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Hierarchy and Classroom Interaction Interactions between people have always been an interesting and insightful area of study By studying the interactions between people we can help to improve these interactions by creating solutions that improve communication allow for equal participation and resolve conflicts In her article How Male and Female Students Use Language Differently Tannen briefly explains how childhood habits create and reinforce different language patterns in males and females Many differences between male and female language habits were mentioned but the one thing that was not stressed enough was the importance of hierarchy in determining the participation gap found in classrooms Tannen states that males and females learn to use language differently in their sex-separated peer groups This is simple and intuitive enough to understand Different groups have different approaches to communication and hence the members of each group will have different language skills Females tend to work in small groups of close friends Males on the other hand engage in large competitive and often hierarchical groups Each male in the group works to increase his rank within the group by beating the other males in a variety of skills Speaking is only one of the many skills involved Tannen then goes on to explain how males ritualize fighting and how females dont fight for fun and thus dont participate in class This may be true but one thing is missing in the logic Although females dont fight for fun they will still fight when they have to and classroom fighting is often not just for fun but for participation points Thus females are not participating simply because they dont like to fight but because many feel that they will lose if they fight Engaging in fights that one can win is a survival instinct It is found not only in humans but in other species as well For example elephants rhinos wolves
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