The Impact of Distinctive Teacher Attention among Male and Female Students - Essay Prowess

The Impact of Distinctive Teacher Attention among Male and Female Students


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The Impact of Distinctive Teacher Attention among Male and Female Students

Article Critique

Beaman, R., Wheldall, K., & Kemp, C. (2006). Differential teacher attention to boys and girls in the classroom. Educational Review, 58(3), 339-366.

The article Differential teacher attention to boys and girls in the classroom by Beaman, Wheldall, & Kemp seeks to address a problem in the education sector where boys seem to have a decline in academic performance compared to their girl counterparts. The research question addressed in this article is gender discrimination in classrooms that is propagated by the teachers. From the abstract of this article it is clear that this is not a simple issue. The authors start by indicating that teachers allowing differential treatment in their classrooms. In the contemporary teaching profession, teachers need to be aware of the gender bias in the classroom that affects the delivery of quality education. The author suggests that the major concerns of gender bias, especially with regard to differential treatment, have emerged. The issues came to the limelight in the twentieth century, particularly in the 1970s (Beaman, Wheldall, & Kemp, 2006). However, conflicts emerge from the type of  treatments that girls and boys received from their teachers when in their classrooms. What makes this a complicated issue is that there is institutionalized bias with regard to gender in classrooms that affect the results of education. Unfortunately, girls and boys receive different treatment from their teachers. Consequently, because of gender bias in the classroom, it has led to public concern with regard to poor performance of boys in schools (Beaman, Wheldall, & Kemp, 2006).

Distinctive Teacher Attention

Another issue that complicates gender bias in classrooms is the distinctive teacher attention. In the 1980s, the majority of the studies indicated that boys in classrooms attracted lesser attention compared to girls. At the same time, girls were exposed to lesser criticisms as well as less instructions (Beaman, Wheldall, & Kemp, 2006). Moreover, boys were exposed to more behavioral and academic criticism relative to their female counterparts. Furthermore, girls were more likely to volunteer to respond to questions in classrooms compared to boys. However, on average, girls recorded class participation of 44 per cent (Beaman, Wheldall, & Kemp, 2006). Boys received less teachers’ attention compared to girls as male teachers gave more attention to girls. However, the researcher does not provide a precise reason why such cases happen despite huge financial support from the government.

The authors also acknowledge that initially, the issues of gender bias were primarily focussed on girls being at disadvantage compared to boys. However, over the last decades, boys have experienced gender bias and several disadvantages relative to girls. Beaman, Wheldall, & Kemp see boys at disadvantage with regard to “soft touch” strategies to learning, while girls receive gender bias in terms of maths and sciences. Consequently, gender bias in classrooms was generated for more than half a decade ago. Unfortunately, despite this realization, they noted that less progress has been made to develop adequate strategies that reduce these effects (Beaman, Wheldall, & Kemp, 2006).

Lack of Awareness on Differential Treatment

In order to support the claim that gender bias takes place in classroom, the authors noted that lack of awareness on differential treatment is the main source of concern. In such complicated issue, they noted that teachers have insufficient awareness related to differential treatment as they continue to advance it in classrooms. They suggest that teachers should be trained with different approaches for preventing and reducing gender bias and inequity in classrooms (Beaman, Wheldall, & Kemp, 2006). For instance, they should understand how to track the responses of students, interchanging interactions between female and male students. Moreover, educators should have skills on how to encourage teachers to select the first student who raise his or her hand (Beaman, Wheldall, & Kemp, 2006).

Effects of Differential Treatment of Students

Overall, the article fails to provide the effects of gender bias in classrooms at the initial pages, but does so at the final stages of the paper. Based on the discussions from the authors, differential treatment affects the perception of teachers with regard to students and social and academic success. In addition, gender bias in classrooms manipulates the character of these students. Furthermore, the gender of a learner has a huge impact on the attitude of teachers regarding those students even in case all other features are accounted for (Beaman, Wheldall, & Kemp, 2006). Therefore, the authors suggested that educators are more likely to treat learners differently based on their gender characteristics. Ultimately, this is likely to produce long-term effects in terms of achievements of students in the classrooms as well as their lives (Beaman, Wheldall, & Kemp, 2006).

Long-Term Effects of the Gender Bias in Classrooms

The article noted that in the 1990s, the effects of gender bias among the boys in education systems started to emerge. Boys are continually underperforming compared to their girl counterparts. Nonetheless, the authors do not explain why these issues started to emerge at that particular time. The girls are doing well in “non-cognitive strategies to learning” such as learning independence, eagerness to learn, task persistence, and attentiveness contributing to higher grades. Additionally, due to poor grades from the male students, they are at disadvantage in terms of the future employment opportunities (Beaman, Wheldall, & Kemp, 2006). Furthermore, boys are continually outcompeted because a higher number of women is entering the workforce. Gender bias targeting boys in schools has negative impacts on their academic opportunities and post-secondary opportunities. However, the authors fail to provide a clear reason why girls are overcompeting boys in many academic fields.

Moreover, the authors noted that the grades they attain in their secondary education are likely to affect their college admission. Therefore, they tend to point out that it is at this stage that girls are taking the opportunity when they join the colleges. On the other hand, boys tend to get a lower GPA compared to their girl counterparts. They also oppose teachers because they give girls’ feedback compared to boys that help them to get more information and skills (Beaman, Wheldall & Kemp, 2006). 

Surprising Findings

Although, the Education Amendment has banned discrimination in schools in terms of gender more than two decades ago, gender bias is still thriving and alive in these institutions. The authors of this study noted that boys receive less attention from their teachers compared to girls, while most of the girls in schools are discouraged from advancing in crucial academic fields such as science and maths (Beaman, Wheldall, & Kemp, 2006). The major issue concerning gender discrimination is that it usually happens unintentionally, hence most of the teachers do not even realise it. Unfortunately, some teachers believe that their ideas are helping to advance gender fairness in the classrooms, but they are still propagating the same gender roles (Beaman, Wheldall, & Kemp, 2006).

Teachers Training on Effects of Differential Treatments

Due to gender bias in classrooms, boys are more likely to have lower self-esteem than girls. However, girls are at disadvantage when it comes to scientific disciplines as the teachers promote negative attitudes towards these subjects. Therefore, they recommended that teachers should be trained how to promote positive teaching strategies (Beaman, Wheldall, & Kemp, 2006). They provide evidence that indicates that there is a big problem with boys, which contributing to their higher rate of fallout. For instance, boys are more often expelled from schools compared to girls. The interaction between a teacher and students leads to classrooms inequities. Boys receive less attention from their teachers compared to girls. Eventually, many girls are more likely to advance in their higher education compared to their boys counterparts (Beaman, Wheldall, & Kemp, 2006). Therefore, the problem has become a point of concern in the education systems.

The extending consequences of these issues need to be readily ostensible. Nearly completely unintentional, gender bias is so prevalent in the education sector. Although teachers make an effort to initiate behavior change in terms of differential treatment, they have experienced relative forms of challenges. The need of eliminating and identifying these types of bias has generated diverse opinion from the education stakeholders. Some people suggest that single gendered classrooms should be established while others note that the two educational curricula need to be developed; that will significantly improve the accomplishments and ambitions of students (Beaman, Wheldall, & Kemp, 2006). Furthermore, the study noted that most of the teachers are unaware of the differential treatment. Therefore, teachers need to know that differential treatment exists in classrooms more often than not and they are not above this form of behavior.

Overall, it is a nice, well-researched article with a crucial message for educators and policy makers. In case this information is used in the right manner, it is likely to change the lives of millions of boys who have a chance to become the future leaders.


Beaman, R., Wheldall, K., & Kemp, C. (2006). Differential teacher attention to boys and girls in the classroom. Educational Review, 58(3), 339-366.

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