Girls' & boys' science choices & learning in upper-secondary schools in Taiwan

Hsiao Chin Hsieh, Pei Ying Chen, Ta Sen Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study explores differences in how high school girls and boys in upper-secondary schools in Taiwan choose courses and learn science. The Actor-Network Theory (ANT) is adopted as the analytical approach. Two upper-secondary schools, LL Senior High School and MM Vocational High School, were selected due to their emphasis on science and technology education. Student surveys were conducted to investigate how students chose between courses and majors; two chemistry lab classes, one led by a male teacher and the other by a female teacher, in LL Senior High School, and one chemical-engineering lab class of MM Vocational High School were observed multiple times. Lab class teachers from both schools were interviewed. The survey data showed clear gender segregation in both schools, but only part of the students considered gender to be an important factor influencing their selection of courses and major fields. Observations of the relatively gender-balanced chemistry laboratories revealed that equipment and instrumentation were sufficient and equally accessible to all, that girls and boys behaved differently in the lab, and that patterns of teacher-student interaction varied by teacher's gender, which might result in differences in laboratory learning between boys and girls. The concept of embodied pedagogical insight of female teachers, which may specifically benefit girls' learning, is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-64
Number of pages24
JournalAsian Women
Volume33
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Sep 1

Keywords

  • Gender
  • Laboratory learning
  • Science choice
  • Upper-secondary school

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science

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