Gender in STEM Education: an Exploratory Study of Student Perceptions of Math and Science Instructors in the United Arab Emirates
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© 2015, Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan. The current study addresses student perceptions of math and science professors in the Middle East. Gender disparity in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education continues to exist in higher education, with male professors holding a normative position. This disparity can also be seen in the United Arab Emirates. As female participation in STEM education lags behind men, it is possible that gender stereotypes may influence students’ first impressions of male and female instructors. The United Arab Emirates provides a unique context to study this phenomenon as it is a traditional patriarchal society that is highly dependent on the engineering discipline, especially within the oil and gas sectors. A total of 176 undergraduate students from 2 universities in the United Arab Emirates completed a survey about teaching effectiveness based on their perceptions of photographs of hypothetical male and female instructors. A factor analysis of survey items revealed 2 main subcategories of teacher effectiveness: namely teacher warmth and professionalism. A 2-way between-groups analysis of variance was conducted to explore the impact of teacher gender and student gender on perceptions of overall teaching effectiveness, as well as their perceptions of teacher warmth and professionalism. Findings revealed that there was a significant cross-gender effect on student perceptions of math and science instructors in the United Arab Emirates.
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