Right now there is a big difference between the number of women and men going into STEM. The question is whether teachers can do anything about it, or whether they should allow society to take its natural course.
It all depends, of course, on the nature of the individuals. If women are less likely to go into science, technology, and engineering, it could be to do with societal expectations, but equally, it could just be an in-built difference that no amount of re-education can address.
How teachers approach this problem will, therefore, depend very much on the individual girls involved. For some, STEM won’t hold any interest for them, and forcing them into a role in this field wouldn’t be good for their life satisfaction. Others, however, might just need a little extra encouragement and support to see them through.
In this post, we take a look at some of the things that teachers can do from an early age to encourage more women in STEM.
Build Maths Skills
Interest in STEM usually comes from a strong understanding of mathematics. But getting young people interested in the subject can be a challenge.
The best way to present math is as a series of small but manageable interesting problems.
For instance, you could ask kids whether they could ever reach a destination if they could only travel half the distance towards it every day. It’s the kind of brain teaser that really gets them to think and makes them interested in the subject. It’s so much better than drills.
Learning the right pedagogic skills can also make a massive difference to young people’s experience of STEM subjects. If they get the impression that they’re something dull and tedious, then they will do everything they can to avoid them later on. By contrast, if you can make them more interesting and varied by learning how to teach them in an engaging way, then you can encourage more girls to take it up in the future.
You can learn more about primary school teaching training here. Ideally, you want to get to the point where you feel confident in your ability to create in-built motivation in your students to pursue knowledge.
Avoid Multiple Choice Tests
If you’re able to test students in a different way, then you might want to consider this approach. It’s time to stop evaluating students with tick boxes and instead start using more practical examinations.
This approach was one that teachers would often deploy in the past. Tests weren’t just something that you did in the summer at the end of the academic year. Instead, students would set up and perform experiments and projects. And then the teacher would evaluate their abilities. It was a much more practical way of doing things.
Try getting girls to demonstrate their proficiency through writing, word problems, and even practical projects. Avoid relying so heavily on the traditional format as this might discourage interest in the subject and make women more likely to move towards the art side of the academic spectrum.