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Education Research International
Volume 2011, Article ID 545010, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/545010
Research Article

Mathematics and Gender Stereotypes in One Jewish and One Druze Grade 5 Classroom in Israel

1Graduate Faculty, Oranim Academic College of Education, Kiryat Tiv'on 36006, Israel
2Faculty of Education, University of Haifa, Haifa 31905, Israel
3Faculty of Education, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC 3800, Australia

Received 5 September 2010; Accepted 2 March 2011

Academic Editor: Lieven Verschaffel

Copyright © 2011 David Mittelberg et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

We report findings from qualitative case studies of two grade 5 classrooms in Israel, one Jewish and one Druze. The aim was to identify classroom factors contributing to the differences in the gendered patterns of mathematics outcomes for Jewish and Arab Israeli students. Marked differences were found in the teachers' gender-related interactions with students, and their beliefs and expectations of boys' and girls' mathematical capabilities. The Jewish teacher held conventional gender-stereotyped beliefs of male mathematical superiority. The Druze teacher believed that girls required affirmative action to overcome implied gender biases in favour of males in the Druze community. The findings support earlier research and theoretical perspectives on gender-related issues in the mathematics classroom. In particular, when teachers hold gender-biased beliefs and expectations, students' classroom experiences and mathematics learning outcomes are impacted along gender lines.