February 27, 2013

"If schoolteachers were overwhelmingly male and girls were suffering as a result..."

"... there would be a national outcry and Title IX-style gender equity legislation would be touted."

We expect males to solve their own problems. There's no tradition of helping and help-seeking as there is with females. Ironically, that tradition of helping females is patronizing and paternalistic. Whether it's good for government to serve female interests like that or not, it's hard to transfer that nurturing attention onto boys. Is portraying boys as victims good for boys? It's especially problematic if you are going to disparage the female teachers:
It seems that teachers -- overwhelmingly female -- just might be prejudiced against boys and it's hurting their grades.
Might be...

By the way, the egregious example of prejudice against boys that I've seen came from a male teacher. It was exactly the kind of stereotyping of boyish behavior that the author of the linked article — Instapundit — is talking about.

Make no mistake: I think there is a problem with boys in school. But what is the solution?

Here's a hypothetical I made up for discussing the problem in my law school constitutional law class. In a place I call Gendertopia, where policy is based scientific research indicating that there are male and female gendered learning styles, there's a plan for 2 high schools, both of which will receive equal resources. The male-style school will have labs, contests, aggressive sports, and strict discipline from the teachers. Music class is all about using Apple Logic Pro 9. The female model school has group projects and mutual tutoring, positive reinforcement and self-esteem, yoga and dance classes, and — for music — a strings program. Violins, violas, and cellos are distributed.

Do you like my solution? (Don't assume all the boys go to one school and all the girls go to the other school.)

92 comments:

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Well, as a completely unathletic nerdy science-geek kid who hated group projects, liked classroom discipline and was a serious violinist who started the instrument at age four, I'd say you've just designed my perfect hell.

MarkW said...

I would say that the single thing that would most benefit boys would be to grade based on academic performance rather than conformity. E.G. stop basing grades heavily on an endless stream of make-homework assignments where it doesn't matter much whether your work is good or correct but it is essential that assignments are not missing or late.

For university entrance, the best thing would be a return to putting greater weight on standardized test scores (where boys performance still matches or exceeds that of girls) than on GPA:

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0883611.html

EMD said...

I don't think you need separate schools, just a recognition of the differences in learning.

And maybe 'boy time' and 'girl time' where they are separated for a portion of the day and get to do things that boost their different learning styles.

Hagar said...

It's not necessarily that they are prejudiced against boys, but that they are women.

Kit said...

What Michelle said.

elkh1 said...

Segregate the genders. They do pretty well in boarding schools.

Mitchell the Bat said...

The goal is to get a boy to like school before he's old enough to pop a boner.

Bob Ellison said...

Maybe boys are smarter than girls. They attend college less, but earn more money.

bagoh20 said...

I think your solution is a start, but we need more than just two options. A plethora of forms all required to achieve basic levels of reading, math, history, science, civics, and personal finance. After that, the wider the variation, the better.

Alexander said...

I don't mean to sound glib, but you're basically recommending... school choice.

Fair enough. But it's shocking that this should be seen as shocking.

Aridog said...

Make no mistake: I think there is a problem with boys in school. But what is the solution?

Okay, I admit I am "slow." Just what is this "problem" with boys?

If extant, is it caused by solutions formulated by education [?] bureaucrats for problems that didn't exist previously?

I just don't know how we cretinous young males survived in the 40's and 50's, let alone the 60's and war....as had our forefathers.

Except for those males who went in the "teaching" as a deferment route.

Were we males of yore the problem to be reformulated from our savage selves to modern metro men?

Or did that happen once we were of no further use to the bureaucrats?

Man, it is so easy today to just not-give-a-damn-about-anything. Why bother? Really.

Nonapod said...

I'm not sure if I learn differently than most males but my personal problem with public education had to do with is inherent discouragement of autodidacticism and encouragement of working in groups with an instructor. For whatever strange reason I've always seemed to learn better on my own (assuming I have sufficient access to text and materials). I did lousy in school and college but I was able to teach myself programing and make a career of it.

MadisonMan said...

I expected the Apple Logic Pro link to go to amazon via the althouse portal :) You disappoint me.

The underlying thesis seems to be that the message a boy receives at school wins out. Is that really true? I don't think it was in my son's case. He received positive affirmation (hate that phrase, but can't think of a better one) at home. He knew we were proud of him and that he could tackle any subject. Would it matter, then, what his teacher told him (I'm pretty sure his teachers -- uniformly excellent in elementary school, maybe not so much in middle school, mixed bag in High School -- recognized his talents and pushed him, so the question is kinda hypothetical).

ANY kind of school program is no substitute for concerned parent involvement.

Ipso Fatso said...

I don't care what school, just put me next to the girl with the biggest tits.

Titus, you are a bad influence (:

Aridog said...

bagoh20 said ...

A plethora of forms all required to achieve basic levels of reading, math, history, science, civics, and personal finance. After that, the wider the variation, the better.

Certainly. Amen. And good luck implementing that today. Regrettably.

Ann Althouse said...

"I expected the Apple Logic Pro link to go to amazon via the althouse portal :) You disappoint me."

Well, I tried, but they only have the old versions at Amazon. I'm sure those will work for you too and they are much cheaper, but I didn't want to recommend them.

Please use my Amazon portal whenever you can, especially if you want to give me credit for decisions like that.

Aridog said...

Mitchell the Bat said...

The goal is to get a boy to like school before he's old enough to pop a boner.

Heh heh...yes, but then any boy with an intellect superior to a garden slug will automatically know...school IS where the girls are.

Ann Althouse said...

"The underlying thesis seems to be that the message a boy receives at school wins out. Is that really true? I don't think it was in my son's case. He received positive affirmation (hate that phrase, but can't think of a better one) at home. He knew we were proud of him and that he could tackle any subject. Would it matter, then, what his teacher told him (I'm pretty sure his teachers -- uniformly excellent in elementary school, maybe not so much in middle school, mixed bag in High School -- recognized his talents and pushed him, so the question is kinda hypothetical)."

Boys have been squirming at the repressiveness of schoolteachers forever. Resisting authority may do them good.

Girls are rewarded for docility. Does that help in the long run?

Chip S. said...

In your hypo, do you call the girls' school Radclyffe?

Kristian Holvoet said...

I don't see how your solution is measurably different than separate but equal segregation in schools (other than the obvious compulsory selection). Still, we would be creating environments that would be hostile in one form or another to individuals, and basically telling them if they don't like it (or fit in), go someplace else.

I have two boys. We homeschool because I know we can do better than our schools. The interesting thing is, for whatever success of homeschoolers have, they are predominantly taught by women as well. Not sure how that fits in the template of boys not doing well with women teachers.

Fritz said...

Are there two separate schools for gay and lesbian students who don't fit the paradigm?

Ann Althouse said...

"The goal is to get a boy to like school before he's old enough to pop a boner."

Are you talking about sending fetuses to school or what?

elkh1 said...

MarkW said...
"the single thing that would most benefit boys would be to grade based on academic performance rather than conformity....the best thing would be a return to putting greater weight on standardized test scores (where boys performance still matches or exceeds that of girls) than on GPA"

Geeze, you men don't learn, don't you? The public school system is not to benefit boys.

Why do we have the public school system?

First and foremost: provides jobs for union members who could not get other jobs on their own merits.

Second: trains future constituents, thinking voters don't vote the way politicians want them to vote.

Third: rewards students who will not challenge the teachers, i.e. promote conformity. Easier for the union members. Better future constituents who won't challenge the powers that be.

Shana said...

I would want to go to the boys' school.

YoungHegelian said...

Echoing the Prof's thought @10:51 I always thought that one of the most important lessons one learns from school is how to work with & around systems of arbitrary rules formulated by a bunch of assholes.

I mean, really, is there any organization of any size where that isn't a valuable skill? And, it is, sadly, a skill learned best at the end of a literal or figurative lash.

AJ Lynch said...

Today's blog theme is "libruls begin to understand their own policies are f-ing up almost everything".

Aridog said...

Althouse said ...

Boys have been squirming at the repressiveness of schoolteachers forever. Resisting authority may do them good.

True that. Now is THAT what some perceive as "the problem with boys?"

Virtually half or more of all fun in school through high school is in dodging that authority, and "forbidden" mingling as close a possible with girls, playing a sport or two, and still getting decent grades.

Do we need to reduce that resistance to authoritah!

Now I know why we must study golden shiner fish.

AJ Lynch said...

But I would add we should stop piling the blame on the teachers when it is the families that are to blame.

Aridog said...

YoungHegelian said...

Echoing the Prof's thought @10:51 I always thought that one of the most important lessons one learns from school is how to work with & around systems of arbitrary rules formulated by a bunch of assholes.

YES. Perfect.

Surfed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
YoungHegelian said...

@TheAriDawgMan,

Great minds think alike or what, dude?

Strelnikov said...

"The Simpsons" already did your solution. Hilarious. Look it up.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Do you like my solution? (Don't assume all the boys go to one school and all the girls go to the other school.)

Yes and no.

Firstly, I foresee the difficulty of allowing some girls to attend the 'boys' school and vice versa. They would be locked in by gender without many exceptions, instead of by the most efficient learning styles adapted for each individual student.

Second...not all topics are as strictly male/female segregated as you suggest.

I would want to attend the male gendered school for the topics of science, math, lab access, mechanical shop. Screw the aggressive or competitive sports.

I would like the girls school for the hands on, not computerized, music and art classes. Screw the self esteem positive reinforcement and yoga. AND OMG spare me from group projects. And spare me from being surrounded by a bunch of girls all freaking day long.

I don't think you need separate schools, just a recognition of the differences in learning.

Surfed said...

The inner cities of this country are in many ways to dysfunctional for this approach. One of the major problems we have is the destruction of tech hardware, (computers), infastructure, texts, bathrooms, etc. My favorite is placing large chocolate chip cookies in the dvd/cd drive and closing it. Or maybe throwing laptops at each other in wild, wild classroom brawls. Desks are easy and cheap to replace when thrown and broken, laptops less so. While your plan might work well in suburbia or in exburbia, I'm not so sure about inner cities. Lacking police officers with arrest powers and tasers in each classroom I have my doubts. Addendum: Some classes would require two officers.

Broomhandle said...

What Madison Man said. The difference that positive parental involvement makes is so glaringly obvious it almost makes the faults of the teachers irrelevant. Almost.

Surfed said...

Further addendum - And that's just for the girl classes. They fight a lot more than the boys. And much more viciously to boot.

MarkW said...

"Boys have been squirming at the repressiveness of schoolteachers forever. Resisting authority may do them good"

Yes, that is true -- but it didn't used to have nearly as big an impact on their prospects. I had good, but not great high-school grades, but had top SAT scores and was admitted into the honors college at a public ivy. With the same credentials now, I'm not sure I'd be admitted to the university at all. Even perfect SATs, at this point, can't overcome a less-than-stellar GPA (but the reverse is not true).

Locke said...

I with EMD on this.

There absolutely is a problem - I've worked on scholarship selection committees the last 15 years or so. On the whole (there are certainly individual exceptions) the difference between both the quantity and quality of the male applicants and their essays and the female's is stark. And the gap has widened.

I choose to see the glass as half full - we've done such a good job reaching the girls & getting them engaged that many of the boys have slipped through.

Understanding different learning styles is critical. It really wasn't until I graduated college and went to work developing computer based training that I actually discovered & really understood my own learning styles. A fully separated learning environment - whether in gender or learning style - is too far however. In addition to understanding that different kids learn best in different ways, we do still have to help round out the kids. Don't just let them focus on their strengths & learning one way, but help to develop their weaknesses for other learning formats/methods as well.

I can listen to someone talk for an hour about something & get less out of it than if I see a diagram or spend 5 minutes actually touching it & experiment with it. But that doesn't mean I can totally ignore audio learning/direction. I still have to learn things in that way - I've just worked on taking that information & processing it in different ways so it sinks in better.

Doc Holliday's Hat said...

I don't like it. Yes, boys and girls are interested in different things, and yes, they do need to be taught separately (and probably learn better without the other sex nearby). But, segregating based on gender preferences seems so far off the solution that I feel like a progressive has edited your post. A two size fits all approach based on feeling included that in turn actually excludes, reinforces stereotypes, and further breaks down the happy medium of society where people are actually drastically different, but have a common core that holds them together as a community. In order to "fix" a problem it makes things worse, and probably more expensive, whereas the real fix is just recognizing that sexes are different, boys need more active learning, girls are better at busy work.

So, homework, but not excessive homework. Tests based on memorization but also on free thinking. Group projects and stand alone projects (say for a lit class, acting out a scene from Shakespeare, but also writing something yourself and presenting it to the class, or memorizing a soliloquy). A set of core classes stepped in the virtue of Western tradition (this will be where community arises from). But then electives, tons of electives. It isn't the easy solution, it isn't a false catch-all. But it would be the best one available given the resources at hand.

Andrew Koenig said...

I'll bet there would be a number of boys who would go to the girls' school because that's where most of the girls are.

Molly said...

One of my boys had a second or third grade teacher who had sons of her own and understood boys. She put a table of books to be read in free time, and the boys ended up competing with each other to see who could read the most books. They bragged and teased. But they focused on finishing the work sheets efficiently so that they could get on to their free reading competition.

One of boys had a teacher (in the same school) who had a daughter slightly older than her class. She understood all children as girls. She expected "good behavior" in class, and punished "bad behavior" by rescinding recess for the child. (bad idea)

I don't think this arose from "prejudice" or "bigotry" but simply from a lack of understanding of how boys are. And (to Michelle and Kit and others) the first teacher's approach could (and was) taken in a non-sex-segregated school.

Molly said...

One of my boys had a second or third grade teacher who had sons of her own and understood boys. She put a table of books to be read in free time, and the boys ended up competing with each other to see who could read the most books. They bragged and teased. But they focused on finishing the work sheets efficiently so that they could get on to their free reading competition.

One of boys had a teacher (in the same school) who had a daughter slightly older than her class. She understood all children as girls. She expected "good behavior" in class, and punished "bad behavior" by rescinding recess for the child. (bad idea)

I don't think this arose from "prejudice" or "bigotry" but simply from a lack of understanding of how boys are. And (to Michelle and Kit and others) the first teacher's approach could (and was) taken in a non-sex-segregated school.

MadisonMan said...

But I would add we should stop piling the blame on the teachers when it is the families that are to blame

Blaming the families is too easy.

Should the child of a lazy family be doomed to fail? Can a teacher get out the message that their students can out-succeed their parents without giving out the message that the parents are lazy do-nothings? I suspect that's a thin line. And if a classroom is full of such offspring (that is, full of children of lazy parents), I can easily see a teacher becoming overwhelmed.

Chip Ahoy said...

Did you see the boy dancers that the woman who was mad at Abby presented in defiance? She wanted to smash Abby and apparently boy dancers are more rare than girl dancers. Enthusiastic, energetic, powerful compared to the girls. But they're a complete mess. Undisciplined compared to the girls who were pretty much completely on point. The differences in the boys' sizes and weights showed in their synchronization too. They were all over the place, but more interesting to watch and the audience responded more to that than to anything else. The one little boy entered the stage sliding and spinning on his head like a top, as they do.

Aridog said...

Andrew Koenig said...

I'll bet there would be a number of boys who would go to the girls' school because that's where most of the girls are.

Sure enough. That is precisely why I took typing as an elective in high school. Girls. Period.

I had no idea, at the time (1958) that it would pay off with computer use of the same QWERTY keyboard.

bgates said...

It's especially problematic if you are going to disparage the female teachers, she says, then quotes the alleged disparagement:
"It seems that teachers -- overwhelmingly female -- just might be prejudiced against boys and it's hurting their grades."

Might be... she repeats ominously. Oooh! Somebody said a group of people that includes women might be imperfect! Call the Disparagement Police (an equal-opportunity, affirmative action agency, and yeah they're all women, what's it to you?)

Then in the best feminist tradition of refusing to judge people along gender lines the way awful men do we get this:
By the way, the egregious example of prejudice against boys that I've seen came from a male teacher.

The example. This from a woman nearly 70 years old. She's seen exactly one egregious example of prejudice against boys, ever, and she's emphatic that it "came from a male teacher". Nothing especially problematic about disparaging him, of course.

Levi Starks said...

Women/girls are the largest minority in our nation....

Uncle Pavian said...
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Uncle Pavian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
April Thompson said...

We live that solution! It's called homeschool.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

DBQ,

I would want to attend the male gendered school for the topics of science, math, lab access, mechanical shop. Screw the aggressive or competitive sports.

I would like the girls school for the hands on, not computerized, music and art classes. Screw the self esteem positive reinforcement and yoga. AND OMG spare me from group projects. And spare me from being surrounded by a bunch of girls all freaking day long.


Yep, exactly. I see that in my comment I left out the self-esteem BS and the yoga, but I was in a hurry to get my opinion in first :-) Just exactly like the boy that I am not.

And as for being surrounded by girls: If they're all nerds of one kind or another, OK by me, but otherwise, no.

(My husband taught at a Catholic girls' high school for a decade or so, but he was running a very intense conservatory-style string program there; practically all the kids were on scholarship, and they were very intense music students. I would've been very happy surrounded by those girls in high school. My actual female classmates who paid any attention to me at all did so mostly because they were natural thugs and bullies, and thought they saw a nice juicy target.)

So basically what we have here is a system of two schools each of which combines stuff we would like with stuff that would be really, really loathsome. Which raises the alarming possibility that some education specialist somewhere will read Ann's hypothetical and think, "Wow, what a great idea!"

ricpic said...

From what I've read many schools have done away with recess. That's torture for boys, who need recess to run off their excess energy. So a simple first step would be reinstating recess or expanding it where it's been shortened.

Bob R said...

Your solution has already been tried. It's called private schools, and is almost universally considered to be superior to government schools.

BDNYC said...

Oh, at first I thought this post was going to be about double standards re: teacher-student sex.

Shouting Thomas said...

Two comments.

1. This "plan" sounds suspiciously like the old Catholic school model.

Everything old is new again!

2. Are you folks aware that being gay and male does not equate to being "femme?"

I get the feeling you're all making this assumption. Althouse seems especially stricken with this.

Pre-AIDS epidemic in San Francisco, gay culture was most definitely not "femme." Everybody was into machismo, weight lifting and body building.

The macho guys were wiped out by AIDS. Then, the "marriage" baloney came along, as schoolmarms like Althouse got on the domestication bandwagon, and everybody went back to believing that gay men had to be femme.

lincolntf said...

I went to an all-male, corporal punishment allowed school where "gym" was taken very seriously. They also had award winning musical ensembles, drama club, every "club" under the sun. Some of the teachers used what is being described as masculine methods, others feminine. There's no reason schools can't succeed for both sexes except for the fecklessness of the Teacher's themselves. They've been given everything they've asked for for decades, yet fail at a higher rate than ever. This despite the fact that the primary function of Teachers (to store and convey information) has been rendered redundant by technology. Get people with integrity and competence running the show, and none of these silly hypothetical schools will be needed.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Doc Holliday's Hat,

So, homework, but not excessive homework. Tests based on memorization but also on free thinking. Group projects and stand alone projects (say for a lit class, acting out a scene from Shakespeare, but also writing something yourself and presenting it to the class, or memorizing a soliloquy). A set of core classes steeped in the virtue of Western tradition (this will be where community arises from). But then electives, tons of electives. It isn't the easy solution, it isn't a false catch-all. But it would be the best one available given the resources at hand.

I like this, for not splitting things by the assumed preferences and skills of boys and girls. But in the previous graf you do just that. That, on average, girls and boys prefer different styles of learning and different subjects is absolutely no excuse for making assumptions about any particular student. "Active learning" vs. "busy work," indeed.

In sixth grade, I and one other student (a boy) got removed from some of our classes and put on independent study for part of the school day, so that we could do stuff like start algebra and play around with words. It was a relief, because we were not only bored stiff in the regular classes, but were the two most bullied kids in the school, and any time away from the rest of the class was a godsend.



Larry J said...

Kristian Holvoet said...

I have two boys. We homeschool because I know we can do better than our schools. The interesting thing is, for whatever success of homeschoolers have, they are predominantly taught by women as well. Not sure how that fits in the template of boys not doing well with women teachers.


Mothers are not likely to be hostile to their own sons.

DADvocate said...

It seems that teachers -- overwhelmingly female -- just might be prejudiced against boys and it's hurting their grades.

There's no might about it. I have two boys and two girls. All in the top 1-2% in IQ, but I can tell you that the boys weren't treated nearly as fairly or civilly.

Why strict discipline in the boys' school? Do we need the built-in anti-boy bias? That's one of the biggest problems I saw with my kids. Girls got away with stuff because they were girls and they came down like a ton of lead on the boys.

You're off on the musical instruments, too. The greatest difference I saw was that boys played percussion, horns and strings. Srings, saxes and clarinets were about equally boy/girl. Girls dominted flutes and picciloes.(sp?) The Apple Logic would only be for the nerds and psuedo-musicians. Boys want to do the real thing. My youngest son played football, still playing in college, and, during this course of his k-12 days, played violin, upright bass, guitar, bass guitar, drums and bass horn. Several of his friends were equally adept.

Here's a music video they did as a spoof. As my son is a football player, which one he is is obvious.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbOqkwDTq0I

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ Michelle.....sounds like we are similar and probably would have been friends in school.


And as for being surrounded by girls: If they're all nerds of one kind or another, OK by me, but otherwise, no.


This is the beauty of being and adult, you can choose who you associate with. I can express my inner nerd with impunity :-P

And this the horror of school, you are forced to be with people you can't get along with or whom you actively hate and who don't like you much either. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger...I guess.

Shouting Thomas said...

Social engineering and education have this in common...

Enormous effort must always be expended dismantling the stupid fads of the past. Trouble is, another stupid fad is always substituted for the previous stupid fad.

Thus, we're now stuck trying to undo the stupidity of feminism. In the not too distant future, we'll be stuck trying to undo the stupidity of the gay activist movement.

Learning anything from this is forbidden. Fortunately, this cycle keeps the "experts" in jobs.

The Drill SGT said...

Kristian said... Not sure how that fits in the template of boys not doing well with women teachers.


I was going to respond to this, but elkh1 did a pretty good job...

You assume that the female mother and the female teacher have the same objective. I submit that one wants excellence and learning, the other ants tranquility and low stress. One is non-union, one isn't

One likely likes standardized testing to measure educational progress, one likely doesn't want to be held accountable...

PS: my mother was a teacher. I wasn't home schooled, but effectively I was...

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

DADvocate,

That video is awesome! But what is a "bass horn?" There's baritone horn (sort of like a mini tuba), and basset horn (sort of like an oversized clarinet, and definitely not an instrument you'd find in a school band), but I've never heard of a bass horn, and I've spent almost half my life in music retail, one way or another.

DADvocate said...

Baritone horn, that's it. Sorry. I'm not as musically gifted as my son.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

DBQ,

@ Michelle.....sounds like we are similar and probably would have been friends in school.

I'd guess allies first, and friends rapidly. Wish you'd been there in 6th grade.

"Nerdy, unathletic female with a strong antipathy to group projects and self-esteem-boosting BS, a liking for math, science, books, and any work that can be done in solitude, and a preference for doing things hands-on" isn't a common profile, but we do exist.

If you haven't already read The Florence King Reader, you ought to. She is not the math/science type of nerd, but I think being nerdy about classical French is in the same league.

Aridog said...

Shouting Thomas said...

Are you folks aware that being gay and male does not equate to being "femme?"

Absolutely, for one person, I am aware of that fact. Two of my relatively close friends in my youth were brothers who were the most effeminate guys anywhere, ever. Both married beautiful women and raised large families.

Seem to be a good idea to evaluate no book, or person, by its cover.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

DADvocate,

Yeah, I figured it was bari horn, unless it was some regional name for tuba or sousaphone.

Freeman Hunt said...

Is there a school where they just drop you off in the woods or at the library? I'd have liked that school.

Astro said...

Mitchell the Bat said... The goal is to get a boy to like school before he's old enough to pop a boner.

Well, since that happens in utero, instant fail.

Methadras said...

Misandry starts early and often.

Kristian Holvoet said...

Mothers are not likely to be hostile to their own sons.

Dunno about you, but my wife is a lot stricter with our boys than any school I know is allowed to be.

I think the mother's have a MUCH higher standard of behavior and performance than are likely to be enforced in schools (which may be why boys in home school may do better than boys in other schools, all other things being equal).

What moms (and dads) also have, at least as home school teachers, is the flexibility to understand that 25-30 mins of school 5-6 times a day, with productive breaks (which, at least for the 4 and 7 years old may lterally be running laps around the living room for 10 mins playing tag) can be a much better model for teaching (boys in particular) than traditional sit in your seat, get in line, don't speak unless spoken to I remember from public schools.


Freeman Hunt said...

The woods school could have Wolves be the team name. If it had teams.

Shouting Thomas said...

I had three sisters.

My Dad always blamed me for anything that went bad for them, or anything they whined about.

It was sort of a "Boy Named Sue" upbringing.

Thanks, Dad. The lesson has served me well.

gerry said...

A teacher I had in the fourth and fifth grades really disliked boys and showed it.

Ten years later she came out of the closet. Go figure.

Inga said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Inga said...

Yes, I like your model, assuming as you say that the boys schools allow girls and the girls schools allow boys. Happy children learn happily:)

I could see that less masculine boys and less feminine girls might be miserable if limited to schools filled with children of their own gender.

Inga said...

ST, my son was subjected to three sisters also, he's still trying to "recover". Surprisingly he still likes females, not related to him. :)

Shouting Thomas said...

Hello, I even love my sisters, Inga.

My Dad was a very smart man. He realized child rearing is not a logical or ideological proposition.

Aridog said...

Freeman Hunt said...

Is there a school where they just drop you off in the woods or at the library?

Close to it. I attended a private co-ed high school literally in the woods 30 miles from the nearest town of more than 200....and 2 miles from that wee burg. We had a library, the newest of our buildings, and a lot of class time and study hall time was spent there....even evenings if your semester grade average was less than a solid B or 3.0. We were a Class D school competing in Class C leagues in all normal sports for high school, from football to track and field, plus competitive Alpine and Nordic skiing....as well as recreational skiing for those not inclined to race.

Honestly, those years were probably the best of my life...all fun, no serious worries. The co-ed part made it grand.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

DBQ,

I forgot to respond to this:

And this the horror of school, you are forced to be with people you can't get along with or whom you actively hate and who don't like you much either. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger...I guess.

The scales went the other way for me. They hated me a lot more than I hated them. I just wanted to be left alone, but they didn't want that; they wanted someone to pick at. School bus rides were the worst, so [stop me if I've told this story before, as I think I have] one day I "borrowed" my Mom's mini tape recorder out of her desk, bugged myself on the bus, wrote out a transcript that evening, and put it and the tape on my principal's desk the next morning. Much less harassment on the bus after that.

Revenant said...

If the teachers were overwhelmingly male it would be viewed as a serious problem whether or not ANY students were suffering as a result.

Inga said...

ST, my son is coming around, he attends family functions regularly now that he's in his later 20's, and is quite sweet to his older sisters, they always adored him as the youngest. He was a powerhouse of energy and personality, which serves him well now as an adult, but hard to deal with when he was a kid.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Miclelle, DBQ: Wow. Are we sure that one or both of you is not my daughter? You sound just like my real daughter.
Freeman: At my kids' (private) elementary / middle school, there was a science teacher nicknamed Ma Nature. One day on the drive to school she found a fresh roadkill deer by the side of the road, tossed it into her pickup (of course), and brought it to school. It, and its various body parts, was the lesson for the day.
I've occasionally wondered how many laws and regulations she broke that day :-)

DADvocate said...

I could see that less masculine boys and less feminine girls might be miserable if limited to schools filled with children of their own gender.

More stereotyping. Amazing how many people think they understand something when they don't have a clue. Would a "masculine" lesbian enjoy being around boys all day? If a boy is effeminate, does that mean he's gay and/or wants to hang out with girls?

It's not all about gender roles or perceived gender roles. It's about interests, talents and abilities. In high school, I played basketball against a guy who had a definite effeminateness. He also played football. In fact, he played football so well that he became an All-American at Tennessee. After all that he had a sex change operation. How do you pigeon hole a guy like that?

DADvocate said...

If the teachers were overwhelmingly male it would be viewed as a serious problem whether or not ANY students were suffering as a result.

Absolutely. You see that at the college level.

Alex said...

Boys love striving for something. Make the entire grade dependent on tough exams(no multiple choice) and that will motivate the hell out of 'em. Multiple choice exams are for sissies.

Larry J said...

Kristian Holvoet said...
Mothers are not likely to be hostile to their own sons.

Dunno about you, but my wife is a lot stricter with our boys than any school I know is allowed to be.


Strict and hostile are not the same thing. Being strict means you set standards of behavior and enforce them. Being hostile means you want to do them harm.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Fred Drinkwater,

Michelle, DBQ: Wow. Are we sure that one or both of you is not my daughter? You sound just like my real daughter.?

For my part, pretty sure.

Paul Ciotti said...

In trying to recall which of my female elementary and high school teachers were bad I mostly recall they all were bad. Same thing with my male teachers. In truth, both genders seem to have thought we all would riot if they gave us any freedom at all.

I think they missed their calling. They should have gone to prison warden school where if you commit any thought crimes they can kick your butt till the cows come home.

Joan said...

I would love to teach at the Professor's "boys" school.

As it is, I try to mix in enough hands-on and real world stuff into my curriculum to keep all the students engaged.

As for group projects: I join you all in detesting them, but just recently have come around to realizing that, done right, they *can* teach kids about working to accomplish a goal with others. As I explain to my junior high students, "Unless you are that guy standing on the street corner twirling the sign that says 'We buy gold,' you're going to be working with other people." My students are so self-centered and lacking in social skills that they have no idea how to work with others. So we do very small group activities, in which everyone is assigned a job and held accountable. Most of these are so simple that the students can't fail unless they willfully check out, which peer pressure usually prevents.

They don't see the point, of course, but very sneakily they are learning how to care about something other than just themselves. It's important.

And going way back upthread, ITA with YoungHegelian: what students are learning in school is how to work, whether they want to or not, and whether they like the people they're around or not. How many times in our lives do we get to work in our ideal conditions? I haven't, yet, ever -- and I've been working for nearly 35 years.

Darleen said...

Generally, boys learn different from girls

However, generalities always have exceptions.

I have 4 daughters, 3 grandsons (one granddaughter on the way)

add in a very high IQ nerdy stepson about to graduate high school.

Looking at my twin grandsons, at 10 y/o, they absolutely need breaks of high physical activity; something too many Government schools with union female teachers ignore .. then punish the boys for being antsy and unable to focus.

My husband .. electronic geek who refused to take gym, played in band & jazz band (bass guitar, standing bass, trumpet & baritone) ... went to college at 16 because high school bored him to tears (and thus, mischief made its appearance)

Bottom line -- VOUCHERs. Let schools compete with different set-ups & programs to attract kids who will do well according to their own learning style and interests.

Not that the public employee unions will ever let that happen without a bloodbath.

ken in sc said...

I would have benefited from single sex schooling. After the sixth grade, girls were a major distraction to me.

BTW, when I was in school—the mid 60s—it was routine for misbehaving students to be paddled. They were given a choice of three licks or three days suspension. I don't remember any girls being paddled or any boys being suspended.