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Welcome to Annette, Jennifer & Melissa’s Blog!

We will use this forum to document the findings of our research/survey.

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Background

Power is the focus of the course, Power & Pedagogy in Higher Education.  The assignment on power directed students to observe numerous sites and contexts with the objective of identifying power dynamics and differential in those situations.

We set out to discover whether or not the gender of an instructor would affect the  dynamics of a classroom as the instructor wields his/her inherent power and how this was perceived by the students.  Ten questions to this effect were created to gather data.  The demographic for the survey was an undetermined number of participants among whom were our colleagues, friends, families and whomever they passed the survey on to.  The survey was anonymous and we did not ask respondents to disclose their gender.

The “Survey Monkey” web-tool was used to collect and aggregate quantitative data.  The questionnaire was designed to also collect anecdotal data for questions which could not be easily answered with a discrete response.  For example, respondents were asked what they thought about all male and all female schools.  Anecdotal data was collected to complement some of the quantitative data as a means to determine and support validity and reliability of the data collection instrument.  Anecdotal data was found to support the quantitative data and to afford a more nuanced exploration of the research question:   “Does instructor gender impact classroom dynamics?”

The findings in this survey suggest that our education system has moved beyond some of the classroom power imbalances which have been reported in the literature.  However, the presentation of a small amount of evidence that suggests that instructor gender does impact classroom dynamics may be the result of the study design which may have included dependence on a convenience sample that was too small or potentially biased.  It would have been instructive to be able to separate respondents by gender more fully to examine whether gender is a factor on perception of power dynamics in the classroom.

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Survey Analysis – Question #01

The data is presented below, one question at a time, with the quantitative data appearing first.  Qualitative data was analyzed to confirm how it corroborated quantitative responses.  A subsequent analysis was conducted to identify illustrative statements from each set of anecdotal responses.  These illustrative statements are incorporated into the presentation and exploration of each question.

At the time of the analysis there were 26 respondents and the written analysis reflects that number.  There has since been other respondents.  The graphical illustrations reflect the number of respondents at the time of this post.  The survey is now closed.

All 26 respondents commented on this question.  Comments were analyzed for their support of gender-specific versus mixed-gender schools. 

  • Fourteen respondents or 52% favoured mixed schools;
  • 4 respondents or 15% were in favour of both models of schools;
  • 3 or 10% did not know; and
  • 6 respondents or 22% were in favour of gender-specific schools. Continue reading
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Survey Analysis – Question #02

  • 42% replied “yes” and 50% replied “no” to this question.  

The distribution of respondents who provided additional comments to this question supports this is equal split. Continue reading

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Survey Analysis – Question #03

Respondents’ comments were analyzed to identify those which perceive gender mixing to be positive and those which favour gender separation in the classroom. 

  • 18 or 67% perceive gender mixed classrooms to be preferable.   

These respondents described the mixed-classroom experience in terms of improved inter-gender understanding and relationships. Continue reading

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Survey Analysis – Question #04

The quantitative data collected on this question shows that 65.4% perceive that students are not better understood by a teacher of the same gender.  This is described in illustrative statements from the comment section of the question. Continue reading

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Survey Analysis – Question #05

  • 36% of respondents perceive women to make better teachers compared to 4% who favour men as better teachers. 

Only one person who perceived a gender difference in teaching ability added a comment to their reply:

“Women are “natural” teachers with better feelings.” Continue reading

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