Do Women Not Like Competitive Environments in the Classroom? Group Competitive Exercises Imply Not So!

By Kevin C. Cannon, Kathryn Cannon and Maureen P. Breen.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

A non-traditional teaching method used to engage students is group competitive exercises, which combine cooperative learning with a competitive environment. Previous research studies on gender differences in college classroom learning indicated that decreasing competitiveness narrows the gender gap in science achievement. However, survey results of college-level organic chemistry and biochemistry students who have participated in group-competitive exercises indicated no instance in which female responses were significantly more negative towards these competitions than male responses. Furthermore, female responses were more positive for questions pertaining to subject interest, competition interest, and competition usefulness for exam preparation. Survey results suggested that instructors can employ group competitive exercises without gender issues noted previously in competitive environments.

Keywords: Instruction Techniques, Group Learning, Competitive Exercises, Gender Differences

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp.119-126. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 361.244KB).

Dr. Kevin C. Cannon

Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, Penn State Abington College, Abington, Pennsylvania, USA

Dr. Cannon is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at Penn State Abington College, where he has taught since 2002. Prior to teaching at Penn State, Dr. Cannon taught (and continues to teach) as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Temple University since 1993. He received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Princeton University, and his BA in Chemistry from Temple University. Dr. Cannon's pedagogical interest focuses on the application of group-competitive classroom exercises and the use of case studies for cross-disciplinary collaborations to teach science students the business of science. In addition to pedagogical research, Dr. Cannon also researches the synthesis of bicyclic heterocycles of biological interest.

Kathryn Cannon

Student, Department of Chemistry, Penn State Abington College, Abington, Pennsylvania, USA

Department of Chemistry, Penn State Abington College, USA

Maureen P. Breen

Assistant Adjunct Professor, Department of Finance, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Assistant Adjunct Professor, Department of Finance, Drexel University, USA