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VoiceOfRa 26 June 2015 08:08 PM
63%


A teacher who believes that blacks/women/whatever other group are bad at physics (or whatever other subject) is not suitable for his or her job.


Does it matter if blacks/women/whatever other group really are bad at physics?


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Alice 27 June 2015 07:17 AM
63%

No, it doesn't matter. Each student should be viewed, evaluated, and encouraged as an individual, regardless what group the student belongs to. The fact that the group this student belongs to may on average perform worse than other groups should not put the student at a disadvantage. The teacher's beliefs can directly affect the student's growth and achievement. In fact such prejudices are often part of the reason why one group performs much worse than others in some subjects.

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VoiceOfRa 27 June 2015 01:04 PM
55%


No, it doesn't matter.


So basically what you're saying is that you want teachers who are bad at reasoning and/or deluded.


In fact such prejudices are often part of the reason why one group performs much worse than others in some subjects.


I'm highly dubious about the studies that purport to show this. In part because their prescribed interventions never work. In part because they're intent is pretty clearly to find some reason for the differences in outcome that doesn't make the blacks/women look bad.


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Alice 27 June 2015 04:07 PM
63%

All I'm saying is that regardless of what are the current average achievements of various minorities, every person should be viewed, valued and assessed as an individual, regardless of what group that person belongs to. Even if we assume that only a small percentage of girls can be successful in physics, these few girls should be given the opportunity to succeed and not be discouraged.

If you think that prejudice played no role in success of various groups, this is just delusional. The fact that women were not even allowed to hold professor's position during Marie Curie time did not affect the percentage of successful women in physics? The fact that women were not admitted as students to many top colleges in the US as late as 1960's did not play any role in this? Of course the result of this discrimination was much fewer successful female scientists than there should have been. This in turn feeds the belief that women cannot succeed in hard sciences, which in turn leads to discrimination and discouraging women in pursuing scientific careers, and so it goes.

Should black males be discouraged from studying physics because most famous physicists are white? Should white males be discouraged from participating in some sports because these sports are currently being dominated by black athletes? Should the Williams sisters have been discouraged from playing tennis because before them there were no famous black tennis players? Where does this attitude take us?

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VoiceOfRa 27 June 2015 11:34 PM
57%


All I'm saying is that regardless of what are the current average achievements of various minorities, every person should be viewed, valued and assessed as an individual, regardless of what group that person belongs to.


So does that imply teachers must have false beliefs about how good a typical black/woman is at say physics? Because that's what you were saying up thread.


The fact that women were not admitted as students to many top colleges in the US as late as 1960's did not play any role in this?


Women weren't permitted to attend men's universities, but men weren't permitted to attend women's universities.


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Alice 28 June 2015 06:56 AM
63%

So does that imply teachers must have false beliefs about how good a typical black/woman is at say physics? Because that's what you were saying up thread.


Following your logic, teachers with such beliefs are much more likely to discriminate against their black/female students, and so we shouldn't bother with them. More seriously, I agree that teachers' beliefs do not perfectly predict whether they will discriminate against some of their students based on their race or gender. However, when teachers also speak out on these beliefs, then they are already discriminating; being a natural figure of authority and role model for their student, this directly discourages some of them and instills in them the belief that they can't succeed.

Women weren't permitted to attend men's universities, but men weren't permitted to attend women's universities.


Is this some sort of a joke? Did you check what these women's colleges were teaching? Were they training women in physics so they become future scientists? Such an option practically did not exist for women, not so long ago.

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VoiceOfRa 28 June 2015 11:11 AM
57%


Following your logic, teachers with such beliefs are much more likely to discriminate against their black/female students, and so we shouldn't bother with them.


On the other had, teachers with false beliefs, especially false beliefs about things they have a chance to observe everyday, are likely to be stupid and/or bad at observation, hence bad scientists and bad at teaching science in as anything other than memorization of passwords.


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Alice 27 June 2015 07:42 AM
63%

I want to give you an example. When I was a kid, we studied "house work" at school. Girls studied cooking, sewing, knitting, and boys studied carpentry, some electronics and so on. But for one quarter every year we switched: girls got the male teacher who was supposed to teach them some elementary electronics and such (how to switch a lightbulb is one example), while boys studied cooking and such. The male teacher told us on the first day that he can't teach us those things, because girls are physically different from boys - he actually said that our hands are attached to the body physically differently, which means we can't learn to do these things. He then would just read aloud some stuff and make us copy it - that was the education we got from him. Of course we learned nothing, and of course this lead most girls to believe that they are physically unable to do these things. With many such teachers around, one may assume that it would remain the fact on the ground that the new generation of girls is mostly not good in doing these things. Which in turn leads the teachers to believe that they were right all along, and so it goes.

So the question is whether your beliefs on innate abilities of groups translate into how you view and treat specific people. From my experience, it practically always does translate into treating the individuals differently, which is why a teacher believing that blacks/women/whatever are bad at physics is a huge red flag for me. I am sure I'd be very worried if these were the views of my teacher.

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