CS 2910: Session 3: Diversity
This page does not represent the most current semester of this course; it is present merely as an archive.
Copyright © 2017
by Luther Tychonievich. All rights reserved.
- Stereotype Threat
- Awareness of a stereotype against you reduces your performance
- Example: old people will do worse on memory tests if I ask their age or put them in a room with young people than if I do not remind them of their age.
- Inhibitive: (almost) only reduces performance
- Universal: known to apply to at least computing, golf, math, memory, math, writing
- Easy to trigger: myth busting, room decorations, music, etc.
- Not based on truth: I can make up a stereotype, teach it to you, and see the effect of stereotype threat.
- Culture is our Enemy
- There is an ambient message telling most demographies that computing is “not for them”
- These can attack
- Belonging - “don’t you feel out of place?”
- Confidence - “you can’t compete with all those Xs…”
- Identity - “we don’t do that”, “traitor”
- Some students have counter-cultural leanings
- See cultural repression as a challenge to be conquered
- Mostly safe from diversity-repressing forces, but also not best role models for others…
- Growth Mindset
- Nature vs Nurture?
Fixed vs Growth mindset
- Sees nature predominant
- Wording like “gifted”, “you are good at”, “smart”
- Tend to avoid challenges as potential evidence of lack of skill
- Strongly influenced by opinions of others
- Sees nurture predominant
- Wording like “experienced”, “worked hard”, “diligent”
- Tend to embrace challenges as avenues for betterment
- Weakly influenced by opinions of others
- Evidence about nature vs nurture is mixed and inconclusive
- Evidence about mindset of students and teachers clear
- Growth mindset reduces impact of stereotype threat
- Growth mindset increases learning and performance
- True of both students and teachers
- My pitch:
- A personal trainer is hired to help every trainee bulk up, not to find the biggest people
- You are cognitive personal trainers
- Unequal prior experience playing field
- Different cultures, genders, socio-economic backgrounds engage in different childhood activities
- Some build more useful prior knowledge than others
- Example: spatial reasoning
- boys tend to play with more building toys than girls
- building toys enhance ability to hold spatial information in the mind
- large portions of CS are described using spatial analogy (call stack, binary tree, variable-as-box, program flow, …)
- … giving average boy a leg up
- solution: use manipulatives (e.g., physical stacks of paper to be the call stack, not just verbal “is on top of” that relies on student’s ability to hold a stack in their head).
- Do not mistake experience for aptitude
Last updated 2017-01-27 15:25 -0500