January 29, 2013
(This article first appeared in the Graduate Teacher Program Handbook. Copyright © 1988 by the Board of Regents, University of Colorado.)
Kay Cook, Graduate Teacher Program
Instructors can create a nonsexist classroom attitude by their own proactive behavior and by leading through example. They can readily set the tone for the class on the first day by including in their statements about course policy and expectations that sexism will not be tolerated, and that human dignity and respect lie at the heart of the issue. Students are often put off and intimidated by negative examples, which can leave them hesitant about making any remark in the classroom. Instructors can rather stress positive behaviors such as their own use of inclusive language rather than the exclusive "he" or "man."
Instructors also need to monitor their own classroom techniques, so that they become aware of how some ingrained patterns may be discriminatory toward members of both sexes.
Having a friend, colleague, or teaching assistant observe some of your classes on a random basis can be helpful. Classroom observation can be used to answer the following questions.
A student could tape record some of your class sessions. Self-analysis of the tapes could provide answers to the following questions.
Information on the university's sexual harassment and discrimination policies can be found at the Office of Discrimination and Harassment's website.