Comment on Men are better at Science than women : a case of gender bias in Academia by Bradley Sutliff

Hearing about that talk and his bullsh*t studies made me red in the phase. It’s just so disgustingly misinformed while purporting to be an expert in the scientific method. I hadn’t realized the promotion part was personal, which is an even larger red flag! Thank you for that infuriating tidbit. Do you know if they ended his talk early when they realized what he was saying? I have been meaning to look into this more and always forget when I have the time.


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Week 8: Inclusive Pedagogy

The podcast “Dismantling Racism in Education” had a section at the start where one of the authors Cornelius goes into the constituent parts of the learning system and provides the example of “if only writing counts as work, the kids that are culturally predisposed to speaking…nets less in that system.” He goes on say that your particular culture and/or racial or ethnic background doesn’t allow for success. This reminded me of an experience I had as an English as a second language speaker back in grade school.

I started in the English Speakers for Other Languages program in the 1st grade and went to the ESOL classes that were scheduled a few times a week. I was stuck in this program until I went to middle school. As a quick learner, I was proficient in English very-quickly, but I felt that I was chained to the program. I excelled at the subjects taught whether it was history, science, math, or even English. I yearned for more to learn and more to do, but was unable to fill that void. This would have been offered by the “Gifted and Talented (GT)” Program at my school, but I was unable to join it. The reason cited for this was that I was still in ESOL and that I could not succeed or do well in it…It took me a long, long time to realize that this had even happened to me.


Shifting gears a little, as a teaching assistant and educator, I loved reading on open-minded, inclusive materials and how to utilize those. I am terrified about trying to incorporate these “difficult conversations” that may arise in my classroom from utilizing such material. Although there are tips provided on establishing guidelines and ground rules, a big fear of mine is that I will say something inappropriate without meaning to, or a heated argument will occur.

Comment on Open Access by Frank FINCH

Your observation about the preponderance of open access journals outside the United States compared to domestically is one that I made as well. For example, the journal I looked into publishes in France, Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, and so on and so on with no mention of the US (unless if I’m remembering incorrectly). I wonder if this has to do with funding; public universities outside of the US do not generally need to get involved with business interests the way US ones do. Perhaps this is the same for international open access journals; the one I found from France had support from at least 3 government agencies. There seems to be a correlation between countries in which public universities are actually public and the number of open access journals.


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Comment on Admissions Privilege: Shocked But Not Surprised by Andrew Barnes

The point that I would like to make here is what this scandal reveals about the quality of higher education. That is, why did the students go undetected? If academically unqualified students that should never have been admitted to supposedly topic-echelon institutions, were able to stay off the radar, what does it say about the schools they are in? For example, if I were admitted into UCLA’s engineering school (I am not an engineer), it would be apparent that I didn’t belong fairly quickly. However, these kids, that didn’t belong, and were bought “affirmative action” passes by their parents were able to remain undetected and presumably graduated. Clearly, the schools need to better in a few different ways. Thanks for the post.

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Let us stay away from prejudgments!

I am a 29-year-old woman from Iran.  As far as I remember, I have witnessed several evidences of “difference seeking” which I want to share with you, as well as my current believes about how to deal with this universal phenomenon, specifically its reflection in educational environments.

Back to Iran, there are barely international communities who live there for long time. While significant number of tourists visit Iranian heritage sites yearly, not many choose to stay as immigrants,  particularly in the past 40 years.  Well, this may bring about a picture of a quite uniform country with quite similar people of the same nation, skin color, culture and history. This is not really the case, though; in facts, driving from north to south and east to west, one meet totally different individuals. Due to modern urbanism,  many people have been moving to  big cities, such as Tehran the capital city of Iran, where suddenly they find new accents, lifestyles and looks.  And then the “difference seeking” engine starts generating prejudgments:  Turks are this, Kurds are that, Balochs are this, Arabs are that, blah blah blah.

During the past four years of my life in the US, I have experienced another level of living in a multicultural country. The appearance differences are substantially significant,  so that not only all Iranians are grouped in one cluster, but also many times people of our neighboring countries are added to our group, and we make a larger cluster called Middle Easterners! And, again, the same story repeats: Whites are this, Blacks are that, Asians are this, Browns are that, blah blah blah. This time, just the prejudgments are applied to larger groups of people with remarkable visual differences, but the essence of such statements are the same:

  • We have a backpack of features specific to each cluster. Simply, whenever we meet a person who looks like a member of that cluster, without having a enough knowledge about his/her background, we assign those feature to that person.
  • We feel excited to share our backpacks with fellow citizens, and make it updated!
  • After a while, we become even more expert and make small bags in our backpacks, e.g. eastern and western Europeans bags inside the Europeans bag.

Academic environments are of the most diverse places where local/international scholars get together. It is definitely very crucial to train students, faculties and staff of such environments to learn more about (1) the “hidden brain” which implicitly generates the above prejudgments, (2) techniques to terminate/dilute these thoughts, (3) polite yet frank dialogues to deal with discriminating conversations. What if we consider the whole community as one organ whose members endeavor to LEARN, and all speak in one language called SCIENCE? Is not it a more respectful, inclusive and effectual alternative?

GEDI Post 5: Inclusive pedagogy, diversity and implicit bias

Inclusive pedagogy deals with creating a supportive and inclusive classroom that ensures all students have equal access to learning, and both professor and student participate in this environment with mutual respect to differences among groups. Inclusive pedagogy is crucial to student’s learning because social identities of both student and teacher have a direct impact on the learning experience. Also, when students feel they socially belong to the academic community, they increase their probabilities of both academic success and well-being.

Creating an inclusive environment in the classroom, involves thinking about six main aspects of your teaching philosophy: content, pedagogy, assessment climate and power (check out more details about this topic in this link).
  • Content: What material have you chosen? In what ways is your curricular design accessible and relevant to your students? Are there any barriers to inclusion?
  • Pedagogy: How are you promoting student engagement in ways that are meaningful and relevant to students?
  • Assessment: How are you asking students to practice and perform what they’re learning? How can we diversify the ways that students demonstrate their growing proficiencies?
  • Climate: In what ways are you creating an atmosphere for learning that is accessible and meaningful for all?
  • Power: How can you craft a learning environment that empowers students and helps to bring attention to or disrupt traditional power dynamics between teacher and student and among students?
Besides these points, I believe it is crucial that we understand the difference between inclusion and diversity. This is important because: a) with inclusion we can be diverse; b) with diversity we might not be inclusive.

Just pay attention in the following images and you will understand what I am talking about:





By promoting an inclusive environment, we also can promote a diverse environment in our classroom. Diversity is important because it enhances creativity, encourages the consideration of alternatives even before any interpersonal interaction takes places and it leads to better decision making and problem solving. However, by promoting diversity in our environments, we are also subject to the pyramid of hate:

In this sense, it is crucial that we understand how our hidden brain works (see How 'The Hidden Brain' Does The Thinking For Us for more details) , because we are all subject to implicit bias towards some topics that might prevent us to promote a truly inclusive classroom.

But what is implicit bias?

According to the Ohio State University implicit bias, also known as implicit social cognition, refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.

I always thought of myself as being conscious, intentional and deliberate about my actions and behavior. I never thought I was a biased person regarding religion, sex or age. However, when I took an implicit association test, I got shocked! Look at my results:
  • Automatic preference for Judaism over Islam.
  • A moderate automatic association for Male with Career and Female with Family.
  • A slight automatic preference for Young people over Old people.
I am only a MS student going for a Ph.D in the next semester. I do not have classroom experience to share regarding how I have been dealing with inclusion, diversity and implicit bias. After reading more these topics, I can say that I have become much humbler about my views and much less certain about myself.

How about you?
  • Have you taken the implicit association test? Did you get shocked with your results?
  • What have you done to promote inclusiveness in your classroom?
  • How do you deal with implicit bias?