Monthly Archives: April 2015

Book review: Delusions of Gender – Cordelia Fine (part two)

a physics classroom

The first part of this review can be found here. It deals with STEM subjects at school and as careers, and neuroscience and how it can, or more likely can not, be applied to explain gender differences.

The third section of the book deals with parenting. Relevant because I’m the mother two young children. A boy and a girl, aged 4 and 2. Their obsession with gender roles and stereotypes is, frankly, terrifying.

My little girl seems to be descending into the frightening world of pink with it’s associated limited aspirations. I am not what people would call a girly girl (thank god). I wasn’t as a child. I never had dolls and many colours were part of my world. Treasured toys included a red car, domino rally, a cuddly panther and lego (normal colourful lego of old). I’m aware I may be bringing some of my own issues to…

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Delusions of Gender and my physics classroom (part 1)

a physics classroom

Mostly this is a book review of my Easter holiday read: Delusions of Gender: the real science behind sex differences by Cordelia Fine.

I’m interested in gender issues generally and have had this near the top of my to read list for a while. What I didn’t expect was to find so much in this book that is directly relevant to my teaching practice. I have come away from this book feeling inspired, depressed, enraged, capable and like I can make a real difference to my students.

The first third deals with hidden sexism. The attitudes of society that pervade our subconscious minds. Many scientific studies are considered where the effect is basically: if a girl is reminded of how crap girls are at maths before taking a maths test, they will perform worse on the test than if they are told about something more gender neutral. I’m paraphrasing to…

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Book Review: Punk Learning – Tait Coles

a physics classroom

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Safe to say I expected to like this book before I started reading it. That’s why I chose it from the pile of education books that have appeared in the school library.  It appealed to me, as a punk and a teacher.

Thing is, I’ve not managed to translate much (any?) of my own punk ethos into my classroom. I’ve thought about it, then been a bit scared/unsure really. I found this a really inspirational read – showing how teaching can be done in a different way. I need to go away and listen to Big A, Little A – Crass on repeat for a few hours to reinvigorate my attitude to teaching and learning. (Something I recommend everyone else should do too.)

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I want classes like the ones described in the book, but I know I can’t just make it happen on…

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