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Gender Equity Professional Development For Teachers In A Summer Camp Setting

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Outreach: Future Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.586.1 - 7.586.13



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Paper Authors

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Donna Whiting

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Marion Usselman

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The attitudes and classroom behaviors of K-12 teachers can have a substantial impact on whether girls perceive technical careers as appropriate and available to them. It is well documented that elementary girls are enthusiastic in their pursuit of math and science knowledge, but this enthusiasm often declines as the girls reach middle school1. Studies of classroom dynamics reveal that teachers often unconsciously interact with girls in ways that discourage active participation and critical thinking about science topics2. Professional development for teachers can be an effective tool for raising teachers’ awareness about the issues of gender equity, and of classroom equity in general. Professional development is usually offered in a forum disconnected from the actual classroom, and is often of very short duration. Gender equity workshops that last a matter of hours are only long enough to communicate what the “experts” say, but are not long enough for the true introspection required to change personal behavior. To counter this, the Georgia Institute of Technology, with support from the National Science Foundation3 and the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, implemented SummerScape: Gender Equitable Science for Students and Teachers. SummerScape was a 2-week “Teaching and Learning” program that consisted of a summer camp for middle school students and a professional development experience for teachers. It was designed to help all students experience confidence and success in science and engineering and to provide teachers with in-depth professional development covering gender equitable science pedagogy and teaching practices. An important component of this teacher experience was the opportunity to practice new teaching strategies immediately following each in-service workshop in a low-risk summer camp environment. This paper will present this “Teaching and Learning Camp” model of teacher professional development, detail the activities covered in the gender equity professional development, and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the program determined through the project evaluation.

Whiting, D., & Usselman, M. (2002, June), Gender Equity Professional Development For Teachers In A Summer Camp Setting Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11324

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