Education News

Experimental Curriculum Reduces Stereotypes

Experimental Curriculum Reduces Stereotypes

Blue is for boys and pink is for girls. Gender stereotyping begins months before the child is born as nurseries are prepared.

Unfortunately, gender biases don’t stop at birth. Evidence show that gender stereotyping is far more common in a child’s early years and that classroom dynamics and teacher practices can contribute to how a child identifies with children of the opposite sex.

A study of 7,000 kindergarten children found that despite the gender differences, boys and girls learn the same. However, classroom dynamics such as seating arrangements (boy, girl, boy, girl) and labeling (“Good morning, boys and girls”) can contribute to gender biases. A teacher’s attitude about how quickly boys learn math versus girls outperforming boys in reading can also contribute to gender biases.

An experimental curriculum is currently being tested in several elementary classrooms in Arizona.   The Sanford Harmony Program was developed at Arizona State University and is designed to build relationships among boys and girls by breaking stereotypes and fostering positive social relations. Preschoolers and fifth grade students are the primary targets.

Read the entire story at Edweek.com.
Visit ASU’s School of Social and Family Dynamics.
Learn more about The Sanford Harmony Program.

Photo Courtesy: Laura Segall/Education Week
Four-year-olds Elijah Reyes and his classmate Alyzandra Lopez work together on a “buddy” activity at Kenilworth Elementary School in Phoenix. The preschool classroom is taking part in the Sanford Harmony Program, an experimental curriculum aimed at reducing children’s gender biases.