Gender Stereotypes In Whistling Vivaldi?

1992 Words 8 Pages
Dwight D. Eisenhower once stated that, “Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.” Although, what if there was something that prevented motivated people to do what they want to do? One may think that negative performance in school is due to slacking off or a persons lack of motivation and determination to succeed. But it can actually be a lot more complicated than simply motivation and determination. Comfortability is a key reason as to why some students don 't succeed in school. Throughout “Whistling Vivaldi,” Claude M. Steele proposes various reasons as to why stereotypes of a person’s identity can lead to drastic negative effects on a students functioning in school. Not only does Steele …show more content…
Both of these examples were tests done on women students. The first one was an experiment that was done on both men and women at University of Michigan. Men and women were split into two groups to take standardized math tests. One group was told that they “may have heard that women don’t do as well as men on difficult standardized math tests, but thats not true for this particular standardized math test… women always do better than men” (Steele 38). This group of women was seen to have better scores on the math test, because they believed this test couldn’t measure anything about being a woman. The second group was given the standardized test and told that “the test did show gender differences, where women could still feel the stigma confirmation” (40). The experiment showed that women who knew there were gender differences performed worse than equally skilled men, but women who were told that there was no gender difference performed at the same level as equally skilled men. This example of a stereotype threat for women shows that if women don’t feel their stereotype is being judged, then they will perform better. This is important for teachers to know, so that they can present their tests in a way that doesn 't make minorities (women in this case) feel as if they are being tested based on their stereotype. The second gender stereotype example that stood out to me was an experiment done …show more content…
I did a cultural diversity project in a business class with an assigned group, and I realized that the international student from China who was in my group didn’t participate in the written report of the project. After talking to him and asking why he didn 't participate, he told me that his english wasn 't as good as ours so it’s going to take him longer to do it. I could tell that he felt uncomfortable writing in a shared google document, where his grammar might be judged by other members of the group. After helping him write his portion of the report, he felt a lot more confident about the project than he did before. This relates to Steele’s idea of stressful environments (due to stereotypes) affecting success. He states that, “… Because the stakes involved are high--survival and success versus failure in an area that is important to you--this multitasking is stressful and distracting...The focus here is on what has to be gotten out of the way to make these playing fields mere level. People experiencing stereotype threat are already trying hard. They 're identified with their performance. They have motivation. It 's the extra ghost slaying that is in their way” (111). This teaches people to be more conscious about how people who experience stereotype threat might feel, and to take into account how hard they are trying to prove their stereotype

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