2011 GSA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis (912 October 2011)
Paper No. 97-20
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM

ROLE OF AN INSTRUCTOR'S GENDER ON MOTIVATIONS AND ATTITUDES OF FEMALE STUDENTS IN INTRODUCTORY PHYSICAL GEOLOGY

VISLOVA, Tatiana1, STEMPIEN, Jennifer A.2, BUDD, David2, and MCCONNELL, David A.3, (1) Earth Sciences, SUNY College at Oneonta, 885 Westview Drive, Shoreview, MN 55126, vislovt@gmail.com, (2) Department of Geological Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder, 2200 Colorado Ave, Boulder, CO 80309, (3) Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695

Prior studies indicate that female students entering Introductory Geology in large research universities and liberal arts colleges have significantly lower confidence in their ability to succeed than their male peers. Further, their confidence, motivations and values (affect) show a greater decline over the semester than their male counterparts. This study addresses whether having a female introductory geology instructor can lead to a more positive impact on the affect of female students.

We compared changes in motivations and attitudes in female students taught by male and female instructors. The Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire was used to characterize students’ affect at the beginning and end of the course. We compared male and female instructors within two teaching styles. One male and one female instructor compared in the study both use a traditional teacher-centered approach. Another male and another female instructor we compared both create more student-centered environments by encouraging greater student interaction and participation. We minimized all other variables by comparing only Introductory Geology courses at the University of Colorado that were taught in the same classroom and at the same time of the day.

Instructor gender had no significant impact on change in female students’ affect in more traditional-style classrooms. Female students’ affect decreased in both cases. Female students in the more student-centered male instructor’s class also reported a decrease in affect. However, female students taught by the female instructor in the student-centered class reported no significant negative changes in motivation, and recorded a positive change in intrinsic goal orientation. In addition, a majority of female students in both student-centered classes stated that they were more likely to take other geology classes in the future, whereas only a small percentage of females in the traditional classrooms expressed a similar desire. Collectively these results suggest female instructors at the introductory level who employ non-traditional teaching strategies will have positive impacts on the motivations and attitudes of female students, and would be best at attracting and retaining female students to geology.

2011 GSA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis (912 October 2011)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 97--Booth# 72
Geoscience Education (Posters) II
Minneapolis Convention Center: Hall C
9:00 AM-6:00 PM, Monday, 10 October 2011

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 43, No. 5, p. 256

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