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Gender-segregated science classrooms.

Mareel mareel at aol.com
Thu May 25 22:32:01 EST 1995

I don't remember any problems with this in high school and before--in
general all kids who liked & excelled at math & science were considered a
bit wierd by the general student population, but most of us had long ago
learned not to care about that.   You did have to be relatively assertive,
maybe that's the reason for trying a gender segregated classroom.  But I
remember pitching to dissect that frog in junior high, and insisting on
setting up my own experiments in chemistry.  Now that I think of it, I did
have a physics teacher who ridiculed women in general, and me in
particular because I don't have the ability to do math in my head (I was
dynamite on a slide rule, which dates me, but no one was faster at the
time). He drew all this examples from auto mechanics it seems and
condescended sometimes to explain them to me (and probably to the 2/3 of
the guys who didn't know diddly about cars or physics).   I never liked
physics, but I survived it well enough to become  an organic chemist in
the pharmaceutical industry.   I think good teachers made the difference
for me--especially women teachers in math and chemistry, and a summer NSF
science program when I worked with a woman professor.   I do think that
women have to learn to be assertive enough to work well with men, and they
might or might not learn those skills in a single gender classroom/lab
situation.  If I were a high school girl I'd be afraid that they were
"watering down" the science in the "girls class" and would probably fight
to take classes with the boys.  But I tend to be rebellious anyway.    
Barbara Duhl-Emswiler, Ph.D.    Seattle Washington
Barbara Duhl-Emswiler  mareel at aol.com

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