Update #2 – Women and Mathematics: The Effect of Teaching Practices on Girls’ Mathematical Confidence

Hello again for my second update! Since the first update, I’ve traveled to Nashville, Tennessee for a math education conference and started to write. So first I’ll talk about attending the conference. It was called the STEM: Think Tank and Conference – Roadmap to Success held at the Harpeth Hall School in Nashville, Tennessee. It was three days of speakers and seminars and networking and every opportunity to learn about my research subject. I attended nine seminars and I’ll talk a little bit about each one. The first seminar was STRIDE@UT: Plugging the Leaky Pipeline in STEM Academia; STRIDE is  a program at the University of Tennessee to promote hiring diverse members of the faculty and distribute research on bias and diversity. Then I went to Turning STEM into STEAM where I learned from a current middle school teacher at an all-girls school the types of projects she incorporates into her class to combine STEM subjects with art. Next was Beyond the First Steps in STEM: Taking Outreach, Engagement and Implementation to the Best Level which was more of a discussion addressing ways to integrate new research about STEM education addressing how to increase engagement and mastery into classrooms. Those three events marked the end of day one with day two beginning with a seminar titled The Tulsa Girls’ Math Circle about transforming the formal idea of a math circle into an extracurricular  activity for middle school girls – I found this one to be very interesting and I liked participating in the activities myself. I attended Cascading Influences: Long-Term Impacts of Informal STEM Experiences for Girls next, where I listened to research being completed on out of school STEM programs for girls and their effects on girls’ STEM perceptions. Then I listened to Dr. Sheryl Sorby talk about her many years researching spatial skill differences in girls and boys and how to address the gap. The last event of day two was a discussion by job function in which I addressed issues at the tertiary level (including the transition from high school to college) with other students and professors. Day three was one long seminar titled Crossing the Divide: Encouraging Girls to Stay with STEM When Transitioning from High School to College where I learned about the drop of girls’ interest in STEM after high school and methods to counteract that. I also participated in a simulated engineering lesson utilizing design thinking and the engineering process. And then the conference was complete! I had a wonderful time talking to students, teachers, and administrators at all different levels and experiences and was excited to incorporate what I learned into my literature review that I started the day after returning from Nashville.

And now I’m about three weeks into writing my literature review and I can see the end just around the corner (as in next week)! I’ve addressed unconscious pedagogy implications from stereotype threat to teacher biases to mathematical anxiety. I’ve also discussed  formal pedagogy methods including textbook biases, teaching methods involving collaboration and social context, and alternative teaching such as online learning. Next on the queue is informal pedagogy, involving the effects of people and extracurricular, and also a good deal of editing before submitting my project.

Look for the third update at the end of the week and a final summary the next!