What Schools Can Do to Help Boys Succeed

If boys are restive and unfocused, we must look for ways to help them do better. Here are three suggestions

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Being a boy can be a serious liability in today’s classroom. As a group, boys are noisy, rowdy and hard to manage. Many are messy, disorganized and won’t sit still. Young male rambunctiousness, according to a recent study, leads teachers to underestimate their intellectual and academic abilities. “Girl behavior is the gold standard in schools,” says psychologist Michael Thompson. “Boys are treated like defective girls.”

(MORE: Boys Love Making Rainbow Loom Bracelets, Defying Stereotype and Delighting Moms Everywhere)

These “defective girls” are not faring well academically. Compared with girls, boys earn lower grades, win fewer honors and are less likely to go to college. One education expert has quipped that if current trends continue, the last male will graduate from college in 2068. In today’s knowledge-based economy, success in the classroom has never been more crucial to a young person’s life prospects. Women are adapting; men are not.

Some may say, “Too bad for the boys.” The ability to regulate one’s impulses, sit still and pay attention are building blocks of success in school and in life. As one critic told me, the classroom is no more rigged against boys than workplaces are rigged against lazy or unfocused workers. That is absurd: unproductive workers are adults — not 5- and 6-year-old children who depend on us to learn how to become adults. If boys are restive and unfocused, we must look for ways to help them do better.

Here are three modest proposals for reform:

1. Bring Back Recess
Schools everywhere have cut back on breaks. Recess, in many schools, may soon be a thing of the past. According to a research summary by Science Daily, since the 1970s, schoolchildren have lost close to 50% of their unstructured outdoor playtime. Thirty-nine percent of first-graders today get 20 minutes of recess each day — or less. (By contrast, children in Japan get 10 minutes of play each hour.)

Prolonged confinement in classrooms diminishes children’s concentration and leads to squirming and restlessness. And boys appear to be more seriously affected by recess deprivation than girls. “Parents should be aware,” warn two university researchers, “that classroom organization may be responsible for their sons’ inattention and fidgeting and that breaks may be a better remedy than Ritalin.”

(MORE: Do Teachers Really Discriminate Against Boys?)

2. Turn Boys Into Readers
A few years ago, novelist Ian McEwan found he had many duplicate books in his library. So he and his son went to a nearby park during the lunch hour and tried to give them away. Young women eagerly accepted them. The guys, says McEwan, “frowned in suspicion, or distaste. When they were assured they would not have to part with their money, they still could not be persuaded. ‘Nah, nah. Not for me.’ ”

“Not for me,” is a common male reaction to reading, and it shows up in test scores. Year after year, in all age groups, across all ethnic lines, in every state in the union, boys score lower than girls on national reading tests. Good reading skills are — need I say? — critical to academic and workplace success. The British, faced with a similar literacy gap, launched a national campaign to engage boys with the written word.

In a major report released last year by the British Parliament’s Boys’ Reading Commission, the authors openly acknowledge sex differences and use a color-coded chart to illustrate boys’ and girls’ different reading preferences: girls prefer fiction, magazines, blogs and poetry; boys like comics, nonfiction and newspapers.

It is hard to imagine the U.S. Department of Education producing such a report. So far, the plight of boys is nowhere on its agenda. But if American parents and educators adopted the British commission’s top three recommendations, it is likely we would significantly narrow the gender gap in reading:

  • Every teacher should have an up-to-date knowledge of reading materials that will appeal to disengaged boys.
  • Every boy should have weekly support from a male reading role model.
  • Parents need access to information on how successful schools are in supporting boys’ literacy.

Boys will read when they find material they like. Guysread.com is the place to go for lists of books that have proved irresistible to boys.

(MORE: When Homework Is a Waste of Time)

3. Work With the Young Male Imagination
In his delightful Boy Writers: Reclaiming their Voices, celebrated author and writing instructor Ralph Fletcher advises teachers to consider their assignments from the point of view of boys. Too many writing teachers, he says, take the “confessional poet” as the classroom ideal. Personal narratives full of emotion and self-disclosure are prized; stories describing video games, skateboard competitions or a monster devouring a city are not.

Peg Tyre’s The Trouble With Boys illustrates the point. She tells the story of a third-grader in Southern California named Justin who loved Star Wars, pirates, wars and weapons. An alarmed teacher summoned his parents to school to discuss a picture the 8-year-old had drawn of a sword fight — which included several decapitated heads. The teacher expressed “concern” about Justin’s “values.” The father, astonished by the teacher’s repugnance for a typical boy drawing, wondered if his son could ever win the approval of someone who had so little sympathy for the child’s imagination.

Teachers have to come to terms with the young male spirit. As Fletcher urges, if we want boys to flourish, we are going to have to encourage their distinctive reading, writing, drawing and even joke-telling propensities. Along with personal “reflection journals,” Fletcher suggests teachers permit fantasy, horror, spoofs, humor, war, conflict and, yes, even lurid sword fights.

If boys are constantly subject to disapproval for their interests and enthusiasms, they are likely to become disengaged and lag further behind. Our schools need to work with, not against, the kinetic imaginations of boys to move them toward becoming educated young men.

MORE: Read Christina Hoff Sommers on School Has Become Too Hostile to Boys

243 comments
Evejas
Evejas

I've thought long and hard about this as a former teacher who now has a son.  I agree with the author but would like to add one more.  Bring open academic competition back into the classroom. I know, I know, it was removed so as to not alienate or embarass those students who struggle, but this was to the detriment of boys everywhere who thrive on competition. Perhaps an opt-in clause at the beginning of the year that would include some open grading and comparison of test scores for those who wanted to be involved in a competitive group. This occurred by default when I was in school (I'm 34) and helped me, a competitive woman, tremendously.  If the only arena for one-upsmanship and competition is in sports, what do we expect our boys to be interested in?


Brooke

HarvBrown
HarvBrown

Perhaps the author should point out one obvious fact:  Almost all of the elementary school teachers are female.  And those who are male are generally somewhat on the more literary side rather than the athletic. Thus, just naturally, the female teachers are not capable of fully understanding boys.  And then liberal education has emphasized female oriented social relations and skills.  The end result is an environment which is difficult for boys.


However, we are moving into a technological age that does not have the need for physical skills which were once an important asset in society.  The physical skills of construction, gardening, repairs, etc., are not valued very highly.  Keyboarding is the key to success in today's high tech society.  That just is the way things are.  The high paying jobs tend to be in the tech area.  Or they require tech skills more and more.  Thus, the boys are having to become more like girls, and develop their reading and tech skills to a larger degree. 

MichaelEDodd
MichaelEDodd

sounds like my classroom is  the ideal place for my boys! My grade 9 guys are loving reading science fiction right now, and they also enjoyed Malala's book too! 

IanBelletti
IanBelletti

There are some things that are important to learn because they cross all jobs.  These are the basics.  What is more important is that we teach the excitement of learning.  We will always have to learn if we intend to grow in our careers.  Every career requires some kind of learning, whether it be on the job training, seminars, reading trade magazines, taking continuing education classes, etc.  We can even learn because we are interested in the particular subject.  No matter how hard we try, we can't get away from learning something unless we chose to be so closed minded that we blame others instead of trying to learn how to better ourselves.

It is easy to forget that there are a variety of learning styles.  One size fits all education will always leave someone out.  The greatest responsibility of any educator is to inspire their students to learn.  When learning is fun, we tend to retain more information. Learning won't always be easy, but it doesn't have to be droll either.

4C3d
4C3d

The issue of boys achievement is,as suggested, wrongly uses a comparison with girls instead of celebrating the differences. It is an echo of the "one size fits all" education model we are trying so hard to implement. It is like asking "Why are not all of the components exactly the same?" when trying to achieve total quality in manufacturing. 

Having taught for over three decades and brought up two boys I have my own ideas about education and boys achievement. I agree about the need to burn off some of that energy during the school day. My question though is "Why do boys only do just enough?" I have noticed and seen it many times, boys do only enough to meet the minimum requirements of a 'pass' (whatever that may be interpreted as) and little more. The 'long game' of coursework and planning does not suit them. During the teenage years there is little finesse in their work. Of course these are generalisations and we must be careful not to paint a picture of boys that they emulate or which provides the basis for excuses. 

After thinking about the differences of approach to learning I got to thinking about the why, why are boys different to girls - if at all they really are? I wrote an article about it, you can find it here: http://wp.me/p2LphS-2J  The basis of the article is that performance and the attitude of boys and girls may be hardwired as part of a survival mechanism we no longer need but which still has implications for our behaviours. With education so much based on behaviour it is easy to see why it raises its head in this environment.

Perhaps you think I am wrong - let me know :-)

Kev

colinjt
colinjt

How interesting it is to work as a teacher and reflect on my own experiences as a boy in school. The issues do not appear to have changed much from my time at school in the 50s and 60s. As a Middle School teacher, I see constantly how boys behave and go about the business of learning. I have come to understand the reality that boys will do silly things and these acts are often simply a lack of thought, maturity and reason. It continues when they leave school and they become drivers and the very same lack of maturity and reason manifests in tragic outcomes. How hard it is for so many teachers and parents to accept that this is a simple reality for boys. The idea that somehow we are going to change this I find hard to accept. My experience tells me the very best we (particularly male teachers) can do is provide the best modelling and support we can. So many boys these days lack the examples and support provided by strong, positive male role models. As a father of sons and a teacher, I have had to come to terms with the reality for boys, just as it was for me. Those inspiring and passionate people boys encounter along the way are often the difference between a successful life and one of incredible sadness and hardship.

Florence66
Florence66

You are doing the lord's work! Feminism has gone too far and become a misandrist ideology.

NamecNassianer
NamecNassianer

Thank you for continuing to address this very important issue, Christina.

With the modern concept of "zero tolerance" schools, teachers and administrators are over-reacting to normal behavior.

If the standard of behavior is a non-ADHD female, some boys may develop identity crises.


AndreYee
AndreYee

I teach in Japan and the "10 minutes of play" each hour the author refers to is the amount of time between classes. Granted it is unstructured time with which the students can do anything they want; it is not an outdoor recess and not all the students use it to play around (although there is plenty of that). The 10 minutes is as much for the teachers to move from class room to classroom (students stay in the same room for most classes and the teachers switch rooms) and prep as it is for the students.

DailyLooker
DailyLooker

There is little to be willingly done for our lads by the modern woman, so the best we can hope is for a low mortality rate as we try to get some of them through this time.  For the ones who do make it through, their need and regard for the mom and the woman will wane significantly, but that is the price of the modern day feminist

mike.sadofsky
mike.sadofsky

Christine Hoff Sommers writes, " Being a boy can be a serious liability in today’s classroom." And therein lies a premise that creates the problem.  The "classroom" is assumed to be a requisite to learning.  And, generally our society also assumes that learning requires a teacher.

Take a look at Sudbury Valley School where you won't find a classroom or a teacher.  Nor will you find "recess."  Kids follow their interests at all times.  They may play, they may talk, they may read or explore what is conventionally thought of as "learning material."  They may enlist a staff member in holding a "class" and appropriate a room for that purpose.

You certainly won't find "rambunctiousness" nor will you find "Boys treated like defective girls."  To elaborate just a bit, what follows is an excerpt from a book written to help explain some of the differences between what most of us think of as "school" and what exists at Sudbury Valley School.

From Free at Last

By Daniel Greenberg

Classes

        We have to be careful with words. It's a miracle they ever mean the same thing to any two people. Often, they don't. Words like "love," "peace," "trust," "democracy" -- everyone brings to these words a lifetime of experiences, a world view, and we know how rarely we have these in common with anyone else. 
          Take the word "class." I don't know what it means in cultures that don't have schools. Maybe they don't even have the word. To most people reading this, the word conveys a wealth of images: a room with a "teacher" and "students" in it, the students sitting at desks and receiving "instruction" from the teacher, who sits or stands before them. It also conveys much more: a "class period," the fixed time when the class takes place; homework; a textbook, which is the subject matter of the class clearly laid out for all the students. 
          And it conveys more: boredom, frustration, humiliation, achievement, failure, competition. 
          At Sudbury Valley the word means something quite different. 
          At Sudbury Valley, a class is an arrangement between two parties. It starts with someone, or several persons, who decide they want to learn something specific -- say, algebra, or French, or physics, or spelling, or pottery. A lot of times, they figure out how to do it on their own. They find a book, or a computer program, or they watch someone else. When that happens, it isn't a class. It's just plain learning. 
          Then there are the times they can't do it alone. They look for someone to help them, someone who will agree to give them exactly what they want to make the learning happen. When they find that someone, they strike a deal: "We'll do this and that, and you'll do this and that -- OK?" If it's OK with all the parties, they have just formed a class. 
          Those who initiate the deal are called "students." If they don't start it up, there is no class. Most of the time, kids at school figure out what they want to learn and how to learn it all on their own. They don't use classes all that much. 
          The someone who strikes the deal with the students is called a "teacher." Teachers can be other students at the school. Usually, they are people hired to do the job. 
          Teachers at Sudbury Valley have to be ready to make deals, deals that satisfy the students' needs. We get a lot of people writing the school asking to be hired as teachers. Many of them tell us at length how much they have to "give" to children. People like that don't do too well at the school. What's important to us is what the students want to take, not what the teachers want to give. That's hard for a lot of professional teachers to grasp.

          The class deals have all sorts of terms: subject matter, times, obligations of each party. For example, to make the deal, the teacher has to agree to be available to meet the students at certain times. These times may be fixed periods: a half hour every Tuesday at 11:00AM. Or they may be flexible: "whenever we have questions, we'll get together on Monday mornings at 10:00AM to work them out. If we have no questions, we'll skip till next week." Sometimes, a book is chosen to serve as a reference point. The students have their end of the deal to meet. They agree to be on time, for instance.

          Classes end when either side has had enough of the deal. If the teachers find out they can't deliver, they can back out -- and the students have to find a new teacher if they still want a class. If the students discover they don't want to go on, the teachers have to find some other way to occupy themselves at the appointed hour.

          There is another kind of class at school, from time to time. It happens when people feel they have something new and unique to say that can't be found in books, and they think others may be interested. They post a notice: "Anyone interested in X can meet me in the Seminar Room at 10:30AM on Thursdays." Then they wait. If people show up, they go on. If not, that's life. People can show up the first time and, if there is a second time, decide not to come back. 
          I've done this kind of thing several times. The first session, I usually get a crowd: "Let's see what he's up to." The second session, fewer come. By the end, I have a small band who are truly curious about what I have to say on the subject at hand. It's a form of entertainment for them, and a way for me (and others) to let people know how we think.


alexreynard
alexreynard

Thank you very much for this article, Christina. I've seen plenty of people talk about the problem, but it's always good to see proposed solutions. The recess one in particular seems to be one that a lot of people can't comprehend. They see any time not working as wasted time. They can't grasp that kids are different from adults, and that play is actually important. And balance is important. Someone forced to work and be serious all the time will fail at it. Give them a release valve and they're much more likely to succeed in their work.

 P.S. LandiJanes, what the hell is up with you Manhood Academy types? Add one YouTube link and I might click on it out of curiosity. Put FIVE in there and you're being an obnoxious spammer. YOU PEOPLE NEED TO LEARN MARKETING.

DougWenzel
DougWenzel

When I attended a boys-only school, we had two recesses, plus either PE or pre-military instruction every day.

This was in Peru, but was run by a British couple.

Also, everything was a contest, and very hierarchical. Starting in fifth grade we had oral exams, where we would pull questions out of a fishbowl. You could either shine in front of the class, or make a fool of yourself.

We also had assigned seating. Those with the best grades sat in the back, or near the door. Students that needed help or were a handful were assigned seats nearest to the teacher's desk. This also meant that less able students weren't intimidated by all the raised hands behind them. 

Even later on, when I attended a High School in the then Canal Zone run by the US Federal government, we had either PE or JROTC every day


GeneSchwimmer
GeneSchwimmer

When I was a schoolboy in the '50s, boys, including me, had none of these problems.  Oh, and no one punished boys for drawing guns or - as I liked to do - hold my pencil in my hand as if the pencil were a gun and "shoot" imagined enemies.  Square dancing one day a week in gym class was no fun, but was more than made up by the other days paying dodgeball.  And football.  And real baseball, with winners and losers and not the silly "T-ball" of today.

 Favorite books were about Daniel Boone blazing trails through the wilderness and fighting Indians.

 And knights rescuing damsels in distress - hard to believe, but the male characters were heroes, not sensitive milquetoasts.  And can you believe that none of the female characters were martial artists?

 Give boys great adventure stories, with lots of action and violence, with heroes who fight bad guys and rescue and protect women.  Let them play competitive sports with winners and losers and give reign to healthy aggression - and aggression in males IS healthy, and boys will read up a storm and do as well as girls in every respect.

Just as they did before feminist teachers started treating girls' behavior as the norm and started treating boys as if they were "defective girls," needing to learn to be passive, quiet and non-violent.

I will bet dollars to doughnuts that home-schooled boys do not have the academic problems that their public-school educated counterparts have.

glbynum
glbynum

I think boys definitely need more help in reading and verbal ability, as the author states, and we need to take seriously the statistics on boys' lower reading abilities that she cites.  However, I am uncomfortable with the way she seems to stereotype all boys as liking a certain kind of story (swordfights, decapitations, etc.).  Some boys like those stories and so do some girls, and - for girls and boys who like them - teachers certainly should not "read in" bad values (as the author states).  But boys (and girls) who connect with confessional poets should also not be viewed as deviating from some norm.  Personally, as a boy I was not excited by the adventure stories when I was little, and I liked poetry.  That did not make me less of a boy or less of a male.  And girls who like adventure and swordfights are not therefore less female; we are more diverse than gender stereotypes imply. 

One book I read on this ("The Truth about Girls and Boys") pays attention to studies showing that mothers of very young children tend to use more language, and more discussion of emotional experience, with small girls than with small boys.  The little boys tend to get abrupt commands while the little girls tend to get detailed discussion of feelings.  I think this kind of child-rearing should change.  Adults should use language and discussion of emotion equally with little girls and little boys.  Shakespeare is one ideal of language use that people often look to, and his writings strongly feature BOTH the "masculine" type of language (adventure language, swordfight and battle language) AND the "feminine" type of language (language expressing nuanced sensitivity to vulnerability, emotional experience, and the natural world).  It seems to me that, if we're going to do the best possible language instruction for children, we should view both girls and boys as capable of a wide range of language and sensitivity related to language.  All children should be encouraged to have a Shakespeare-like range of linguistic engagement - to have fluency in both language related to action, challenge, and conflict, AND in language related to emotion, vulnerability, and sensitivity to beauty and the natural world.

CanadianTeacher
CanadianTeacher

What a crock of an article!

This proposed "gender gap" is completely over blown by policy makers and researchers alike.  People have attached themselves to this issue because there is some quantitative evidence to support the fact that boys are lagging behind their female counterparts in literacy.  These policy makers have made this their rallying cry and many researchers have also made a career by getting to the bottom of this issue and "closing the gap."  The reality is this: There are a lot of boys who are doing great in school. Most are average, and  a small percentage are "lagging behind."  When you take into account that boys mature cognitively and socially later than girls, should this small gap not be expected? Yes, of course it should!!

Education is always used as a political tool to drum up support--- this is just another example.


MichaelSchenk
MichaelSchenk

I don't think we'll get anywhere with this problem so long as we're treating boys and girls as identical creatures. So long as it is politically incorrect to say that boys and girls are different, we will get nowhere on this. Sure, boys can like pink, and girls can like superheroes. Girls can make drawings of pirates killing sailors as much as boys can make drawings of My Little Pony. So long as we hold everyone to the same standards of behavior we are going to marginalize differences. Reducing negative gender stereotypes is one thing, but not letting the boys be boys is another entirely.

DonaldMitchell
DonaldMitchell

My mother was school teacher for much of her life. She retired in the 1970's so many younger people will not understand her point.  She maintained that the big reason that boys did not learn to read because of plastic model airplanes. Before plastic model airplanes were balsa wood and paper airplanes. Anyone who has ever built one of those knows that you have to be able to read to do that easily. What is there today that boys want to do that you have to be able to read to accomplish?

DustyThompson
DustyThompson

Joseph McCarthy was spot on.  The Feminazis have been "programmed" for decades... Started in the classroom and has expanded to every single bureaucracy in America...  When those that control the licensing process hate America ITS ALL OVER for America 1.0.

thenextrealpresident
thenextrealpresident

Bring back more male teachers. I am very confused to why it is so hard to get young people interested in learning. Anyone with a grade school education can do it.  Hire me and I will show you how simple it is.

vjschmid
vjschmid

would love to share this with our school board. Having a son struggling in high school. His favorite class is still P.E, and he has been critcized for accessive force( slide tackle in soccer) .Where does he belong. He really is a good kid but as they lag behind they are all grouped together and then they find trouble. There imaginations which are not channeled lead to pranks and just trouble for teachers. Thanks for voicing a concern I have had for years.

absolomhumblebug
absolomhumblebug

A generation or two hence, our descendants will look at our attitudes to education and boys and shake their heads.  It's more like torture than education.  Our notions of education are mostly leftovers from the Industrial Revolution, and we treat it like a form of punishment.  Our teachers value placid obedience and complacency, appropriate for cubicle or assembly line workers, even while we recognize that our real economy depends on the energetic competitiveness and rumbustiousness that boys exemplify. We are losing human capital at an appalling rate.

We all recognize that the best education is one that is tailored to the student, because "we all learn differently."  "No size fits all!"  Fine. But then we go right back to talking about standards and standardized methods. Madness!

  It has long been recognized that the most effective, happiest, and cheapest form of education is basically one-on-one tuition by a personally committed mentor, and in short bursts rather than all-day marathons.  Human beings aren't meant to learn by being lectured at in large masses, sitting passively at desks in anonymous rows.  It's positively medieval.

dfornaciari
dfornaciari

I fear that Jennifer  Bonin is a teacher and that is the  why boys are in trouble.  Coming from the biology side of the discussion we know boys brains develop differently in utero   and the differences only get more pronounced after that. Coming from teaching in a public and now teaching in a school for boys the approach could hardly be more different. Remember woman are a minority in law and most will not give up that status willing. 

archarthur
archarthur

When my youngest son was 3, he was sitting in the den with "Go Do Go" in his lap.  My wife asked what he was doing. "Reading," he answered,  He proceeded to read the book.  We assumed he had memorized it, since his mom read it to him nearly every night.  I picked up another book and asked him to read that.  He did!  He was an avid watcher of Electric Company.

Three years later, we moved overseas.  His new school was unstructured, he did not know the rules and his brother went to another school.  He was very unhappy.  Anticipating the school's answer - medication - we had him evaluated.  The doctor told us he was bored not hyperactive.

Almost on cue, the principal, an Education Ph.D, called us in and announced that they were going to treat him with Ritalin.  I asked her how long she had been practicing medicine?  Admittedly, my tone was less than polite.  I offered to explain it to her in terms even she could understand.  He was transferred to another, more traditional class taught be a coworker's wife.  It is essential to push back against an absurd education establishment and support our sons and daughters.

How did he turn out?  Very well.  His SAT were the highest ever recorded in the county.  He was admitted to an Ivy League school early decision, the only college to which he applied. Today he is a senior VP of a major international corporation.

Hold the Meds!

colinjt
colinjt

@4C3d  

I read your article and I believe here in Australia, a similar idea was put forward by Steve Biddulph in his book, 'Raising Boys'. That has been challenged along the way but an issue many miss is the role of the environment we attempt to teach boys in. If our experience in Australia is anything to go by, we are working in structures that reflect the learning ideas of a time long gone. It is a case of adapt to the structures we have and do our best. Even in Middle Schooling, we have very few purpose built schools that accommodate  the delivery of good middle school practice. Again, we have to adapt as we have done at my school.

I have also seen and heard Sir Ken and along with others at a recent conference, we enjoyed some amazing ideas that would benefit all students, particularly around the use of technology. Our school has gone to a 1-1 model and we are still fine tuning it to see if we can improve outcome, especially for boys. 

I do see that the issues expressed around the learning for boys seem to be universal. And as I pointed out in my comment, my experience of school very closely matches much of what I see many of my boys experiencing. A major concern for me as an older teacher has been the extent to which the bar is often lowered to allow some boys to achieve. I had a 30 yr career in industry before I entered the teaching profession and have always struggled to see how this prepares boys for a very different world. The realities of the workplace are seldom understood by teachers whose experience of work has only ever been the classroom.

CieloPerdomo
CieloPerdomo

@mike.sadofsky  I just don't see how these "unstructured classes" can be done in our high poverty schools where parents DON'T teach self discipline, nor reading nor express curiosity of the world around them. They come without even respect for others, let alone an ability to view the world as anything but a huge toy chest to destroy. This fantasy at Sudbury wouldn't work I dare say, in my high poverty school (87% on free or reduced lunch) with a 90% minority population that can be very transient. So... this is NOT a "solution" that can fit all needs. It's just like that other rich man's educational fantasy known as Montessori.

Evejas
Evejas

@DougWenzel  Yes! Contest. Boys need contest .(And a few girls need contest, too.)

absolomhumblebug
absolomhumblebug

@GeneSchwimmer I agree with all your points.  I was in school 25 years after you in a small town but my memories are substantially the same. Professionally, having done a bit of work and research in this area, I can tell you that nearly all the academic and discipline problems that plague our schools are completely absent in homeschooling, although this may have to do with selection bias -- parents who care enough about their children to homeschool are likely to have disciplined children. But it also is related to increased contact with adults. A surprising finding is that homeschooled kids generally have more daily social interactions with a variety of personnel and faster social maturation than school-educated kids, not less. This undermines what has historically been the great objection to homeschooling, the "social development" aspect of school.. Especially given the scarcity of good male teachers in the school system, of today homeschooling is really the way to go if your means allow it.

AlexeiSoares
AlexeiSoares

@CanadianTeacher Heartless man  hating feminists such as yourself are running our schools ... no wonder boys feel unwelcome. Feminists are teachers to girls and prison wardens to boys.  This has caused immeasurable pain and loss.

KellyJessop
KellyJessop

@CanadianTeacher Really? Because there are huge campaigns to get more girls into STEM but I see nothing but the odd article on how we need to help boys.

FredEdward
FredEdward

@CanadianTeacherWhat a crock of a response to the article.   The gap is real and is growing year after year.  Point to any "policy makers" that are doing squat with this gap because I for one don't see any policies dealing with it.  Instead I see complaints that women aren't in STEM, I don't see word one about boys being behind in the social sciences or the de facto exclusion of any significant numbers of men from teaching.   The problem is that nobody is taking "into account that boys mature cognitively and socially later than girls".   Instead the boys are just being forgotten and left behind...

CieloPerdomo
CieloPerdomo

@MichaelSchenk And what does that mean, actually? "Boys will be boys"? Does it mean you'd let them beat the crap out of each other because boys are more aggressive than girls? Does it mean you'd let young teen males rape girls because their hormones tell them to? Education is part of CIVILIZING the human animal into societal norms of behavior as well as teaching basic survival skills for adulthood. I don't believe in that "boys will be boys" excuse nonsense. That is why sports are available AFTER SCHOOL and during the day in gym. Anything besides that is just a farce.

CieloPerdomo
CieloPerdomo

@thenextrealpresident More males don't go into the classroom for several reasons: 1. teaching has been portrayed as a "girl" career for decades. 2. the pay sucks. 3. the hours are long. 4. they can get better paying jobs elsewhere. We have  7 men on a campus with 55 women teachers. And some of those men are just waiting until they can apply for administrative positions. It's just NOT a lucrative career choice for intelligent men.

DustyThompson
DustyThompson

@absolomhumblebug No, they will be saying why on God Earth didn't someone FIGHT for America instead of against her...  Our forefathers would already be shooting and it would be justified. 

CieloPerdomo
CieloPerdomo

@dfornaciari Oh I think women would be VERY willing to give up a minority status in favor of a majority one!

CieloPerdomo
CieloPerdomo

@archarthur What I liked about your comment was the fact that he did WELL in a STRUCTURED environment. These "let the kids decide" approach is sheer nonsense since most will waste that time on games and NOT on a mental discipline to make the mind capable of critical thinking.

montessoriteacher
montessoriteacher

@CieloPerdomo @mike.sadofsky Montessori teacher from an urban school here, Dr. Montessori's philosophy came from the slums of Italy where children were thought to be unteachable and unruly.  The philosophy is not designed to be only for rich white kids, but unfortunately public Montessori doesn't happen enough in the United States.  

CieloPerdomo
CieloPerdomo

@AlexeiSoares @CanadianTeacher LOL! I guess your post is an example of you feeling emasculated by your female teachers?"A prison warden?" I teach 2nd grade. We move around alot, talk about everything including pirates and sports and adventures. A feminist like me wants both boys AND girls to be curious about all aspects of the world, that clearly are NOT defined as "boy" areas and "girl" areas. If a boy is interested in cooking, GREAT. If a girl is interested in building with blocks, GREAT. THAT is what feminism is about; making ALL pursuits available to ALL people regardless of gender.

CieloPerdomo
CieloPerdomo

@FredEdward @CanadianTeacher Are you currently in the classroom? Do you have ANY idea of what conversations are occurring in schools around the country on a daily basis? Because of the stupid standardized testing, EVERYBODY is being watched, recorded, helped and tutored. Wow, that even includes BOYS! How each boy and girl is treated is based on individual needs, NOT some broad gender based theory that is not 100% accurate. There are boys that excel in BOTH areas. There are girls that excel in both areas! WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? That means that people are different, are taught differently and respond differently to different people and situations. So this article is certainly a pile of shinola, as far as I'm concerned.

CieloPerdomo
CieloPerdomo

@montessoriteacher @CieloPerdomo @mike.sadofsky I will admit that I am not current on what Montessori has become , or what it can be. I had a co-worker who taught in Montessori-style (10 years ago) and it always seemed like her pre-K students just milled about aimlessly. At the end of the year, most of them had NOT mastered their letter sounds, nor numbers, shapes and colors. I didn't see any value to her "teaching style" since I saw NO foundation work being done. My negative view of Montessori comes from working opposite this person for 3 years. So I'm also guilty of making generalizations. MEA CULPA! I  AM passionate about getting my students as exposed, involved and excited about education as possible. My current classroom (2nd grade) has alot of movement, hands-on experiences and a eccentric library. No matter what we call it, I think an active room is a learning room, within some boundaries for acceptable behavior between peers. Maybe my exposure to Montessori wasn't the best example. I will look into it again and educate myself.  :)    Thanks!

montessoriteacher
montessoriteacher

@CieloPerdomo @montessoriteacher @mike.sadofsky I think you may not be as informed about Montessori as you think you might be.  In the early years there is lots of sensorial exploration, but it all has a purpose.  Children (ideally) enter Montessori at the age of three.  They are exposed to a rich vocabulary, learn practical life skills, and are given concrete experiences in mathematics.  By the time a child enters the first grade they have laid a foundation in reading, writing, and mathematics so further exploration and research can be done.  (P.S. also work with high poverty students).  I teach upper elementary (9-12 year olds) and we are squaring binomials, estimating square root, exploring erosion, classifying trees, and doing lots and lots of writing.  I would argue that our minority children from high poverty areas have the highest need for a Montessori education, beginning at an early age.  From Montessori education they can have those essential experiences, exposure to grace and courtesy, rich vocabulary, and impressions that can be later built on.  It is much harder when I get kids who have not had this background, but still they idea of choice, movement, imagination, community building.  Its all a good thing.  If you are passionate about education, which it sounds like you are, I think you should look into it.  I could not go back to a traditional classroom.

CieloPerdomo
CieloPerdomo

@montessoriteacher @CieloPerdomo @mike.sadofsky I've taught high poverty kids that are expected to master material that more affluent children already know. By the time a minority child enters school, they are 20,000 words BEHIND their more affluent and involved peers. There is no time to waste on "exploring". Some large chunk of that time needs to be spent on structured application of knowledge balanced with experiences. Where it was developed is irrelevant. It's just not applicable today.

keine257
keine257

@CieloPerdomo @AlexeiSoares@CanadianTeacher

Lol Feminazis...