Stereotype Threat

971 WordsJul 11, 20184 Pages
How have my own experiences conforming to stereotypes equipped me to deal with stereotype threats that may be present in my sessions with students as a Speaking Fellow? My past is inundated with the roles I have adopted. As the single female in a combat unit in the military this stereotype manifested as I forfeited my femininity to become one of the boys. I had no desire to be seen as a woman who needed to be coddled (as the men I served with presumed) so I assumed the role of tomboy, eating as they, sporting baggy, unfitted pants to cover my womanly curves, and sacrificing my use of silverware in my efforts to be “just one of the guys.” As I matriculated to Barnard, my identity changed again. Barnard’s slogan is “bold, beautiful,…show more content…
The anxiety that manifests in increased heart rate, nervous ticks, or lack of focus is typical for those who are suffer from stereotype threat. Talking about the anxiety they feel, and explaining why the distraction is occurring is a helpful strategy in regulating and removing the angst. As a Speaking Fellow, the feedback that one provides to their student can significantly affect the student’s motivation and domain identification. Constructive feedback appears most effective when it communicates high standards for performance while assuring the student that they are able to meet those standards. As mentors we can play active roles in eradicating stereotype threat by appreciating the diversity of our students, and embracing their contrasting identities. As my identity continually changes so too does my individuality as a speaker. As a soldier my once loud, argumentative, and confident identity diminished as I did not want to stand out. As a teenager I had been an overwhelming presence that sucked all the energy out of a room. But this new me wanted none of that. And then there is the young woman that I have become, the bold Barnard woman, who voices her opinions, and embraces her femininity. Such a drastic change from the soldier I once was could only be a result of my desire to adapt to my new environment. Today I have detached my fixation for what society expects from me. I don’t conform to a
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