Deborah Tannen in her essay “How male and female students use language differently” explained the difference in the way men and women converse in class. She is somewhat of an authority figure in the area of language and in fact has written a number of books about the topic. In this essay she tries to convince her readers that males and females communicate in different ways inside the classroom by describing a little experiment that she had conducted in her own class. I think the author is effective in convincing the readers that men and women do talk differently.
She was able to vividly describe how males usually respond more to debates and attacks and verbal challenges while women tend to be more responsive to open ended questions that are unchallenged and respected. However, I also feel that her essay was not that effective because people who are not acquainted with the study of language and communication patterns may not understand the little experiment she did. Also, the fact that she did an experiment without informing her students was definitely unethical.
It can be argued that the experiment did not pose any threat to the students but she still did not follow ethical guidelines in the conduct of research with human participants. Moreover, the results of her experiment did not entirely support her claims because she found that race and culture did affected the way her students wanted to perceive their communication patterns. On the second page, discuss which contexts where your experiences similar to or different from Tannen`s. explain what might account for the different observations.
Tannen was probably right when she said that males and females speak differently in class but I find that there are instances wherein what she said may not be true at all times. She said that males usually have the propensity for debate and to use powerful and controlling language patterns. As I have observed, men like to debate and use insult and sometimes be cruel with their words, but there are also those who choose to talk clearly and politely, but still gets to articulate their point of view, at the same time, women are also capable of engaging in debate and be quite brazen at times.
In the same way, women she says shudder from being put on the spot because it is humiliating and terrifying, but there are women who likes to be the center of attention and can effectively command that attention by the way she speaks. I would say that my observations where different from Tannen because I am a student and not a teacher. As a teacher, Tannen is limited by her role to fully observe the communication patterns of her students.
She just sees students responding to her questions and lectures, and to some degree students responses may also be limited by her personal communication style. Being a student, I can observe my classmates talk and converse more freely as opposed to just being in the classroom. Moreover, when we speak of things other than lessons it’s an equal arena, when it comes to class, students who are prepared and who are interested in the subject will generally be more participative regardless of their gender or how the questions are framed.