Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Student Disrespect For Non-White, Non-Male Teachers May 28, 2010

Filed under: academia,gender,hostile workplace,race,sex — Jender @ 11:38 am

Balk sends us this post showing higher rates of rudeness to women faculty. And Ebony Utley has written a very disturbing account of her experiences teaching as an African American woman– including such questions as “are your boobs real?”.


9 Responses to “Student Disrespect For Non-White, Non-Male Teachers”

  1. Michel X. Says:

    I believe it. I TAed for a middle-aged white woman (a first-year pol-phil course) last year, and was required to attend most lectures. Although their in-class behaviour was generally pretty OK, they were in the habit of rustling around and packing up in the last five minutes, despite the fact that the prof was still talking, with some getting up and leaving.

    That’s one of my pet-peeves. I chewed them out for it in my tutorials, but it didn’t seem to have much effect–probably because nobody ever showed up, and it was just half the class at best anyway. By contrast, I never had to deal with that crap, ever. I can even keep them late, and there’s barely a peep until I say we’re done.

    At the university where my partner is finishing her MA, however, I attended some of the lectures for an intro phil survey course that she TAed. It was taught by three instructors, two young men and one young (but well-established) woman. The class gave the woman a very hard time, challenged her points far more often, and rustled far more than for the men. Their rustling started 15 minutes before the end of class–again, with students leaving. I did also notice that one of the men seemed to treat the woman as though she were far more junior (from what I can tell, they’re either similarly ranked, or she’s got more experience. She has far more publications, at any rate). Perhaps that was just his general attitude, since he seemed to take charge more often, but I found it odd.

  2. jj Says:

    When a report of this work first appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education, readers raised questions about the merits of the research. I couldn’t find any description of the research except that it was based on a questionaire sent out to university profs. The post above contains a link to it, and readers might have a look.

    What the did was to ask a large number of profs to describe an example of student behavior that showed lack of respect. They were also asked how they felt about it.

    The researchers analysed the results, and that’s the basis of their figures. More women reported insulting behavior and there were more really bad behaviors among those they reported. I am puzzled about how to generalize from this data.

  3. Shira Says:

    @jj — A report of which work? What research are you referring to? Do you have a link or a citation so I can take a look?

  4. jj Says:

    Shira, here’s a link to the conference report, on which the news reports are based:

  5. jj Says:

    The methodolgy of the study depends on Flanagan’s ‘Critical Incident Technique.’ While it is well established as a research paradigm, it is said by this article to be a matter of qualitative research. Such research, they say, aims at understanding experiences and actions. That might introduce some questions about the quantitative conclusions reached.

  6. Shira Says:

    @JJ Thanks so much!

  7. jj Says:

    Shira, you are very welcome. Do let us know what you think.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Michel X,
    It sounds like the man had a difficult time accepting the fact that the woman was equal to or superior to him. I’m not sure why, this is 2010 after all. If the woman is equal in rank, the man should at the very least show her equal respect. If the woman has more experience or is more senior…the man should absolutely be giving her the respect she has earned and deserves.

  9. […] In addition to the Quinean moment, we can see that cultural stereotypes can trump personal experience.  This may be part of what is behind student incivility toward women profs. […]

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