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To this day, few girls in secondary and higher education opt for technology courses, which is reflected in the labour market. In order not to lose this potential, education must focus on gender sensitive teaching, more specifically when it comes to technological activities.
It requires certain insights, skills, and sensitivity to effectively empower girls in science and technology. Previous research is often widespread and not translated into concrete practice. For this design study, we brought together previous research and developed the Gender Sensitive Education Checklist (GSEC) in such a way that it evokes a sense of urgency for teachers and empowers teachers and edutainers in this quest. In an additional workshop we presented the checklist and its four main pillars regarding gender sensitivity in education, namely attitudes, representation, interaction, and pedagogical methods.
Teachers can use the developed checklist both as a practical tool, or as a reflection tool when designing and organising their activities. They scale their own skills, talents, and challenges on a continuum from strong to less strong in response to the relevant questions, relating to the four main pillars. Teachers can also, by using the checklist, be “just-in-time” reminded to make small adjustments to their lessons or workshops and by this means support girls more adequately in their STEM career.
Through multiple feedback-loops, qualitative questionnaires, and focus groups, we have learned that both (student-)teachers and edutainers consider the checklist to be a meaningful support. Teachers recognise a gender sensitive approach in STEM as very important, but also admit that they missed opportunities in the past because they did not know how to tackle these challenges and were not always conscious about the existing stereotypes and bias concerning gender. They indicate that after the workshop, they are motivated to teach in a more gender sensitive way, by focusing on some of the offered practical tools and tips.
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