Gender bias & teachers : college students' perceptions of sexual discrimination in their high school Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/cz30pz367

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  • The field of gender bias indicates that teachers are a significant source of gender-role socialization for students. This study focuses on post hoc recollections of college students' perceptions of gender bias exhibited by their high school teachers. Specifically, this study asks students to define sex discrimination, as well as describe instances of sex discrimination they experienced or observed exhibited by their high school teachers. Several unanswered questions emerged from a review of the literature: (1) students' reports of the extent to which they experience sex discrimination exhibited by their teachers; (2) students' observations of sex discrimination exhibited toward students of the same sex, as well as toward students of the opposite sex; (3) students' reports of the sex of teacher involved in the sexually discriminative instances they describe; (4) students' definitions of sex discrimination; and (5) students' descriptions of their own experiences of sex discrimination. Consequently, one hypothesis and five research questions are posed to investigate these unanswered questions in the literature. A survey instrument incorporating both closed and open-ended questions explores the hypothesis and research questions. Participants for this study include 149 undergraduate students (63 females, 86 males) in introductory communication and psychology courses at a western university. Results of the survey are analyzed using both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. The closed-ended questions reveal that male and female students experienced and observed sex discrimination exhibited by their teachers with similar frequency (in this case 'Very Rarely'). The open-ended questions indicate that males and females experienced and observed their teachers exhibiting different types of sexually discriminative behaviors toward male and female students (e.g., females described being treated as if they were unintelligent; males described being disciplined more strictly than females). Both male and female students' definitions of sex discrimination are very similar. In addition, the sex of the teacher described exhibiting sex discrimination appears to make a difference. Although previous research seems to suggest that male and female teachers are equally biased in their display of sexually discriminative behavior toward male and female students, this study's results show that both male and female students perceived male teachers to be more biased toward female students than female teachers.
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