The best of the web on education from kindergarten to postsecondary, as chosen by Globe and Mail education editor Simona Chiose.
Female teachers affect girls' math scores
An interesting discussion paper suggests that for female students in primary school, the gender of a teacher may matter when it comes to learning math. Women math teachers with a strong background in the subject led to approximately a 3 per cent increase in math scores for girls. Female teachers without such a background are associated with lower test scores for girls, but not for boys. There are no differences for either gender in reading scores. Researchers hypothesize that the results are due to female teachers being anxious about math themselves and as a result, having lower expectations for the female students in their class.
Professor fed up with skipping students
A professor of medieval studies in Britain had to apologize to his students after he criticized them for missing class. Professor Guy Halsall was so frustrated by the empty seats at a second-year lecture that he posted a note to his absentee students reminding them their families were paying "obscene amounts of money" and wondering why they were not coming to listen to probably "the most significant medieval historian." He later said his remarks had been "unprofessional and offensive," but they must have warmed the hearts of any teacher who's looked out at a half-empty classroom wondering why students pay to sleep in, or shop at H &M, or work, or whatever it is that they are doing when they are not in class.
Professor shocked by ignorant students
A professor at Memorial University is shocked by the lack of geographical information demonstrated by her students. It's not that they can't find Belarus, they apparently can't find the Atlantic Ocean. The report here also includes links to two geography tests (to keep any premature arrogance in check).