AfroPhysics/Project Planning/Uganda/Good Ideas/Gender

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9) Gender issues in physics teaching

Although I am new to this project, I am greatly motivated to make a contribution. So far I don't see any specific item to address gender issues in physics teaching and I know they play a great part wikiflora
Some of the problems with the way we teach physics or science in general, is that students are given examples that are insensitive to gender. e.g a teacher may give an example of a physicist climbing up an electric pole to fix a wire, which in my culture is not considered a women job. This tend to make the girl students "go away" from the subject thinking it is a men domain. Another one could be when a teacher always refers to successful physicists as "he" in which case the "she" feel left out.wikiflora

Hi Florece, welcome to our educational wiki! Great to have you on the list of contributors. As you can see, our project here on this node is still young, but promising. From your words and your user page I can see that your main interest is to foster girls in learning sciences. Great! This is exactly what I've dreamed about to have here with us. You know, this topic is hot in Germany too. Because there is a lack of qualified workers for the industry, ans Germany has to import men/women-power from other countries. Therefore politicians try to mobilize the women, as it is well known that women are fare less represented among scientists than men.
May I ask why y o u want to include the girls more in sciences?
For me its important to have the girls with in Physics as they should get the same educational background like the boys (equality of chances) and the same mental training.
But how to realize this? I'm not so much concerned about the masculine physicist climbing up the telephone post. (This may be for women even an attractive archetype of strength and athleticism. And it is men that received the Nobel price for physics this year, there is no way round.) But could we maybe think of a positive list of reasons, that make physics/sciences attractive for girls? Because they can use them for their purposes, because they have to do something with their everyday life? What about girls and sports/physics of sports? What about physics/chemistry in cooking? What about practical things like reading and understanding the electricity bill? And don't your girls use mobile cell phones? Lots of physics behind! Let us collect such topics and especially see what our female students propose. They know best what is interesting for them. (I'll right away give an opinion poll to all of my three classes I have this school year.)--White Eagle 08:37, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
BTW, our project has a startup funding for contributors. Please contact Vincent for details.

Thanks for the comments. I agree,to all your points of view too. I want to see more girls in the science professions in general, Medicine,Engineering,computing and so on... and I know physics is very key here and the hindrance of the majority of them. Mobile phones are a great inspiration here and a wonderful topic too. The joke here is that girls would rather go hungry but have airtime(credit) on their phones. One buys a very expensive phone that they use less than 10% of the functions on it!! Saving energy is another one. You know women stay most of the time at home and hence play a great role in lowering costs for the family only if they knew how. All these when explicitly brought out in class would make a big difference. But the way,we teach detaches theory from application..wikiflora

Hi Florence, I've put "physics of mobile phones" on our list of hot topics. Could you find out how many percent of them would be ready to follow a lets say 5 hours course "physics of mobile phones" in order to learn how mobile phones work?--White Eagle 10:36, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
Here is a link to related activities for girls in Germany. It is half in English, half in German.--White Eagle 13:25, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

In my class of 67 boys and girls. 51 students (75%)said they want the course on mobile phones! Surprisingly the girls are more (33)! I am also still studying the link...many actually said they want to learn how to repair them.--WikiFlora 17:38, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

Thanks, Florence, for this very useful information. This is exactly the way I like us to work: in close contact with the needs of our students. The 75% I regard as "green light" from their side to work on such a course. That more girls than boys are interested in the course is exiting: It means that its true, this is a topic that awakens female interest. And then: "many actually said they want to learn how to repair them". There is a material need behind some of the motivations. Maybe many can not afford new cell phones when old ones are broken, and would like to get them repaired. Wow, we could co-operate with someone who is into this business and ask him what the typical defects are with cell phones. Ex: old accumulator. This leads into the subject of voltage, current, charge and how to practically measure these parameters. --White Eagle 07:59, 17 October 2008 (UTC)
One more topic in here: Health. I'm concerned about the lack of awareness young people have towards the dangers of electromagnetic radiation so close to their brains. Here in Germany there are big organizations of objectors to mobile radio. They say that many illnesses are due to it. in my opinion people are more or less sensitive to it and some easily get a head ache already afters some minutes of mobile calling. --White Eagle 07:59, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

Class Sizes

May I ask you: Is it really true that you have 67! students in your class? And is that typical? I mean we have to have this in mind in order to adjust our pedagogic to these masses! I hope you don't get too envious if I tell you that our grade 11 classes here in my school only have about 26 students :-)--White Eagle 07:59, 17 October 2008 (UTC)
I have 3 classes and that of 67 is the smallest!! the second is 71 and the third is 74. The government recently started a programme, "universal secondary education", a form of free education for all at this level,and I must say it has put a lot of strain on the resources, initially, for example, each of these classes was planned for 30!! That is a real challenge, isn't it? even the idea of hands-on becomes a little wild! --WikiFlora 09:40, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
Uffff, Florence, my ideas of teaching in Ugandan schools are changing ... Yeah, real challenge, for you and for u s ! I think we have to discuss this topic! See good idea nr. 15!--White Eagle 08:30, 21 October 2008 (UTC)