KTM User Pages
24 Jan 2006 - 15:21
Ann Althouse has a terrific thread on the subject of boys & girls in school. Here's one Commenter's take on how classrooms have changed:
"[E]very decade the industrial classroom becomes more and more protective of the female learning style and harsher on the male. He goes on to cite evidence of better achievement by girls, which is fine, but I'm curious how the classroom has actually changed. I wish I could point to data, but all I can do is compare the classroom environment now that my kids are experiencing with my own experiences 25-30 years ago. I would list the following:
Brilliant. Although....I'm not sure colleges are placing greater emphasis on GPA (isn't it the reverse?) And it's not clear that homework has increased; Loveless says it hasn't. Although I wouldn't be surprised to find homework has increased over what it was 30 years ago. I don't remember doing any homework ever in junior high.
of course, boys are nuts I love this comment:
Newsflash! Boys ain't girls and no amount of socialization will change that. Give a boy a Barbie doll and he'll turn it into a gun. Actually happened when my little guy was playing with some neighborhood girls. Said gun-crazed maniac is now a pillar of the community and a father of four.via joannejacobs
Cathy Young on boys & girls
In a 1990 survey commissioned by the AAUW, children were asked whom teachers considered smarter and liked better; the vast majority of boys and girls alike said "girls." Journalist Kathleen Parker recalls that her son, now a teenager, had a grade school teacher who openly said she liked girls more and singled out boys for verbal abuse-such as telling a student who had his feet up on the desk, "Put your feet down; I don't want to look at your genitalia."I'm pretty sure the AAUW suppressed this finding at the time — wasn't this the poll on which they based their big 'Girls At Risk' report? I think so. Haven't fact-checked. (oops — wrong: A few years later, it effectively hushed up a study it had commissioned-The Influence of School Climate on Gender Differences in the Achievement and Engagement of Young Adolescents, by University of Michigan psychologist Valerie Lee and her associates-when the findings failed to support the shortchanged-girls premise.)
I like this passage:
Traditional schoolmarmish distaste for unruly young males may be amplified by modern gender politics. Some educators clearly see boys as budding sexists and predators in need of re-education. Some classrooms become forums for diatribes about the sins of white males, and some boys may be hit with absurd charges of misconduct-such as Jonathan Prevette, the Lexington, North Carolina, first-grader punished with a one-day suspension in 1996 for kissing a girl on the cheek.
This is the problem (well, maybe it's the problem). In any case, this is the problem for me. I'm not a schoolmarm, and I like boys. Nevertheless, boys in the classroom are tough to deal with. Boys in the FAMILY are tough to deal with. I'm ready to fire my own son. Also my husband. (Another Core Meltdown over tests/study habits/homework last night. This is getting old.) Female teachers being impatient with boy students would be fine (probably) if it didn't happen in a context of male original sin.
"If you listen to 10- or 11-year-old boys, you will hear that school is not a very happy place for them," says Bret Burkholder, a counselor at Pierce College in Puyallup, Washington, who also works with younger boys as a baseball coach. "It's a place where they're consistently made to feel stupid, where girls can walk around in T-shirts that say 'Girls rule, boys drool,' but if a boy makes a negative comment about girls he'll have the book thrown at him." Even apart from feminism, some "progressive" trends in education may have been detrimental to boys. For example, British researchers have found that "whole language" reading instruction, based on word recognition by shapes, pictures, and contextual clues rather than knowledge of letters, is particularly ineffective with male students. Early "school turnoff" may cause many boys to develop an anti-learning mindset the British have labeled "laddism" — a mirror image of the prefeminist notion that it isn't cool for a girl to be too bright. "The boys become oppositional and band together in the belief that manly culture doesn't include grade grubbing," observes University of Alaska psychologist Judith Kleinfeld. For black boys, this attitude may be exacerbated by the notion that learning is a "white thing."
This is what concerns me. (eek! That makes me a concernocrat)! There's only so much guff a child will take. Two summers ago, when I started reteaching Christopher math, he'd developed a major case of laddism when it came to math. Math is for geeks. Math is for nerds. I'm not Asian. etc. Once he started succeeding in math again, thanks to Saxon, all of that talk went away & I was hearing 'I like math.' That's what I want to hear. I want to hear, 'I like math.' Also: 'I like school.' I don't think anyone knows what's actually going on, but I do think it's safe to say that public schools aren't causing boys to feel more school-friendly.
USA Today report on 135:100 boys:girls ratio in college
sexism in Everyday Math
boy trouble (New Republic on boys)
slacker boys, middle school, & forbidden positive images of boys in textbooks
throw rocks at them
please remain seated at all times
Ann Althouse thread sums up classroom change
cooperative vs. competitive learning
the girl show (8th grade graduation awards)
the boy show (character ed)
the other boy show
Where the Boys Aren't
letter from Robert Lerner, former commissioner NCES
Tom Mortenson's research
The Boys Project board
for every 100 girls —
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Did you see the Newsweek feature this week--The Lost Boys? -- KarenA - 24 Jan 2006
Did you see the Newsweek feature this week--The Lost Boys? oh! I wonder if that's what I'm looking at now. But it's on SALON..... THE LOST BOYS -- CatherineJohnson - 24 Jan 2006
Althouse has a dad with some fabulous posts on his kids floundering in constructivist math.... I'll get those up at some point. -- CatherineJohnson - 24 Jan 2006
The Newsweek feature is The Trouble With Boys, and it sounds exactly like what's discussed at KTM. -- GoogleMaster - 24 Jan 2006
oh my gosh, this is WILDLY off-topic.....check out Robert Paterson blog & follow the link his chum Hugh advises.... hilarious -- CatherineJohnson - 24 Jan 2006
"[E]very decade the industrial classroom becomes more and more protective of the female learning style and harsher on the male." "... industrial classroom ..." You have to watch out for this term. This could mean more hands-on group, fuzzy, discovery learning for those "active" boys. You have to watch out for those who will manipulate this poorly-defined issue to their own ends. From the article: "He finishes his homework and then can't find it in his backpack. He loses focus in class, and his teachers, with 40 kids to wrangle, aren't much help. "If I miss a concept, they tell me, 'Figure it out yourself'," says Danny. Last year Danny's grades dropped from B's to D's and F's." Can't find his homework in his backpack? Grades drop from B's to D's in one year? He is 16 and is probably a Sophomore or Junior. This isn't his first year in high school. The change could be caused by a number of things. Actually, I think this is the more important and telling statistic. "In elementary school, boys are two times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with learning disabilities and twice as likely to be placed in special-education classes." -- SteveH - 24 Jan 2006
EVERYTHING always, INEVITABLY, leads to more fuzzy education. all roads lead to Rome. -- CatherineJohnson - 24 Jan 2006
Can't find his homework in his backpack? Grades drop from B's to D's in one year? He is 16 and is probably a Sophomore or Junior. This isn't his first year in high school. The change could be caused by a number of things. what I worry about (concernocrat alert!) is your basic Downward Spiral..... Once a kid gets off track, they keep on getting off track. Losing things in your backpack, to me, certainly could be a 'symptom' of a kid who's done. A kid who's on strike -- CatherineJohnson - 24 Jan 2006
My sense is it's pretty easy for kids to go on strike remember, the KIPP people say that 5th grade is the last chance you have to 'get them while they're young' after that the peer group takes over if you've got a whole entire peer group of demoralized & ticked-off boys..... it can't be good -- CatherineJohnson - 24 Jan 2006
He finishes his homework and then can't find it in his backpack. He loses focus in class, and his teachers, with 40 kids to wrangle, aren't much help. actually, come to think of it, I lose stuff in my purse and backpack all the time and I'm an adult -- CatherineJohnson - 24 Jan 2006
or so they tell me -- CatherineJohnson - 24 Jan 2006
I was convinced by the section entitled, I think, "lessons from the black hole" in The Organized Student. Students in middle and high school face a real organizational challenge, every day, what with having to keep track of their stuff, and pack and unpack materials for classes any number of times a day. It's an organizational challenge that I personally lost every day. In fact, I still lose it; you should see my purse. -- CarolynJohnston - 25 Jan 2006
And I agree with Catherine that a demoralized kid is likely to just give up the fight and go on strike. -- CarolynJohnston - 25 Jan 2006
I'm not so sure that I agree with the argument about how classrooms have changed. I started elementary school in 1965. There were 44 kids in Sr. Irma's first grade. There was no talking and you sat in your seat unless you had a reason to get up. Bathroom breaks were scheduled and you went as a class. All the teachers were female. Now, at least they recognize that kids need to get up and walk around and they can't necessarily sit still in the early grades. I think that helps all kids. I absolutely agree that the curriculum is everything. If you have an excellent curriculum, then any teacher can give the kids a good education in all subjects. -- AnneDwyer - 25 Jan 2006
I learned under pretty much the same conditions and the boys seemed to manage ok, Fifteen minutes of recess and our lunch break were enough activity for us to make it through the day. We even had a female teacher in the seventh grade that hit the boys on a regular basis and clearly liked us less than she did the girls. We really didn't care. I agree with Anne -- most of the problems we're seeing today are curricular. The laddism is a result of students, in this case mostly boys, falling behind and giving up. -- KDeRosa - 25 Jan 2006
I grew up in the same time and I do remember more up and down than you guys do. We were at the board or up and down for spelling B's (none of that now). We definitely had a couple of recesses. There were milk breaks, reading groups and chanting of phonics and whatever. Probably all of that scheduled up and down made sitting still a lot easier. The feeling of getting things down better than your neighbor was always present and made it less boring and more fun (a no-no now.) Remember raising your hand with lightning speed and being rewarded by actually being called on to answer the question. We must be fair now, put your hand down. So much of the seemingly silly things children are good at seem to have been removed for fear of potential hurt feelings. -- SusanS - 25 Jan 2006