Blog Post #5: Flipped Classrooms

Attending a classroom today is very different from attending a classroom ten years ago. As technology has increasingly grown and infiltrated our classrooms, new teaching methods have emerged that moves away from a teacher-centered approach onto student-centered approach.

To meet such demand, a flipped classroom method has elicited as a viable alternative to the traditional, lecture-style teaching and learning. Flipped classrooms have been used in various disciplines, especially in the humanities. Consequently, many educators, in both higher education and K-12 sittings, have had experiences with a new way of teaching with the flipped classrooms approach. In flipped classroom, typical lectures and homework of a course are reversed. Short video lectures are viewed by students at home before class session, while in the class time is devoted to exercises, projects, or discussions.

Furthermore, as more students gain access to technology tools and the Internet inside and outside the classrooms, flipped classrooms are becoming more prevalent. To increase the student/ teacher interaction, flipped classrooms are linked to improve the students’ grade, test score, engagement in learning and overall students’ satisfaction. The application of this instruction approach can result positively in educational outcomes such as improving students’ communication skills, promoting more independent learners, and changing in learning habits e.g., revisit the online learning material before exam (Lo & Hew, 2017).

The theoretical framework for flipped classrooms is derived from the nature of interaction between learners and their instructors. First, flipped classroom is a form of blended learning in the way that it mixes face to face interaction with online learning. However, flipped learning differs since outside activities used in it should not be necessary online, they may involve paper and hard copies materials. The second foundation is active learning which is any instructional method that engage students in the learning process. In fact, flipped classroom is considered as an effective mode for engaging students in active learning as well as in meaningful peer to peer and peer to teacher interaction during the in-class learning process (Lai & Hwang, 2016). Next, student-centered approach which moves students away from teacher-centered approach environment where teachers become real organizers, mentors, and facilitators. The purpose of flipped classroom is to make students more active in their own learning process, versus serving as receptacles of knowledge who receive direct instruction from a teacher (Martinez & Torregrosa, 2015). Finally, personalized learning approach which has great potential with flipped classroom. Personalized learning instruction that is paced to learning needs, tailored to learning preferences and the specific interest of different learners (Keller, 1968).

As technology is becoming incredibly important in the classroom and to students learning in general, implementing the model of flipped classrooms has been much easier due to the increased use of this technology. The nature of the flipped classroom, most teachers will assign students to watch a certain video on a subject they will be covering in class next day. So, they need a way to create videos and a way for students to access these videos. For this purpose, teachers might use their smart phone or a dedicated video camera. The other video creation category is screencasting programs where videos are made of teachers’ computer or iPad screen and at the same time recording the voice (Bergamnn, 2013). This video can then be shared with students, so they can watch it many times as necessary to comprehend the materials. However, dependence on technology is one of weakness of this model. Students need access to computers and Internet to work through materials. If the students lack reliable access to a computer or the Internet for geographical or socioeconomic reasons, it can be extremely challenging to make a flipped classroom work effectively (Sota, 2016).

In conclusion, the concept of the flipped classroom removes passive learning by creating a student-centered environment. Student are able to learn the key concepts on their own time and pace and then actively apply them, creating a deeper learning. Further, creating this environment is not complex, but often requires a great deal of thought and planning on the front-end to make it work. Despite the flipped classroom strategy needs a lot of work at first, once it is set up it can lead to excellent results.

References:

Bergman, J. (2013). Flipped learning misconception: The second hurdle to flipping your class.  Retrieved from http://www.jonbergmann.com/category/flipped-learning-misconceptions/

Keller, F. (1968). Good-bye teacher. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1, 79-89.

Lo, C. & Hew, K. (2017). A critical review of flipped classroom challenges in k-12 education:  Possible solution and recommendation for future research. Research and practice in technology enhanced learning, 12(4).

Martinez, J. & Torregrosa, E. (2015). Chemistry Education: Best practices, opportunities and trends.

Sota, M. (2016). Flipped learning as a path to personalization. Handbook on personalized learning for states, districts, and schools, 73-87.

Blog Post #5: What does Critical Pedagogy Mean?

After reading Freire’s article, I realize different aspects of Critical Pedagogy that I have never thought about. Paulo Freire was a Brazilian educator, and he was seen as one of the founders of critical pedagogy. I just reflect from the readings some points could be helpful to understand the critical pedagogy.

Changes the relationship between a teacher and a student.

A teacher must know their students in order to be able to teach them effectively. Creating a positive relationship between the two helps a student feel more comfortable and safer in their classroom environments. Positive teacher-student relationships draw the student into the process of learning, promote their desire to learn, and help them to attain higher levels of achievement.

Requires dialogue between a teacher and a student.

Dialogue as a human phenomenon is important in critical pedagogy. The dialogue between teachers and students can enlighten open-mindedness, mutual respect, freedom from censure, reduced role division, and space to explore. Freire emphasized on the importance of educational means that freeing people from the bondage of the culture of silence and promoting teachers and students’ critical consciousness.

Changes the baking concept of education.

Critical pedagogy can be thought of as focusing on the student. This is in line with what Freire talked about when he wished for us to consider students as subjects and owners of their own learning experiences. because people as conscious human beings, they are in the process of becoming liberated through cognitive acts, not the transformation of information. Also, this style of education limits creativeness and liberation, which is the student’s ability to form their own thoughts.

Facilitate trust and commitment.

Critical pedagogy seeks to establish a mutual relationship between teacher and students that educates both parties, creates an atmosphere of trust and commitment that should be present when authentic learning happens (Teaching Critical Thinking. Practical Wisdom, p. 22). According to Freire, “we must understand the meaning of a moment of silence, of a smile, or even of an instance in which someone needs to leave the room. Or the fact that a question was asked perhaps a little discourteously. After all, our teaching space is a text that has to be constantly read, interpreted, written, and rewritten”.

Supports students’ empowerment.

Empowerment is essential to critical pedagogy, given that the students are meant to play an engaged role in the learning process. students should feel empowered and valued in the classroom rather than discouraged. A few of the articles mentioned the limits in top-down teaching, but the goal should be to facilitate student learning rather than merely teaching content. This breaks down the boundaries between inside and outside of a classroom and not only fosters student agency in the learning process but also will best prepare students for higher-level coursework and empowers them as citizens outside the school.

Encourages the engagement.

The classroom cannot be a one-way transfer of knowledge. The transmission model dehumanizes the students, limits creativity, and destroys their self-worth. Instead, we must engage with them as peers, fully capable of contributing to the classroom, and worthy of respect and empowerment. So, the goal is to engage students in a learning environment that questions their own thoughts and ideas, beliefs, and practices, to think critically and gain a deeper understanding.

Attends to equity rather than equality.

Acknowledging that students have individual needs and that “one size fits all” is not always effective. Students may have different ways of learning preferences, backgrounds, previous schooling/experiences, etc. In fact, there is no one best way to educate all learners, but there are appropriate strategies that are effective to reach different types of students and assess their understanding through multiple means.

Encourages humanizing.

Humanization is the core perspective of Freire’s educational thought. Recognizing that the students are more than just receptacles and can’t be treated as such, teachers must recognize their agency, their need for creativity, their strengths and capacity for problem-solving, and their worth. Also, they must embrace pedagogy that values students’ existing knowledge, culture, and life experiences.

 Open to various ideas and perspectives.  

Multiple perspectives are essential in order to reach various students and promote their ability to adopt various perspectives. The classroom should be not a place where information is dispensed by teachers and consumed by students, but rather as a site for the production of new ideas grounded in student’s perspectives.

In conclusion, I realize that it takes courage to practice pedagogy that includes critical consciousness instead of going with the flow all the time, but what a fantastic challenge for teachers!!

 

Rania

Blog Post #4: Kozma and Clark’s Debate before Three Decades is still Relevant

Kozma and Clark’s debate was about whether media affects the learning process or media is just a vehicle for instructions. Since I’m an instructional designer I know well about the debate between Kozma and Clark about the media and if its ability to help students learn better or not. The basic idea of Clark’s argument is that teaching methods have the most effective influence on learning, and media is merely a delivery device for instruction, and media has no significant difference on learning outcomes.

In fact, Clark based his theory on research and data collected throughout many different search projects. He mentioned that authentic problems or tasks seem to be a more effective influence on learning. On the other hand, the key difference between what Kozma’s believes and what Clark’s believes is that media could and should be used more than a vehicle for delivery. Kozma’s article showed how correct media could have an impact on the students’ cognitive skills. He mentioned both methods and medium have the crucial role in the design of instruction. According to Kozma, “media can be defined by its technologies, symbolic system, and processing capabilities”. Throughout his article, he discusses how books, television, and computers influence the learning processes, connect students to prior knowledge, and help students to understand the complex concepts. Moreover, he estimated about how multimedia environments can bring all these processed together (Clark, 1983).

Actually, there is a big difference between media attributes and teaching strategies and their influence on students’ learning. I believe methods before media because it is not about the use of media that enhance learning, but the way the media is used. Media are only effective if teaching methods guide them. I think media should be a good fit for a certain learning task since these media may work for some students may not with some topics and under some conditions. However, this true is for any pedagogy there is nothing works for every purpose, for every student, in all time.

I believe students today including me quickly use the Internet to search for answers even before asking peers or teachers. This is today’s media, and this has a massive influence on how students receive and share information. However, this means not providing a student with an online module and letting them be in front of the computer and saying go and learn and then expect them to reach a high level of learning. Media must be used for a specific purpose not because we live in a digital world.

I agree with Morris (2013), when he mentioned that for the digital pedagogue, teaching should begin with inquiry such as availability of tools, type of disciplines, role of teacher, type of teaching methods, way of interaction among students, content, and teachers, etc. nothing replace the role of teacher who has to craft authentic learning experiences for their students so they can gain the most of their learning experience.

Thank you!!

Rania

References

Clark, R. E. (1983). Reconsidering research on learning from media. Review of Educational Research, 53(4), 445-459.

Blog Post #3: Problem-Based Learning with Teaching Mathematics

Since I was a former math teacher, I was interested on employing different instructional methods that engage my students in learning process. The methods helped me to convey concepts and mathematical theories to them. I have learned more about different instructional methods, delivery mods, media attributes, etc. during my studies as a graduate student in instructional design and technology field. My major has been assisting me acquire valuable experience and applicable knowledge and skills essential for being a good teacher.

Thus, from learning and applying different instructional methods, I realize how problem-based learning (PBL) strategy is powerful strategy. PBL is derivative from Constructivism Theory that supports the idea of constructing knowledge by students through their experiences and interactions with the world, not through hearing someone gives a lecture. PBL based on this theory relies on students to think deeply and be cooperative students.  It requires students to work together to solve problems through real-world experiences. It is designed to engage all students, even those who typically struggle.

PBL usually involves four steps:

  1. Presentation of problem
  2. Group development of theories
  3. Individual development of solutions
  4. Group comparison and evaluation of solutions

I find this approach fits well with teaching math especially because students usually complain about learning math and find it boring. That because they often cannot see a connection between what they’re learning and anything that matters to them in real world. For example, some students don’t really understand math word problem when a teacher tries to explain it. However, if they were faced with a math problem in their everyday life (say, trying to figure out the solutions, asking each other questions), they might understand it better. So, a teacher can give the students math problems and have them work together to figure it out. The teacher responsibility in this scenario is to support, guide, scaffold and assist students with supplies, materials, and resources.

As a student in IDT in one of my classes, I have developed a project based on Constructivism Theory. I was thinking about a problem that can be solved by using PBL strategy. So, from my experience as a former middle math teacher I found that solving mathematical word problem was a challenge for most of my students. Sometimes students read a problem and use the operation that the class has just been practicing, or they simply guess which operation to use. So, I have designed a lesson about solving mathematical word problems. The lesson was E-learning module based on PBL. The target audience was all 6th grade students especially who are struggling with grasping the concept of mathematical word problem. In fact, the beauty of applying problem-based learning strategy in solving mathematical word problems is to connect mathematical concepts with real challenges and issues that students may face in their lives. The lesson was a good experience to me, and I have received valuable feedback form my professor.

Finally, beside the main benefit of using PBL is engaging students in the real-world experience, the students use different skills to solve the problem that are necessary for life-long success.

Thank you!!

Blog Post #2: Inclusive Pedagogy

Image source: https://www.thecloroxcompany.com

Since, I have come to United States and started my program, I’ve been interacting with diverse classmates who are different than me in culture, gender, color, religion, language, ability, life experience, education skills, etc. This is a completely new experience for me! I realize how America is a diverse place that is different than where I come from. Which make me understand what diversity means and how important to be cautious about communicating with different people.

From my experience, I find diversity makes us smarter since being in a group of diverse students allows us to produce better work, exchange different ideas, opinions, thoughts, even learn new languages. On the other hand, inclusion is active, intentional and ongoing engagement with these diversity in the curriculum and community. Diversity and inclusion are hot topics especially in an education setting. I understand how enhancing diversity and making the classroom inclusive is difficult.

I’ve read an article written by Florian and Black-Hawkins, its title is “Exploring Inclusive Pedagogy”, the authors examining teachers’ knowledge of their practice of “inclusion” in terms of what they do, why and how. According to Florian and Black-Hawkins (2011), there are three distinguishing terms that used under the umbrella of inclusive which are: inclusive pedagogy, inclusive education and inclusive practice. Inclusive pedagogy is a focus on “the act of teaching and its attendant discourse”. Inclusive Education is “a process of increasing participation and decreasing exclusion from the culture, community and curricula of mainstream schools”. Inclusive Practice is the thing that people do to give meaning to the concept of inclusion. Let’s concentrate on inclusive pedagogy that requires teachers to shift in teaching and learning from an approach that works for most students to one that provides rich learning opportunities that are made for everyone, so every student who is eager to learn is able to participate in classroom life (Florian & Black-Hawkins, 2011).

There are many good techniques that teachers can follow to make a classroom more inclusive. I remember one strategy that may consider as an example of classroom inclusion. Our professor in Design for learning class, asked us to fill out an online survey in the beginning of the semester focusing on our educational background, experience with instructional design, next career goals, our reasons to take this course, what would we like to have achieved in this course, who are we as learners, what are our strengths and challenges, how we do like to learn, how we do NOT like to learn, and other questions. I think this a good strategy to find out students’ competence beforehand to plan carefully for the class.

Thank you!

Reference

Florian, L., & Black‐Hawkins, K. (2011). Exploring inclusive pedagogy. British Educational Research Journal, 37(5), 813–828.

Blog Post #1 The Psychology of How People Learn

As we discussed during the class learning is a process of connecting between what is already known or understood and new information. Merriam Webster defines learning as “gaining knowledge or understanding of or skill in by study, instruction, or experience”. So, learning happens when people use their experience to deal with new situation, develop their knowledge.

In other words, we can say people construct information from experience, build on prior knowledge, and organize their own learning. As an instructional designer, I have been taught to concentrate on developing quality classes, to achieve this goal, we strive to develop classes based on sound of instructional design and planning using systematic models and learning theories.

These learning theories provide a basis to understand how people learn and a way to explain, describe, analyze and predict learning. Thus, first let’s start talking about how learning occurs based on learning theories.

According to Behaviorist Theory: learning occurs when proper response is demonstrated following the presentation of a specific stimulus. The focus is to maintain and strengthen the relationship between the stimulus and response. Learning occurs when there is reactive with the environment (Ertmer & Newby, 1993). Also, when there is promotion of desirable behavior and discourages of undesirable behaviors. So, external stimulus and response are important to learn.

According to Cognitive Theory: Learning is an active process where meaning and understanding built from experience (Wildman & Burton, 1981). Learning occurs when the learner is very active in the learning process (Ertmer & Newby, 1993). Moreover, learning takes place when information is absorbed through sensory memory, sent to working memory, processed, and encoded into long term memory for storage.

According to Constructivist Theory: learning happens by creating a meaning from experience. What the learner knows is based on his/her own experiences. Knowledge is constructed by the learners. Learners strive to know, so the experience should be examined as it is in constant change (Ertmer & Newby, 1993).

According to Social Learning Theory: learning is a social process. Learning occurs when each learner is engaged in social activities. Knowledge is culturally and socially constructed (Kim, 2001).

Second, which factors influence learning? According to psychology, there are many factors that influence learning, some of them associated with learner and other connected with learning process. First, psychological factors: readiness, intelligence, motivation, mental health, nature ability to learn, and individual differences, fear to failure, etc. Then, biological factors: physical health, self-concept, maturity, needs, proper sleep, proper nutrition, etc. Next, environment factors: learner beliefs, culture demands, family background, physical conditions, achievement, social expectation etc. Finally, instructional factors: teacher’s personality, learning strategy, curriculum, teaching aids, etc.

According to Behaviorist Theory:  Strength of stimulus. Chaining and shaping. Environment of the learner. Reinforcement (positive and negative) increase the behavior and punishment to decrease the chances of the behavior happening again. All these can influence learning.

According to Cognitive Theory: Extrinsic and intrinsic components.  Rehearsal, encoding, chunking, selective attention, pattern recognition, interference, failure to encode or retrieve.

According to Constructivist Theory: Both the learners and the environments influence learning. The content must be embedded in the situation. Real setting and tasks are relevant to the learner’s experience (Ertmer & Newby, 1993).

According to Social Learning Theory: Learning influences through social interactions with more knowledgeable learners. Collaborating with other learners through community of practice is important (Kim, 2001).

Finally, what is the role of both learners and teacher in learning process based on learning theories?  In general, learners have responsibility for their learning. They should engage activity, shape and review own learning throughout self-assessment, and develop skills for further learning. On other hand, teacher primary goal is to inform a learner through explicit instruction, supplemented by textbook and other materials. Teacher can also facilitate learning, provide learners with the information and tools they need to master a subject, and involve interaction with students.

The role of teachers according to Behaviorist Theory:  Providing students with instructional cues, practicing, and reinforcement. Helping in determining goals and outcomes. Using activities that offer rewards, quizzes that offer feedback or online activities that again offer feedback and allow the students to go back over the material.

The role of teachers according to Cognitive Theory: Teaching the learners how to learn. Discussion group/questions. Demonstration of working knowledge through projects or models. Presentations in front of the class. Brainstorming in class about a topic in order to allow students to link new ideas to anchoring one schema.

The role of teachers according to Constructivist Theory: Providing opportunities to learners who can deal with unstructured and complex problems (Ertmer & Newby, 1993).

The role of teachers according to Social Learning Theory: Providing learners with problem-based learning, shared teaching, peer collaboration and learning with others.

In conclusion, although these theories differ in some ways such as general assumptions and guiding principles, there is no one best learning theory. They have a common foundation which explains how learning and teaching processes should be or should take place.

Thank you!!

References

Ertmer, P.A. & Newby, T. J. (1993). Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism: Comparing Critical Features from an Instructional Design Perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6(4).

Kim, B. (2001). Social constructivism. Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology, 1(1), 16.

Wildman, T. M., & Burton, J. K. (1989). Integrating learning theory with instructional design. Journal of Instructional Development, 4(3), 5–14.

 

Blog Post #5, School Bullying

Bullying in schools has become a complicated international phenomenon. Whether schools are elementary or secondary, small or large, same-sex or mixed-sex, bullying behavior has spread and presents a threat to the well-being of students and the health of schools in countries around the world (Kennedy et al., 2012).

What is bullying?

Researchers of student bullying have recognized this behavior as a violation of other students’ rights (Olweus, 2011). Bullying is defined as the “tendency for some children to frequently oppress, harass or intimidate other children, verbally, physically or both in and out of school” (Alika, 2012, p. 523). Bullying is also described as the repeated exposure of one student to negative actions on the part of one or more other students (Olweus, 2003). These negative actions are intentionally inflicted and can consist of physical abuse that causes physical discomfort or injury and/or verbal abuse that causes feelings of inferiority or mental anguish. One student or group of students can initiate the bullying of another student or group of students, either physically or verbally or both, in order to cause unwarranted distress (Olweus, 2003). According to Olweus (2003), boys tend to use direct bullying more than girls while girls tend to practice indirect bullying more than boys. In general, bullying has been increasingly considered to be a subset of direct or indirect violence (Strohmeier & Noam, 2012).

Consequence of bullying:

Bullying has negative impact on the bullied or victimized. Studies show that bullied students have low academic achievement, self-esteem, self-confidence, numerous health problems, and high anxiety. Unfortunately, bullying also has led to a rise in suicides among elementary and secondary school students and some students more likely to drop out of school than their peers who are not subjected to any form of bullying (Alika, 2012). When a student is persistently exposed to bullying, he or she was more likely to suffer from a severe and long-term impact that sometimes lasted for years after school (Olweus, 2003). In fact, bullying has been used as predictor of later criminality (Olweus, 2011).

Reasons behind bullying:

To understand the bullying behavior, we have to understand why the students do bully others? Prejudice is one of the top reasons behind the bullying. Students bully other students for being different in some way for their color, race, religion, culture, abilities and disabilities, height, weight, or sexual orientation. This type of bullying is reflected to prejudices that students learn from their family and social community about the value of diversity in the community especially because these students (kids or young people) find it hard to understand the diversity of others and can only see it as a difference which can lead to prejudice bullying.

According to National Center for Educational Statistics (2016), more than one out of every five (20.8%) students report being bullied. The following table shows the number and percentage distribution of students ages 12 through 18 who reported being bullied at school: school year 2024-2015.

33% of students who reported being bullied at school indicated that they were bullied at least once or twice a month during the school year (NCES, 2016). The following figure shows the percentage reporting various frequency of bullying among students ages 12-18 during the school year 2015.

The role of educators for preventing bullying:

So, how educators interact with this major concern and what their roles in protecting students from bullying in schools!! There are lots of people can help stop bullying such as teachers, school counselor, school principal, school superintendent and state department of education. https://www.stopbullying.gov/resources/get-help-now. I agree all these people can make efforts to combat and prevent bullying in schools I think more emphasis should be put on the role of teachers because they are in the frontline of observing student behavior. It seems reasonable to assume that when teachers notice bullying, they are more likely to intervene and stop this behavior. Teachers daily contact with students and are at the forefront of ensuring a safe learning environment, including protecting students from bullying and reporting bullying problems to administrators. Thus, teachers should to be trained about what bullying is, what the school’s rules are, and how to deal with bullying. For example, teachers can support a victim and a bully. For the victim, show her or him that the care and they have a friend. In the same time teachers can advise the bully that he or she is wrong without getting involved in an argument. Actually, the interaction will be based on the bullying situation.

Whitted and Dupper (2005) provided a guideline for teachers to prevent bullying:

  • Regular classroom meetings are held to discuss bullying.
  • Students are involved in developing rules against bullying.
  • The concept of bullying is integrated into curriculum.
  • All school personnel model positive interpersonal skills and cooperative learning and do not set a bad example by exhibiting dominating or authoritarian behavior with students.
  • Teachers encourage the reporting of bullying incidents and consistently follow school bullying policies.
  • Teachers respond swiftly and consistently and are sympathetic to students who need support.
  • Teachers encourage students to include all students in play and activities.
  • Teachers send clear messages that bullying is not tolerated.
  • Consistent enforcement of nonpunitive, graduated consequences for bullying behaviors are used.
  • Corporal punishment is avoided.
  • Parents are encouraged to contact the school if they suspect their child is involved in bullying.

Thank you!!

References:

Alika, H. I. (2012). Bullying as a correlate of dropout from school among adolescents in Delta State: Implication for counselling. Education, 132(3), 523– 532.

Kennedy, T. D., Russom, A. G., Kevorkian, M. M. (2012). Teacher and administrator perceptions of bullying in schools. International Journal of Education Policy and Leadership, 7(5), 1–12.

National Center for Education Statistics. (2016). Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2016.U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2017/2017064.pdf

Olweus, D. (2003). A profile of bullying at school. Educational Leadership, 60(6), 12–17.

Olweus, D. (2011). Bullying at school and later criminality: Findings from three Swedish

community samples of males. Criminal Behaviour & Mental Health, 21(2), 151–156.

Strohmeier, D. & Noam, G. G. (2012). Bullying in schools: What is the problem, and how can educators solve it? New Directions for Youth Development, 2012 (133), 7–13.

Whitted, K. S., & Dupper, D. R. (2005). Best practices for preventing or reducing bullying in schools. Children & Schools, 27(3), 167–175.

Blog Post #4: The gap in women’s leadership positions is still exist!!

In my previous blog post, I discussed the pay gap as one of inequality issues between women and men that refers to the difference in wages and salaries between them. In this post I discuss women positions in higher education. White women and women of color in higher education experience discrimination across multiple dimensions, and it is well documented that academia itself is gendered (Morton, 2018). For example, according to National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) (2020), women’s salaries are lower at all ranks and in all types of institutions. Women are also much less likely to be tenured (Morton, 2018) or promoted. Also, women are less likely to be full professors (NCES, 2020).

Although there has been a slight change in the number of women in leadership positions, still the growth towards equity is slow. It is believed that the presence of females in higher education positions can have extreme impact on the institution and the scope of knowledge.

First of all, according to NCES, women earn more degrees than men. For the year of 2016–2017, women earned more than half of bachelor’s degrees (57.3%), master’s degrees (59.4%), and doctorate degrees (53.3%). While women have earned more degrees than men, they are less likely to hold high-ranking academic positions.

According to NCES, in 2017, the 1.5 million faculty in degree-granting postsecondary institutions, 53% were full time and 47 % were part time. Faculty include professors, associate professors, assistant professors, instructors, lecturers, assisting professors, adjunct professors, and interim professors. 41% were White males; 35% were White females; 6% were Asian/Pacific Islander males; 5% were Asian/Pacific Islander females; and 3% each were Black males, Black females, Hispanic males, and Hispanic females. Those who were American Indian/Alaska Native and those who were of Two or more races each made up 1% or less of full-time faculty. (see the figure below)

 

Also, 30% of college presidents are women while about 56.5% of college students in the U.S. are women (Samsel, 2017).

In 2018, according to Department of Education (2018), the percentage of female Full Professors represented 27% of white women, 3% Asian/Pacific Islander women, 2% black women, 1% Latinas, and less than 1% of full professors reported more than one race. Also, the percentage of female Assistant Professor represented 38% white women, 6% Asian/Pacific Islander women, 4% black women, 3% Latinas, and again, less than 1% of Assistant Professors claimed more than one race (Department of Education, 2018).

Even though, the percentages of female in different positions in 2018 has been increased, women are less than men to achieve tenure among tenured faculty at four-year institutions, women held just 22.7% non-tenure-track positions, compared to 17.3% of men faculty.

It is clear that women are more likely to be in lower-ranking academic positions especially women of color and women from different races are more underrepresented in academia. The numbers mentioned above are sufficient indicators of lack of diversity among women and men which means that white women and women of color struggle to attain the tenured and the rank of full professor. I was surprised for the low involvement of women in color in higher academic administration, despite the ever-growing number of students of color. Consequently, not considering the issue of inequality can indicate that there is less opportunity for women to pursue these positions and thus discourage them from making an impact.

I found a research article that exploring the issue indicated inequality in higher education leadership positions among different genders. The article written by Blithe and Elliott (2019). The authors aimed in their study to examine gender inequality in the academy and women experiences in workplace. This study draws on stress process theory to identify stressors and supports for academic women. Through analysis of focus group data, the results revealed that women in academia continue to experience extreme workplace hostilities micro-aggressions, work- life conflict and that these stressors vary by rank. Also, they found low levels of institutional support. So, they also discussed some strategies from the participants of successful supports that may improve equity in the higher education. The study concluded with a discussion of how higher education institutions can implement some approaches for white women and women of color by reducing existing stressors and increasing supports for them. According to Blithe and Elliott (2019), the suggested strategies include research about gender inequality, (2) mentoring, (3) communication, (4) training, (5) research support, (6) university policies, and (7) hiring.

(1) The research: some topics could be discussed in future research such as observing faculty meetings, productivity, teaching loads, research support funds, letters for annual evaluations and promotion, and teaching evaluations.

(2) mentoring: forming a ‘Women’s Faculty Network’ that can connect women to mentors.

(3) communication: if a university creates the Women’s Faculty Network, it could be included a social media and newsletter that could promote, spotlight faculty, announce awards, publications, etc.

(4) training: training programs related to Safe Zone or Ally training for LBTQI+ faculty, creating male advocates, and to learn about gendered communication.

(5) research support: such as support for conferences, especially for mothers taking children to conferences, specific grants and awards for gender research.

(6) university policies: included leaves of absence, same sex partner benefits, work-life policies (like flex time), wellness policies for disabilities, face time expectations.

(7) hiring: targeted hires of women at higher ranks.

Actually, I certainly think these strategies are very helpful. Something came to mind when I read this article related to finding balance between work and family. While there is no lack of enthusiasm and efforts from female faculty to perform in academia, some of these women may get demotivated and discouraged because of the rigorous requirements to perform especially with tenure position. Also, insufficient maternity leaves, no considerations for female employees with children, and unsupportive environments may lead them to not take up such academic positions from the start. Thus, I think providing support to a diverse workforce will ensure retention of diverse faculty members. I hope would be that higher education institutions would provide equitable resources for recruiting, hiring and retaining diverse faculty members.

Thank you!!

References:

Morton, S. (2018). Understanding gendered negotiations in the academic dual-career hiring process. Sociological Perspectives, 61(5), 748-765.

Blithe, S.J. & Elliott, M. (2019). Gender inequality in the academy: Micro-aggressions, work-life conflict, and academic rank. Journal of Gender Studies, 1-14.

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2019/03/29/though-more-women-are-on-college-campuses-climbing-the-professor-ladder-remains-a-challenge/

https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=61

https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d18/tables/dt18_318.30.asp?current=yes

https://bit.ly/2lOTalo

https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d17/tables/dt17_316.10.asp

https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d17/tables/dt17_316.80.asp

https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2018144

Blog Post #3, Our History is Our Strength!!

Since we are in March. I would like to talk about The National Women’s History Month. March is women’s history month in the United States, UK, and Australia! It is a time to celebrate the women’s contributions that they have made to the history and the barriers they have had to succeed in dealing with. For many years, women’s history was forgotten and ignored as unimportant achievements, but the effort has been sought to close this gap and more concentration paid on women’s issues.

In the late 1970, academics and scholars lead a revolution for the acknowledgement women’s work throughout the country’s history. Actually, the celebration began with a single day and it has been changed over time. Local groups and municipalities began celebrating a women’s history week and the movement was so popular for a decade (Willingham, 2020).

In 1980, president Jimmy Carter determined the first official national women’s history week, beginning on March 8 of that year (Willingham, 2020). Schools, universities and local governments have started celebrating the achievements of women during this week and educating people about women’s history.

With more equality and opportunities for women, the Congress declared a women’s history week became a month. March 1987 was the first official Women’s History Month.

Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional decisions authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month

Since 1995, each president has issued an annual announcement determining the month of March as “Women’s History Month.”

Consequently, women’s history month has been celebrated for the entire month of March to pay attention to the role women that have had during the country’s history.

Every year the National Women’s History Alliance selects and publishes one theme. The theme for this year is “Valiant Women of the Vote.”  The theme honors “the brave women who fought to win suffrage rights for women, and for the women who continue to fight for the voting rights of others.”Susan Scanlan and the History of Women’s History Month

Recently, there are many important organizations come together to celebrate and sponsor activities and resources for the commemoration of Women’s History month during March each year including The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (The Library of Congress, 2020).

Actually, I appreciate the idea of this celebration to make people more aware of issues that have faced women particularly gender issues and gender equality, but I’m wondering what have been done to change some of these issues? Even though there is an entire month to honor women contributions in American history, there is underrepresentation of women in STEM subjects, leadership careers, and wage gap between men and women!!

For example, there are still some issues with gender inequality in STEM fields. According to a nationally representative Pew Research Center survey, the majority of STEM women have experienced gender discrimination at work. Although women operate the half of jobs in the U.S. economy, they hold less than 25% of STEM jobs. The percentage of female faculty in STEM majors is on average 16.9% which is extremely less compared to male counterparts, however, this difference is less in non-STEM majors (Roy, 2019). Even though females might encounter some challenges including finding a balance between their work and family, which makes it more difficult for them to achieve some positions, I believe that women have different perspectives and experiences compared to their male counterparts, so they can target issues that might not attract a male’s attention.

In this respect, I would like to mention some examples of the first women in STEM fields.

Mary G. Ross (1908- 2008): was the first native American mechanical engineer. She was a founding member of Lockheed secret Advanced Development Program. At Lockheed, Ross designed rockets and ballistic missiles, developed systems for human space flight and interplanetary missions to Mars and Venus, etc. After retiring, she had a second career as an advocate for women and Native Americans in engineering and mathematics. To honor her contributions to the space program, the United States Mint included a design featuring Mary G. Ross to be on the US 2019 one-dollar coin.

Flossie Wong-Staal (1947- present) is a Chinese-American virologist and molecular biologist. She is one of the world’s foremost authorities in the field of virology. She and her team made a breakthrough, the discovery of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Wong-Staal was the first scientist to clone HIV and determine the work of its genes as an essential stage in proving that HIV is a cause of AIDS. For her participations to science, the Institute for Scientific Information ranked Wong-Staal the top woman scientist of the 1980s. Also, she was ranked as one of “Top 100 Living Geniuses.” in 2007.

Patricia Bath (1942- 2019) is African American ophthalmologist and laser scientist. She is the first black women to chair an ophthalmology residency program in the U.S. and the first African American female doctor to receive a patent for a medical purpose. She invented Laserphaco for the laser cataract surgery in 1986. Bath co-founded the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness to “protect, preserve, and restore the gift of sight” for all people in spite of race, gender, age, or socioeconomic status. Her “personal best moment” according to her happened when she restored the sight of a woman in South Africa who had been blind for 30 years.

I think U.S. and other countries need to give women the opportunities for get advantages of brainpower and innovation of all people. Removing barriers to women’s participation and success in STEM fields will benefit the whole nation.

Finally, a quotation by First Lady Michelle Obama is “If we’re going to out-innovate and out-educate the rest of the world, we’ve got to open doors for everyone. We need all hands on deck, and that means clearing hurdles for women and girls as they navigate careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.” (Michelle Obama, 2011).

Happy National Month Ladies!

References:

Roy, J. (2019) Engineering by the numbers. American Society for Engineering Education. Retrieved from https://ira.asee.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/2018-Engineering-by-Numbers-Engineering-Statistics-UPDATED-15-July-2019.pdf

https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/01/us/womens-history-month-why-march-trnd/index.html

https://nationalwomenshistoryalliance.org/2020-theme/

https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2011/09/26/remarks-first-lady-national-science-foundation-family-friendly-policy-ro

https://www.nps.gov/people/mary-g-ross.htm

https://info.umkc.edu/unews/celebrating-women-in-stem-dr-flossie-wong-staal/

https://cfmedicine.nlm.nih.gov/physicians/biography_26.html

https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2018/01/09/women-and-men-in-stem-often-at-odds-over-workplace-equity/

 

Blog Post #2 Gender Pay Gap

Despite there have been a long way to address inequality between men and women, it still persists today. Pay gap is one of these inequality issues between women and men that refers to the difference in wages and salaries between them. The gender pay gap demonstrate how unfair access to opportunities maintains disparity between the genders, women earn less money than men. A well-known example of discrimination in pay between genders is Lilly Ledbetter, who had worked in at the Goodyear plant in Gadsden for almost 20 years. Ledbetter experienced sexual harassment at her work and her boss told her that he didn’t think a woman should be working in the factory. In the same time, her coworkers had bragged about their overtime pay even though it was not allowed for them to show off their pay. So, she did not know and did not receive the same payments likes other her male counterparts until a colleague left her “an anonymous note”, disclosed she has been making thousands of dollars less than three men in the same position. Ms. Ledbetter was complaining to be the subject of discrimination and her case went to trial. After that, the jury decided to give her back-pay and roughly $3.3 million in compensatory and punitive damages for pay discrimination. Less than two years after the Ledbetter decision both the House and Senate passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. The Act was the first piece of legislation signed by US President Barack Obama.

Payscale shows in its 2019 report on the state of the pay gap. The report is exploring issues indicated a pay gap in different positions among different genders. Even though, the difference between the earnings of women and men has decreased, considerable disparity between the earnings still remains. Based on the findings of this report, the median salary for men is about 21% higher than the median salary for women. According to the report, with controlled gender pay gap which takes the ratio of median earnings of all women to all men, women and men who have the same employment characteristics doing the similar jobs, the women earn $0.98 for every dollar earned by an equivalent man which is still there is a different. With uncontrolled gender pay gap, the report states that women still make only $0.79 for every dollar men’s counterpart make.

In general, keep in mind the data shows the uncontrolled gender pay gap does not take into account important reasons that may affect pay levels. Example of these reasons maternity leave, years of experience, job title, location, education levels of employees, etc.

Also, the report discusses other issues related to racial wage gap, women of color, women with advanced degrees. According to the report, women are not one homogenous group. There are women of color and women of different races. They face more challenges in getting fair pay and advancing in the workplace compared to white women. White women on average make more than black women and Hispanic women that suffer wider pay gaps who have started their jobs in lower paying positions.

Also, according to data from Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that women constitute the larger number of occupations in workforce such as healthcare, personal care & service, education, training, office & administrative support, and community & social services. On the other hand, the large majority of men occupied careers such as construction, installation and maintenance, architecture & engineering, computer science and transportation. However, there are a persistent difference pay gap between them in many areas.

The report concluded that despite employers try to advocate a meritocracy, the pay decisions making do not take into a consideration a merit-based culture. The employers do not appreciate education/degrees equally between men and women and that discrepancy in pay is clear even with controlling other compensable factors.

It’s not just paying that is unequal, it’s also the type of position that women have. According to Seltzer (2017) in her report (80 Cents on the Dollar), the percentage of women holding the leadership positions much less than men particularly in higher education and they also are paid less. The report shows that women are paid less in 12 executive positions and that in half of those positions, the difference is more than 10%.

In fact, the Payscale report (2019) mentioned that female workers are less commonly tend to hold high-level, high-paying jobs than men. There are some structural barriers that prevent female workers from growth in the workplace this is known as opportunity gap.

In conclusion, it is a sad reality that even with changing times, women remain behind in salary. I think gender discrimination or gender stereotypes about women’s abilities has still played a significant role in having this disparity. Consequentially, the gender pay gap has become another reason that hinders women from pursuing certain majors and positions. Even though some institutions have already taken steps in reducing gender wage gap, this will take a great amount of time to reform the system and there are certain institutions have not made any progress and there is still more work to be done.

In my opinion if women have higher positions this will increase the women power and authority to address the problem since as a mentioned above some women tend to choose to go into lower paying careers (for example, going into nursing instead of surgery, going into social science fields instead of tech and engineering which are male dominated). The problem will be solved when women go to study majors that lead to high-paying career.

Also, women should have enough skill to negotiate their salaries. They lack important skills to advocate for themselves when it is a time to negotiate about increase salaries.

Finally, women can discuss with employers about public policy such as The Paycheck Fairness Act that is a policy seeks to more effective reform to injured party of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex, and for other purposes. This policy protects women workers when asking about wage and salary.

References:

https://www.payscale.com/data/gender-pay-gap

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/02/15/gender-pay-gap-persists-higher-education-administrators

https://nwlc.org/resources/lilly-ledbetter-fair-pay-act/

https://www.nationalpartnership.org/our-work/resources/economic-justice/fair-pay/the-paycheck-fairness-act.pdf