Thursday, May 6, 2010

Young, inexperienced, female educators are classroom targets

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on a recent study that found the most common targets of student incivility are young, inexperienced, and/or female professors:

"Only about 16 percent of the faculty members surveyed reported not having experienced student incivility at all, but that aggregate figure masked a wide gulf between men and women in terms of the likelihood of their recalling such incidents. When the researchers broke their data down by gender, they found that 24 percent of men, and just 9 percent of women, could not recall incidents of uncivil student behavior, Women were also much more likely to report that the uncivil behavior they experienced was severe, or to say that they had been upset by it."

Considering that the majority of recent PhD's in biological anthropology are female, and that by definition most recent PhD's are inexperienced (the youth part is relative), this has likely been a common experience among our community. Please let us know here at BANDIT if you've encountered this situation and what you've done to handle it.

1 comment:

  1. At both of the universities I've taught at, I've been warned before I started teaching to expect some disrespectful students (in both cases, the people that warned me were minority women who had dealt with it quite a bit--one was an older professor, they other was a grad student). Since I look young, and am also short and brown, I expected to deal with some problem students, but it hasn't been that bad.

    The first time I dealt with rude student behavior was my first semester teaching labs--there was a student who was constantly talking, flirting, inappropriately PDA-ing with her boyfriend while I was talking, and I had to talk to her a few times about it. She was also very rude when she approached me about a grade she was upset about (she was rude enough that her boyfriend actually came back to apologize for her behavior). However, since then, the only problems I've had are the students who think that they are stealthily texting, and a couple grad disputes. For the texting, I just remind the class to put away their phones, and they always comply. For grade disputes, my course coordinators always backed me up, so it hasn't been a problem. I do feel that after teaching a while, I've had less problems, probably because I've become better as establishing myself as an authority at the beginning of class.

    On a side note, I also think class size makes a huge differences--in smaller classes, students always seem more respectful (as well as more engaged).