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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

An interesting pedagogical observation

I have an an opportunity for an interesting pedagogical experiment this semester. My 15-person Fed Courts class has 4 men and 11 women, an unusual imbalance even for a school like FIU that has more women than men. I am curious to see whether men nevertheless dominate the conversation. The four men seemed quicker to volunteer during the first class. It will be interesting to see how it plays out over the semester. I also must be conscious of waiting for hands to go up and ensuring some balance between raw numbers and hesitancy. There are panels in the class, so that will mix things up somewhat. Still, it will be interesting to watch a strange balance play out.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 14, 2018 at 10:40 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink


Has it ever entered into your mind that your students might actually read posts like this. (Same general observations regarding other law professor posts regarding specific classes, etc.).

Posted by: Joe | Aug 19, 2018 10:19:35 PM

I have regularly had the opposite -- one or two women in a class otherwise dominated by men. I tend to call on students, though, and I try to engage everyone during each class session. I am not sure what would happen if I did not, but perhaps the fact that I am a woman would change the dynamic for the lone woman/women. In (other) discussion classes I have found that certain personality types (rather than genders) are inclined to dominate the conversation. Last semester, I had a man and woman who were equally inclined to dominate, and fortunately they disagreed on almost everything.

Posted by: Anon | Aug 16, 2018 3:58:26 PM

Your post might've skewed the experiment.

Posted by: Ed | Aug 15, 2018 2:39:59 PM

I had a similar mix in an upper-division elective last Spring (12-2), and the women dominated the class consistent with their numbers (or perhaps even more - the men seemed to sit back and not contribute). It was an enjoyable class.

Posted by: Anon | Aug 14, 2018 11:02:56 AM

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