Attitudes to group work: Gendered differences?

Harriet Hartman, Moshe Hartman

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

Abstract

Teamwork has been proposed as a "female-friendly" pedagogy because it emphasizes cooperation and equality over competition and hierarchy. However, sometimes teamwork serves to reinforce a gendered hierarchy, depending on the actual experience of the teamwork for each gender. Since the new guidelines for engineering curricula emphasize teambuilding skills, the effects of this emphasis on the experiences of male and female engineering students is important to assess. Much of the expectation about teamwork pedagogy and gender is theoretical rather than empirical. This paper contributes to a more empirical assessment of the relationship. It analyzes the predispositions to group work with which male and female engineering students enter Rowan University and how these attitudes to group work change after their first year in the program. During that year they have all been required to take a core curriculum course, Engineering Clinic. Clinic is required each semester for all engineering students and involves interdisciplinary cooperation around a series of projects often with real-world outcomes. Teambuilding skills are taught and evaluated as part of the curriculum. The research reported in this paper studied the students' affective responses to the teamwork, their preference for group over individual learning, the effect of gender composition of their clinic teams on women's attitudes to group work, and the relationship between their attitudes toward group work and their evaluation of other aspects of the engineering program and their intentions to persist in engineering in the future. Data were collected as part of an ongoing survey initiated as a National Science Foundation funded project and continued under the sponsorship of the College of Engineering and the Department of Sociology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006
Event113th Annual ASEE Conference and Exposition, 2006 - Chicago, IL, United States
Duration: Jun 18 2006Jun 21 2006

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)

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