How can instructors avoid reinforcing social stereotypes?

Please Sign In or Register* to view this video

*To protect students' privacy, you must register for a PhysPort account and prove you are an educator
Episode 109: Scratched University of Maryland

Interactions in science classrooms are shaped by society’s perspectives on race/ethnicity and gender, which can put traditionally underserved groups at a disadvantage. How can instructors avoid reinforcing social stereotypes?

July 3, 2018

Pedagogy Content
Promoting equity
Physics Content
Newton's laws
Instructor Interaction
STEM-wide audiences

Lesson Contents (2 MB)Student Handout
Transcript, discussion questions, and problem

(1 MB)Specific Lesson Guide
Facilitator's guide for this lesson

(1 MB)General Facilitator's Guide
Background and best practices

(126 MB)Video
Captioned video


Sample Discussion Prompts

  1. What did you notice in this episode? Talk to your neighbor about what you notice.
  2. Claudia says, “I don’t think there’s any way you can explain to me how a massive truck is going to have the same forces on it.” She has probably heard explanations before. Why do you think she says this can’t be explained to her?
  3. How might Claudia’s presentation as female and Black influence someone’s perception of her? Do you see anything happening in this episode that you think might be influenced by her social identity?
  4. Alan presents as male and Asian. How might his apparent social identity influence someone’s perception of him? Do you see anything in this episode that you think bears this out?
  5. The instructor, Leo, compliments Claudia. What does he compliment her on? Why is it worth complimenting?
  6. Suppose you were Leo and you wanted to address Alan’s complacency, instead of Claudia’s upset. What might you say to Alan?
  7. What does this episode suggest instructors can do to avoid reinforcing social stereotypes?

Collections featuring this lesson

Colorado LA Pedagogy Course21 LESSONS Equity in collaborative learning6 LESSONS

Other Lessons featuring this video

How can I encourage productive student debate? How can I support students who are angry about science concepts? What ideas do students have about Newton's third law?