AP (Advanced Placement)

Karen Allendoerfer ravena at cco.caltech.edu
Tue Dec 2 10:16:16 EST 1997


In article <65vmq8$ov9$1 at vixen.cso.uiuc.edu>,
anne c nye <annenye at students.uiuc.edu> wrote:

>level.  Allowing people to choose their own groups is probably a good idea, 
>since students group themselves, avoiding being stuck with nonproductive
>members.
>
Thanks for your response . . . 

Thinking about this part of it, I read Deborah Tannen's _Talking from 9
to 5_ not long ago, and she had several anecdotes about horror stories
that happened when students chose their own groups--these things often
broke down on gender stereotypical lines.  One woman even left a class
in disgust when it turned into all the women (except her and a few others)
sitting in an admiring circle around one of the male students, who
expounded.  And one man, also, perhaps interestingly, found himself in
a position of group "leadership" that he didn't even really want, but he
felt it had been expected of him because he was "the man."  There was
also some discussion of the problems students from other cultures (i.e.
Asian) faced in these informally arranged study groups, just due to their
different expectations and communication styles.  Tannen included some
discussion of the role the professor could play in making sure the
groups were more suited to having everyone of both genders and all
ethnicities play something other than stereotyped roles.

It may be a lot of work for the professor to have to do, but it seems as
if some sensitivity to these issues can benefit students.

Karen A.



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