When our education system cares only to final outcome, why should I do my project before the deadline?

One of my friend has posted this TED talk recently on her Facebook page. I enjoyed a lot by watching this talk. The procedure is the same as what I have  been doing during my education from as early as primary school till today! It seems, almost all of us, if we don’t learn anything from education system, we are master and proficient in “procrastination.” There is a joke that says, we have no PhD graduates and  no tenured professors without deadlines! God don’t get deadlines from us!

But the question is, why all of us, are used to procrastinate our tasks up to the last minutes? My question is how much of this behavior results because of the system?

Part of this behavior, I believe, can be explained by our education system. The education system cares only to outcome and not to procedure. The procedure does not matter for the system and the system does not reward people based on the procedure but it only praise them based on their outcome. I understand that there is a problem in most cases to identify the procedure, however, there are various conditions that the process can also be measured and rewarded.  For instance, in primary education, students tend to attend in lecture based classes and they mostly evaluate based on test scores (midterms and finals). Students know this fact that their final grades depend only on their test scores and the learning process does not matter for teachers. In this situation, a rational behavior will be procrastinate your learning process for the tests’ nights. But what if the learning process is also matter? If instead of only tests scores, the students’ grades depend on the learning process, such as class participation, class activities, and projects that they have to do during a semester with weekly reports, then, we may expect students put efforts and times for their course not only at exams’ nights. Using online platforms such as class forum also can help students learn do their jobs on time instead of procrastinating them for last minutes. During higher education (college education and graduate school), instructors have more freedom to give more weights on learning process rather than sticking to test scores. However, I think the exercise should be started from the beginning of someone’s education. Paying attention to learning procedure just when a person enter to college is too late for changing in his/her behavior. I am aware of the fact that most of us, regardless of our education system, tend to procrastinate our duties based on “Parkinson’s Law.” This law simply said that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” however, I think with correct system that rewards the process rather than the outcome, we can alleviate the procrastination behavior. If we have a system that teaches us that life is a marathon not a sprint ( as Professor Duckworth told in her ted talk), then we learn to do our duties in a precise schedule rather than doing it at the 11:45 pm of the due date! I am not expertise in education policy but I believed we need to think about redesigning the current education system. In this current world, procrastination does not work and work has been done in last minutes does not have enough quality to solve our complicated problems. We need to learn to change our views and learn to be motivated and passion for our long term goals. This paradigm shift needs an educational system that teaches kids to be gritty and passion, to look at the whole life as a long procedure rather than district moments, and to do their exercises every day like a marathon runner!


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Grit, a key to success?

I have watched this TED talk during weekend for the second time when I was browsing TED to find a good talk for my free time. In this talk, Professor Duckworth of University of Pennsylvania presented her research about the key success in learning and education. The idea of her PhD dissertation came to her mind when she was a teacher in New York public school for seven grader in mathematics. She learned that the thing matters in success of her students is beyond their IQ and their talent. She later on called that thing as “grit”.  Dr Duckworth’s research is looking at learning from psychological and motivational perspective. Through her research in various contexts, she finds out that one characteristic is a significant predictor of success which she called it grit. Grit, as she defined, is a motivation, passion, and perseverance for a long term goals.  Grit means working hard to get future into the reality. She describes grit as a point of view of “life as a marathon not sprint. ” Her research currently is to find new ways to make people specially kids to be gritter.

As a graduate student interested in education issues and working on inequality in education achievement, I think her idea is a novel approach to think about learning. In my research I try to measure inequality of opportunity in education outcome. I try to decompose the effect of various circumstances such as gender, parental education, socio-economic background of the student, and his/her community characteristics from his/her effort/luck. The idea is, your outcome should only be depend on your effort and not your circumstances such as your race or gender. The index I have calculated is called  inequality of opportunity (IOP) in education. Using Dr. Duckworth terminology, grit is a characteristic of a kid which is under her control, the same as effort, and as a result it is not part of IOP index. My point is, our current education system is not a system which is encouraging kids to be gritty. In fact in a system which your success measures with standard test scores and your grades for midterms and final tests, getting bad score in one test, can easily kill your motivation and grit. We live in a world that we need to have solid motivation for a long term to obtain our goals. In this world, it is important for every person to empower herself not to be disappointed very easily, however, neither in school nor in college, kids have no chance to learn about motivation and grit. We trained our kids to care about their test scores. If you got 95 in a course, you would call successful. While getting 95 is not necessarily means you are a gritty and motivated person. Maybe you have good IQ and could learn stuff very easily but without strengthening your passion, your perseverance for a long term goals, and in one word, without being gritty, could you be successful in long term both in your life and in your career? It seems the answer is “no” and unfortunately our education system not only teach to be gritty, it sometimes kills our motivation too.


In addition to this issue, I think about motivation and grit as a tool to help students who leave behind to improve their situation and outcomes. My idea is, if in a community race or gender (for instance being female and being black) has a great influence on a student education outcome, training female students or ethnic minority students to be grittier and be self-motivated can help them to improve their learning and education outcome and decrease the gap in their outcome with other students. In this view, encouraging kids to be passionate about their  goals can decrease IOP in education outcome.



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Teacher evaluation: how much it shows the truth?

This semester I am teaching principle of microeconomics. My class is a large class with more than 100 students. This is my first time that I teach such a large class and in this view, it is a fascinating experience. I have a policy to ask from my students to give me a feedback about my teaching. I ask my student to fill out a survey and also write their comments in the middle of semester. This semester I asked from students before spring break and more than 65% of class filled out the survey. The survey helps me a lot to improve my teaching skill and after the spring break I try to apply some of the feed back I got into my teaching approach. However, I found their evaluation is not completely accordant with reality. For instance, I do my best to bring the real world examples into class and since the course is talking about the theory of microeconomics, most of the time it is hard to find a good example that matched with real life situation. I showed them a video of presidential candidate to explain different economic systems. I found a graph that shows younger people tend to vote to Bernie whereas middle aged people tend to vote for Hillary and from this example and graph, I explained the notion of opportunity costs. I talked about Martin Shkreli case which increases the price of a drug used for curing AIDS by more than 700% overnight last September and then I ask a question why he can do it easily without being worry to loose money and from this approach I explained the notion of elasticity of demand. All in all, the feed back I gained was that they don’t get examples from real world and they don’t know how these theories can be applied into real world. I also get a feed back for instance that I read from slides while I never do that and I don’t remember I teach by reading slides. After the survey was closed, I think a lot how much these surveys and teaching evaluation questionnaire shows the reality? When I consider the part of the survey which was related to evaluation of students, almost all of students read the course carefully, do their assignments regularly and attend in class seriously, but when you consider the course and teacher evaluation, students tend to be pessimistic and think that all of their problems with this course comes from a fact that either teacher or books are not helpful and the teacher does not teach effectively. In this atmosphere, I look at teacher evaluation done with a students with lots of doubt. I don’t want to exculpate myself, however, after getting those feedback where part of that (and for sure not all of that) is far from the truth, I am thinking about this question that is teaching evaluation done by students can evaluate truly the teacher? My answer to this question is “No”. In my opinion, student based evaluation of teachers are really good tools for considering teaching effectiveness of a teacher from point of view of those who are going to learn the materials, but this evaluation is not enough. In fact, students are biased and if they think they are not good in a course, they give more negative weight to teacher and they don’t look at themselves that maybe they don’t study hard or take the course seriously. In my view, in addition to student based evaluation, teachers need to be evaluated by their colleagues. The feedback of other faculty members about teaching policy would be much helpful due to their experiences and the fact that their views are not biased. Evaluation of teachers both by students and faculty members can give a big and clear picture to a teacher to improve her positive skills and remove the negative issues from her teaching approach.


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Lessons from learner-center syllabus and thinking about critical pedagogy

Last session in GEDI class we talked about learner-centered syllabus. I have been teaching a large class this semester and from the beginning of semester I think about learning process and how I can stimulate learning environment in class.  The problem in a large and heavily lectured class is most of the evaluating process determines by tests. In a class such as principle of microeconomics  where more than 100 students sit in a class and there is no final project, assignments and exams are only the available tools for evaluation, learning will immolate and the mindset of students become all to get good score rather than learn stuff. It makes sense and it is a rational decision for student to get the good score which means to be good in tests in this situation. I think writing a syllabus using learner-centered is not enough in this situation. The problem is even you emphasize on learning and try to give some roles to students as the learner of the class, at the end of the day students will evaluate based on their scores on tests and everyone knows this game and as a result the rational decision asserts that students just focus on materials which tend to be part of the tests rather than learning in a general way. From the early of the semester I have this challenge and I could not solve this problem yet. For me, learning is more important than the grade. I think my responsibility is to teach in a way to construct knowledge of microeconomics theory and give a chance to my student to think critically about what I teach to them. As Freire said in critical pedagogy “To teach is not to transfer knowledge but to create the possibilities for the production or construction of knowledge.” however, in a large class, teaching in a way to construct knowledge rather than transferring that is always challenging.

However, even I emphasize on learning and not memorizing a lot, students know the rule of game and the rule of game pushes them to get the best point as much as they can. For some students the shortcut to getting good points come from memorizing the materials and this strategy unfortunately works partially. I try to solve this challenge both in class and mostly during my office hour to bring examples from every day life. I also refer students to their intuitions as they ask me questions. Although these strategies  work, the challenge  still remains and in a heavy lecture based large class with having tests and assignment as only tools for evaluation, preparing learning community environment in class becomes a great deal.



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Iran Education system needs a huge reform-2

In my last blog post, I talked about several problems in Iranian educational system. In this post, I want to clarify some of my points.

The first problem regarding to admission process for college studies in Iran is high inequality of opportunity in the system. As the country becomes richer and developed after the end of Iran-Iraq war, inequality increases in the country. One of the aspect of inequality which is harmful for economic growth and development of a country is inequality of opportunity. Inequality of opportunity means inequality in outcome due to circumstances beyond individuals’ control. For instance, inequality in outcome due to gender of individuals is unjust.

The university entrance exam (Concur) is one of the institutions in Iran education system which causes improvement in inequality of opportunity. Based on “Trends in Mathematics and Science Studies (TIMSS) test (which is again a standard test but at least it gives us a measure to compare students worldwide!) Iran has great index of inequality of opportunity (IOP) in education outcome in the Middle East. This exam is held for students in eighth grade both in mathematics and science and Iran’s score in IOP is one of the largest one in the region. Although we don’t have access to data of Concur, the education system mechanism stimulate IOP in education outcome as students move forward in education system from one grade to upper grade. I try to explain the intuition behind that mechanism here.

All families and students know that if they want to be successful, they should be good in multiple choice exam and they should understand all high school materials in a way to answer entrance exam questions in the shortest time. So having a good skill in taking an exam with lots of multiple choice questions is vital. In addition, if a student gets admission from top ten university, she/he can be hopeful to get good job after graduation or have a chance to continue her/his education abroad. So those students who have educated parents or their parents can support them financially to go to good private high schools have more chance to be successful in Concur. While we know parental income or parental education is beyond an individual’s control and as a result it causes IOP.

The second problem related to Concur system is killing innovation and creativity among high school students. Those talented and diligent high school students prefer to study as much as they can during high school to get good points in Concur. At the end of the day, they will rank based on their scores in Concur, so there is no incentive among high school students to be creative, do innovative research, or be active in sport, art, and other extracurricular activities. I don’t want to say that high school students do not do these activities at all, my point is, ranking students just because of one score, give them a signal to be prepared for that exam only rather than doing other activities where they don’t have any point in their college admission.

The third problem is due to inefficient resource allocation due to this system. Part of this problem as I described in previous post is due to cultural problem but the other part is because of education system. When the system gives a signal to high school students that engineering and medical science is good, and then most of good students prefer to go to engineering school or medical school. Since each student can register and take Concur in only one field (Math, biology, Humanities, Art) even if the student finds engineering or medical studies boring and beyond his/her interest, he/she has long and hard time to change his/her major. If the student wants to quit the engineering college for instance and studies in sociology in the middle of his undergraduate studies, he should take Concur again in humanities field which is very risky and stressful. So if a person becomes disappointed by his undergraduate studies, most of people will decide to finish their undergraduate studies and earn a bachelor degree and continue in a field he really likes in graduate school (in Master’s level) which means that person loses at least 2 or three years of his life and his precious youth time. In addition, some of excellent universities in Iran do not offer courses in all fields. For instance Sharif University which is one the most prestigious and well known universities in Iran, is a polytechnic university and courses are offered only in Math, Physics, Chemistry and engineering fields, so if a student is in Sharif University, which means that student is really talented and diligent, s/he does not have any chance to be familiar with sociology, law, political science or even biology and business majors. As a result, that student might be very successful if s/he had a chance to study in business majors, but due to education system, s/he ends up with mediocre outcome!


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Iran Education system needs a huge reform-1

As an Iranian who was born during a huge baby boom after the revolution, I have experienced how wasteful and useless is the standardized test.  The university entrance exam in Iran was held since 1969 and it continues till today. Iran education system suffers from lots of deficiencies. The education system in Iran mostly copied from France and it faces few reforms since early of twentieth century. In my opinion, Iran education system needs a revolutionary change. It wastes time and energy of students in a most ineffective way!  Here in this post I try to describe some of the problems of this system and how the university entrance exam kills creativity and innovation in my country.

The first problem in this system came back to tracking. As of lots of other countries such as Germany, France, China, Hong Kong and so on, Iranian students also tracked in different branches when they finish 9th grade. Students should choose between academic track and vocational track. In academic track there are four theoretical branches: Mathematics and physics, Biology, Humanities, and Art. In vocational track there are lots of applied branches which have a goal to provide technicians for country. The government tried to encourage more students to choose vocational track back to early 90s but the reform program in high school at that time was totally failed. Students who choose to go to vocational track could get vocational diploma and they only can take associate exam and earn associate degree. Although after they earn associate degree, they can attend in another exam and if they earn good points at that exam they can enter to college to earn bachelor degree, the total process is both time consuming and risky. In addition, traditionally, more talented students choose the academic track since they will have chance to go to the best colleges of the country. Families don’t like their children choose vocational track because they think it is risky, time consuming, with less social prestigious as well as lower peer effect during high school. As a result all reforms have been made to improve the situation of vocational track has been failed.


At the beginning of grade 10, student should have chosen their field. Again, another sorting happened among students and it causes lots of troubles for them in future. Most families in Iran have a desire for kids to be either engineer or medical doctors. The situation is much better now due to high unemployment rate among engineers and doctors in Iran but in my time, lots of families forced their kids to choose either mathematics or biology branch in high school to have a chance to be either engineer or medical doctor. I have seen this phenomenon among lots of my friends and later on in university they faced with depression, having a reluctant feeling to continue their education, wasting their times and energy and so on. Other than families’ forces, there is not enough clear information regarding to different path of that important decisions. Teachers in high schools encourage talented students, especially those with higher grades in mathematics, to choose mathematics and physics branch. Those who are good in math and biology encourage choosing biology, the rest of students choose either humanities or Art. Because of this sorting, the resources (students) may allocate inefficiently during high school. Even if a student is free to choose the branch based on his/her own interests, since s/he faces with weaker peer groups in humanities or Art, s/he may prefer to choose mathematics in high school and then take art or humanities entrance exam for college. These cultures along with the system itself cause wasting time, energy, incentives, and resources.

The second problem of the system came back to national university entrance exam. Best universities in Iran are public universities and the private universities (where Azad University is the largest of them) are not as good as public universities. The problem I try to explain here is not as severe as my time because the student population declines drastically due to family planning run since end of 1980s. In my time, more than 500,000 students participated in mathematics exam and less than 50% of them would be eligible to choose major/college and among those 50% qualified students, less than 50% of them went to college. For instance in 2003, the year I took that exam, about 1,400,000 students participate in entrance exam in all branches and less than 250,000 were admitted for college (about 17% of them). As a result, lots of students would take the entrance exam again or go to job market. Those who went behind the exam would not have good situation. For boys it is not good because they should go to military service and put two years of their lives for that task. For girls, it is not good because few job opportunities are available for them as high school diploma. It is essential to note that in general women face with lower job opportunities in Iran than men and in addition, whiles lots of unemployed women with bachelor degree are in job market, the situation for those with high school diploma is even worse. High competition in this exam causes lots of social problem. One problem came back to rising inequality of opportunity. The second problem is related to killing of creativity and innovation among high school graduates and high school students. The third problem is students again sorted based on one number and if you were a good test taker specially performed well in multiple choice exams, you would be the winner: you can choose the best university and the best majors. If not, you will end up with the worst results. Since this post is already too long, I would like to explain in details in next post.


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Learning Process through blogging

This week we are supposed to write a blog post related to connected learning procedure for our GEDI (Graduate Education Development Institute) class. I think about blogging as a learning tool and I’d like to share my idea that how the new social media such as Facebook and Instagram cause a deterioration of knowledge and learning on web. I want to write about my own experience when I was in college in Iran. Back to early of 2000, people started using the internet in Iran gradually and when I entered to college in 2003 young people are the main users of the internet in Iran. At that time writing a blog was very popular among youth and Persian was one of the active languages in blogging space. There was not any other social network and media platform at that time in Iran and people try to connect with each other through blogging. This is a very amazing phenomenon in a society like Iran. Bloggers learned from each other, they became friends virtually and then went out to a coffee shop or park to be familiar better in real world. This phenomenon had a great effect on Iran among youth. Writing a blog helped people to learn more: people had to read more to write better and have more audiences. Even those people who wrote some emotional stuff also need to be up-to-date. In contrast to other media such as Facebook, blogging needs deep thinking, writing effectively and properly with correct dictation and grammar. However, Facebook has much more informal platform: people are connected to each other informally and in a shallow way. On Facebook, you share your feeling or photos and sometimes your idea but the platform is not suited for dialogue. However, on a blog, a blogger thinks about an idea and shares it with his/her audiences and the audiences share their ideas and opinions through comments. This platform is much more suited for dialogue and learning. When I compare the atmosphere of Farsi blogs and Farsi Facebook, it is completely obvious for me how shallow is Facebook and how deeply learning happens in blogs. I think we need to come back to a social network such as blogs as a useful tool for connected learning: It gives us a structure to think deeply, write correctly and reply to our friend in a mutual respectful situation and thus we will have a society which individuals are connected to each other through a learning platform.


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Inequality and racism: How economic improvement can be helpful?

Today I have watched this video where Professor Chetty, Professor of Economics at Harvard explains how disadvantaged neighborhood amplify racial inequality. In my microaggression post, I asked the following question: why ethnic minority group or other groups who faced discrimination and microaggression do the same acts although they understand the bitterness of discrimination?

After watching that interview, I think maybe inequality and economic situation can explain part of the answer of the above question. Professor Chetty said in his interview, which is based on his recent paper, that kids who grow up in less advantaged neighborhood are less likely to go to college, find a decent job, and live in a better situation compare to their parents. His research is based on the “moving opportunity experiment” where several randomly selected households in less advantaged and poor neighborhood got “housing voucher” to move to better neighborhoods. The outcome of kids who move with their counterparts who do not have such opportunities reveals some shocking facts in about US society: the place you grew up is matter a lot. In economic literature, this fact is called as “inequality of opportunity (IOP).” Professor Chetty continued that this fact exacerbates situation of the African-american kids much than whites since there is a gap between black and white and as a result growing up in bad neighborhood makes this gap even worse. This fact, according to him, will be translated as racial inequality. As we all know, racial inequality can explain part of racism in society.

We all here some comments from even ordinary people, who think that they are not racist, that look, black people are troublesome, the crime rate is higher among black, or there are relatively more black people in jail compared with whites. These comments are all racist even though the teller of them don’t mind. Racial inequality and higher IOP among black is the main cause of those facts and if we want to solve the problem, we have to know and understand the cause of an issue rather than its consequences.

In my view, based on professor Chetty’s research, disadvantaged neighborhood amplifies racial inequality. Those african-american kids grow up in less advantaged and poor neighborhood don’t have any opportunity to learn about discrimination. They don’t have any good role model. They could not imagine to have a good career in future and they never learn about microaggression and this kind of stuff even thought they are the victims of racial inequality and discriminatory behaviors. So although, they are victims of microaggression behaviors, they may reproduce discriminatory behaviors facing with other minority groups and this cycle continues!

In conclusion, I think other than spreading knowledge about these issues (discrimination, racism, microaggression, ….) , we need think deeply about the main problem of the US society: Inequality of Opportunity. I think reduction of racial gap, income inequality, and gender gap can also be even more helpful to alleviate the microaggression problem.

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Iran Nuclear Deal: Physics, Politics and Diplomacy

The Middle East Working Group at Virginia Tech organized a panel discussion on the Iran Nuclear Deal on September 15. Along with Professor Djavad Salehi-Isfahani of the Economics department, Professor Paul Avey of the Political Science Department, Professor Patrick Huber of the Physics Department spoke to an audience of over hundred students and the general public about different aspects of the Iran Nuclear Deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between the Western powers and Iran. Dr Bettina Koch of the Political Science Department was the moderator of the panel.

Dr. Avey kicked off the panel by explaining why countries may seek nuclear weapons – to increase their national power and to secure themselves from invasion by other countries.
He pointed out that with Pakistan and Israel in possession of nuclear weapons Iran has strong incentives to acquire nuclear weapons. In addition, since the 1979 revolution US has threatened Iran with regime change. After 9/11, President Bush put Iran on his axis of evil list, along with Iraq and North Korea. North Korea, which developed nuclear weapons has not been overthrown while, Iraq which did not, have been overthrown. Given these outcomes, developing nuclear weapons seems like an obvious choice to any rational actor.

The next speaker, Dr. Huber first explained the science of nuclear energy, noting that the knowledge required for producing electricity from nuclear energy is the same as that required to build weapons. In fact, the physics of nuclear energy for civilian use is the same as for non-civilian use! He primarily pointed out that the Iran nuclear deal severely reduces the ability of Iran to make a bomb since uranium enrichment is restricted to below 5%.

The last speaker, Dr. Salehi-Isfahani, explained how much of the controversy surrounding the deal is about the nature of Iran’s society and its politics. He argued that Iranians are divided over the economic benefits of the nuclear industry as well as over the value of projecting national power in the region or beyond. He said that the election of the moderate president Rouhani signified the preference of the average Iranian to win in what he called the “Quiet Game” rather than victory in some “Great Game.” [He borrowed this term from the wonderful book written by Peter Hopkirk on the geopolitics of Central Asia).
He said that nearly half of Iranians are now middle class; they want good schools, good health care, economic prosperity, and jobs. Dr. Salehi-Isfahani asserted that most Iranians would prefer to live in a country like Turkey that has a healthy economy but no nuclear weapons, than a country like Pakistan that has nuclear weapons but an ailing economy. Dr. Salehi said also that Rouhani administration needs to do lots of economic reforms to improve economy which is stagnant since 2011. For doing that, he needs money to inject to economy to bring back hope and economic prosperity to voters who will vote next February in Parliament election. This deal is a starting point for Rouhani to bring back economy to growth and prosperity path.

After Dr. Salehi’s talk, the audience asked their questions from the panelists. Audience questions ranged from the politics of the region, to what happened if Iran cheats? Also, Students are very curious about physics of nuclear energy that Dr. Huber addressed them. Another question is about difference of Europe vs. US in relation to the Iran nuclear deal. Dr Salehi pointed out that since Europe bares all the costs of the chaos in the Middle East, such as refugee crisis, its condition is different with US and Europe welcomes to the Iran nuclear deal very quickly.

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According to Wikipedia, Microaggression is a neologism to refer to “unintended discrimination.” I don’t hear about this term before that but I have taught a lot about this kind of discrimination: As a woman, as a Muslim, and as an international student. I have faced to Microaggression both in my own country, Iran, and here in the US. Here I try to write two examples I have experienced:

1) In Iran, Microaggression towards women are happened mostly in forms of sexism. I have studied my undergraduate at Sharif University of Technology. It is one of the most prestigious university in Iran in the field of engineering and mathematics. Since 1995, more and more girls are admitted to Sharif University, but still there is a stigma in the common culture that boys are much better than girls in mathematics and physics. This culture can be heard and seen in the University atmosphere as well. Although there is no “affirmative action” towards women and males and females are considered equally, those boys who are behind their girls counterparts try to demolish women’s success in different statements.

For instance some boys said, that girl is successful in math because she was beautiful and the professor likes her! some other people said, that female student is successful in that exam because she is bookworm! She is not genius at all, she just has a good memory and memorizes all problems and formulas! These kind of opinions are common during the time I was at Sharif and all the time those statements hurt me a lot. All of them are sexist one and I think they can be categorized as Microaggression. I am wondering after I move to the US that this kind of opinion can be seen here as well. It may not be as harsh as Iran but I feel that there is a tendency to describe as “males are better in Math, females are better in Art”. It is hurtful both for males and females. If a man loved cooking, he would be faced with sarcasm.

2) Last year, I lived at Cambridge MA. One day I was at Watertown, a small town close to Cambridge. I want to pass from the street from crosswalk. In front of me a white lady passes from that street too. A car passed by and the driver stopped for her. Since the car is stopped, I followed right behind the lady to pass the street. Once she passed, the driver pushed his foot on gas pedal and moved. I felt he would hit me and I went some steps back to avoid having an accident with the car while I was in the middle of street on crosswalk. The driver brought his head out of the car’s window and said to me: “This was for her, not you!” and he went on his way so fast. I was shocked about that behavior! I don’t know why he did that: Maybe because I wore headscarf and he hates Muslims, maybe because I am international and not the US citizen, or other reasons! I felt hurtful about that behavior but tried to be calm.

It is interesting to think that Microaggression sometimes happen from those people who face with those discrimination too! For instance some women express “sexist statement” while we know women are the main victim of gender discrimination. In my example, that guy, was an African-American and he has been discriminatory experiences due to the fact that he belongs to minority group in the US, but at the same time, he behaved badly with another person who has a common with him: belonging to minority group. This fact is much hurtful for me other than his behavior! This is a question that should be investigated by social scientists that why ethnic minority group or other groups who faced a lot with discrimination and microaggression do the same acts although they understand the bitterness of discrimination.

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