Is Stereotyping Contagious? Essay

Is Stereotyping Contagious? Essay

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Is Stereotyping Contagious?

"Recent research indicates that the gap between male and female students' mathematics achievement is gradually beginning to diminish (Gutbezahl, 1995); however, female students are still underrepresented in advanced mathematics classes as well as in careers involving mathematics (Kerr,1994; Stage & Maple, 1996)" (Drzewiecki and Westberg 1). This should concern society including parents, teachers, and students. Carmen Keller is one that has explored the topic of a male driven mathematical field. The goal in her article, " Effect of Teachers' Stereotyping on Students' Stereotyping of Mathematics as a Male Domain" is to discover and prove one aspect to this male domain. This being, students of teachers who tend to stereotype mathematics also tend to stereotype mathematics.

Throughout the entire article, Keller supports her thesis very well. The data she uncovers and develops is reliable, because she considers and eliminates features that could possibly factor into her research. She controls external and internal influences such as: school grade, school track, previous achievement; and interest and self-confidence, respectively. Great research data and analysis helps the reader feel supported and the logical information helps connect society and sciences. The following information is a summary of the data and interpretations provided in Carmen Keller's article found in The Journal of Social Psychology.

Keller examines an internal influence that effects education, students' perception of mathematics as a male domain. With support of other research she provides, in short, the students' beliefs and their performance are correlated. Meaning that when comparing graphs of student beliefs on gender success in mathematics and actual success, the graphs follow a similar pattern. Through personal experience, I have found this to be true. Students that have positive views about a particular subject tend to be more interested, thus performing better. This also works on the other end of the spectrum. Negative views deem less effort, which produces results below possible accomplishment. The student is not all at fault for these beliefs; they are influence by an outside source in some way. Whether this outside influence is a fellow student, parents, siblings or teachers I feel I still need some more proof. Keller is tryi...


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...nces that she did not control. Carmen Keller's article was very informative. Some of the data may have been slightly complicated for an average consumer, not educated in statistics. I have always questioned why I have found more males in my math classes throughout my education and while researching my possible mathematical careers. Now, after reading Keller's article, I have more of an understanding about one of the contributing factors found in the gender-divided mathematical field.

Works Cited

Drzewiecki, L. and Westberg, K. "Gender Differences in High School Students' Attitudes Toward Mathematics in Traditional Versus Cooperative Groups." The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented. 1997, Spring Newsletter.

Gutbezahl, J. "How Negative Expectancies and Attitudes Undermine Females' Math
Confidence and Performance: A Review of the Literature." ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 380 279. 1995.

Kerr, B., "Smart girls too." Ohio Psychological Press 1994.

Stage, F. K., and Maple, S. A., "Incompatible Goals: Narratives of Graduate Women in the Mathematics Pipeline." American Educational Research Journal (1996): 33, 23-51.

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