Gender Differences in Teaching and Classroom Participation Methods: A Pilot Study

By Murphy, Laurie; Eduljee, Nina B. et al. | Journal of Psychosocial Research, July-December 2018 | Go to article overview

Gender Differences in Teaching and Classroom Participation Methods: A Pilot Study


Murphy, Laurie, Eduljee, Nina B., Parkman, Suzanne, Croteau, Karen, Journal of Psychosocial Research


INTRODUCTION

Time spent in the classroom is most valuable when it facilitates learning and students often use classroom interactions to learn knowledge, understand procedures, and receive feedback (Okpala, 1996). In order to facilitate learning, instructors may use a variety of teaching methods that range from traditional lecture to classroom discussion, case studies, films, interactive experiential activities, research, quizzes, student presentations, and active classroom participation (Faust & Paulson, 1998). These instructional strategies are crucial in the teaching and learning process with gaining knowledge and promoting greater student engagement (Eison, 2010).

The instructor's decision to use diverse teaching and participation methods depend on some factors like pedagogical outcomes, the instructor's own teaching preferences, teacher expectations, student gender and personality type, academic level and discipline, student needs, and class size (Clark, 2000; Hopkins, McGillicudy-De Lisi, & De Lisi, 1997; Min & Baozhi, 2009, Murphy, Eduljee, Croteau & Parkman, 2017). Some classrooms may benefit from the traditional lecture format, while others may require interactive techniques and active classroom participation for effective learning to occur. Despite the professor's best efforts, differences in student preferences for teaching methods and classroom participation may affect performance. A careful and informed selection of instructional techniques could possibly remedy these differences and create a positive learning environment for all students (Aynalem, Abebe, Guadie & Bires, 2015; Brinthaupt, Clayton, Draude & Calahan, 2014).

Gender and Teaching Methods

While a significant body of literature has examined teaching methods and modalities (Anynalem, Abebe, Guadie, & Bires, 2015; Carpenter, 2006; Fitchen, et al., 2015; Kharb, Samanta, Jindal & Singh, 2012; Malek, Hall & Hodges, 2014, and Mathew & Pillai, 2016 to name a few) the exploration of gender and classroom teaching preferences is limited. Lecture as a preferred teaching method seems to be a consistent theme in several studies (Carpenter, 2006; Ismail, et al., 2014; Hativa & Birenbaum, 2000) which involves a professor conveying information that the student is expected to learn with little exchange between the professor and student (Marmah, 2014). In one study, Rivkin & Gim (2013) found that over 72% of students in a Drug-Induced Diseases and Clinical Toxicology Course found traditional lecture to be significantly more helpful than activelearning methods. Matthew & Pillai (2016) found that the majority of students in a nursing study from first year to graduation indicated that they preferred the lecture method as compared to discussion, peer teaching and demonstration and with learning methods, students preferred self-study in the first three years but not in the fourth year, where they indicated their preference for group study.

In contrast, Marmah (2014) conducted a study of 197 undergraduate students (49.2% male, 50.8% female) to investigate their perceptions of lecture and whether gender differences existed in preferences for lecture as a teaching method. The results indicated no significant differences between male and female preferences for lecture as a teaching method. Similarly, Hativa & Birenbaum (2000) found no significant gender differences in their analysis of 83 undergraduate respondents within their larger study (n=175) on student's preferred approaches to teaching; however their overall findings indicated "that the clear and interesting lecturer is the most highly preferred" (p. 227).

Ismail et al., (2014) examined preferences for six different teaching methods with 50 medical school students (40% male, 60% female) in Malaysia. The findings indicated that lecture was the most preferred teaching method by the majority (72%), followed by tutorial (10%), and problem based learning, practical, and early clinical exposure (6%). …

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