Re: teaching young women in ways that suit them
Hi Helen, all
as it happens I've been pondering a similar matter during the last days.
I've been invited to give a talk on free software and computer science
in general at a girl's school. They have the problem, that their
Computer Science classes are very unpopular and apparently on the verge
of being canceled.
Now, one of the usual reasons that is given for the girls'
"disinterest" in technical subjects is, that they feel discouraged by
the attending boys. In Germany we have recurring discussions about
teaching technical and science subjects in separated classes. (An idea
that I, personally, don't like.) Now here we do have an environment that
is really girls only and still they do not have any (or much) interest
in CS. This only leaves the (I assume male) teachers as a reason.
Now, the school's CS representative, who invited me, hopes, that I can
motivate the girls to (re)take an interest in CS. So I now wonder, too,
how to talk to young girls/women in order to motivate or inspire them.
I've given quite a lot of talks, that have usually been well received,
but they have almost all been to an almost exclusively male audience of
about my age or older than me. So I now ponder how to adapt my style of
talking to this new situation. Thus, I am also very interested in what
experiences you people have with teaching/motivating girls/young women
and what you think should (not) be done in order to achieve this goal.