and equitable opportunity in group work and in the class as a whole?
- Are we scaffolding learners into respectfully expressing and responding to opinions that they don’t necessarily agree with?
- Are we these desired behaviors consistently?
- What strategies are we explicitly teaching to our learners to build confidence over time?
- Are we teaching our learners to question information?
- How are we ensuring less confident learners take advantage of opportunities to speak and contribute during class?
- When we encourage and praise, what specific language are we using?
- Are we highlighting past accomplishments as well as future potential for all our learners?
When we consider these ideas and continue to focus on how we can keep improving together, we begin to lean in to the wind and can make gains for all learners now, and in the future.