Friday, February 3, 2006
SEHS gender equity program receives national award
By Rebecca Wyatt, OU Web Writer
Oakland University’s School of Education and Human Services recently was recognized by the American Association of College for Teacher Education (AACTE) for its development and implementation of a gender equity assessment tool for student teachers.
The AACTE awarded OU its 2005 Best Practice Award for Gender Equity, bringing national attention to the school’s quality program.
OU’s gender equity program began in 1996 with the implementation of the Gender Equity Observation Form (GEOF) in the elementary education program. It was later adapted in the secondary education program in 2000.
The purpose of GEOF is to raise awareness about gender equity issues before student teachers step foot in a classroom. GEOF encourages gender-fair teaching in the areas of verbal acceptance responses, verbal praise responses, verbal higher-level questioning, verbal criticism, non-verbal wait time and non-verbal proximity to students.
Students are taught throughout their education about gender equity in hopes that they will be able to apply what they have learned beginning with their student teaching.
“We don’t think they can change the entire school, especially as student teachers. But we did think they could exhibit gender equity teaching methods, and OU students have been very successful at doing that,” said Dyanne Tracy, professor of education and chair of the Department of Teacher Development and Educational Studies.
As part of the program, student teachers must videotape and analyze one of their lectures.
“The outcome is that our student teachers are aware of how many boy and how many girls are in the classroom,” Tracy said.
The student teachers recognize it’s not about calling on equal numbers of boys and girls, but rather a proportion equal to that which represents the class. Tracy said the effects of gender-bias in a classroom linger with students and having a positive experience only enhances learning.
“Having this gender-equity program really brings a heightened awareness to the beginning teacher on how he or she engages his or her classroom,” Tracy said.
This is a program OU had adapted nearly six years ago and it doesn’t cost the school any additional money because it’s built into the education, according to Tracy.
The AACTE Best Practice for Gender Equity Award officially was given to OU on Feb. 1 at the awards ceremony during the AACTE’s 58th Annual Meeting and Exhibits in San Jose, Calif.
For more information on the School of Education and Human Services, visit the SEHS Web site.