ERIC Number: ED370140
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Mar
Fighting for Life in the Academy: Solutions to Gender Relationships from a Historical View.
Weeks, Dennis L.
Misunderstandings across communication situations frequently occur due to gender differences in communication styles, differences in either meanings or values attached to the linguistic symbols used to convey a message. An analysis of communication in the classroom based on Walter J. Ong's educational history, "Fighting for Life Contest, Sexuality, and Consciousness," and Deborah Tannen's "You Just Don't Understand: Men and Women in Conversation," suggests that stress for students and teachers alike may stem from the differences in the way that men and women teachers conduct discussions, make assignments and draw up syllabi. In most communication situations, the typical female response is non-agonistic; it centers on cooperation, feeling, emotion and connection. By contrast, the male pattern is hierarchical, argumentative and order-giving. Steps to help the teacher understand how these differences play into the classroom situation include (1) identifying the teacher's "stressor" (which gender style he or she leans toward and to what extent); (2) recognizing the difficulties that can occur when the teacher's gender style is different from the "ruling" style in the classroom; (3) acknowledging that female students can tolerate more in the way of step-by-step instructions and assignments intended to track students' progress; and (4) learning to use a variety of communication strategies, those of the same as well as the opposite gender. An understanding of such gender difficulties can lead to practical approaches to ameliorating them, including how to issue rules or assignments, how to direct discussions so as to minimize stress, and how to avoid the teacher's feeling of not being in control. (Two tables and five references are included.) (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A