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Thread: Boys suffer in a culture without challenges

  1. #16
    Well, with all due respect, that explains it. [Not reading papers]. You're an academic and you're unaware of real life issues.
    Because academics don’t live in the real world! Though I am hardly an academic, you flatter me there, no just a part-time student and sort of a trainee teacher. I don’t read papers for the reasons I gave before.

    The point that the article brings up is that we now need strategies directed at boys.
    And those strategies involve what? Encouraging boys to cut their knees so they can learn to be “real” men? But I’ve already given my opinions on the merits of the article, no need to go there again.

    And what scientific degree does this Judith butler have? What medical education does she have? What biological experimentation has she performed to reach these conclusions? I bet she doesn't have any scientific background. I bet she's a liberal arts major of some sort. That's where this non-scientific rubbish originates from.
    Judith Butler’s CV is quite impressive. Her “Gender Trouble” is arguably the most influential theoretical text of the 1990s which, as well as being an important feminist piece, was one of the founding texts of Queer Theory. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Yale University in philosophy and has taught at Johns Hopkins University and at the University of California at Berkeley. Her work distils forty years of French theory from important theorists in the field including the likes of Simone De Beauvoir, Julia Kristeva, Jacques Lacan, Lousis Althusser, Jacques Derrida and MichelFoucault. In short she is held in high regard in the academic world. However, something tells me that you will be unimpressed with all this “non-scientific rubbish” with its “whining feminists” and its aloof non-connection with “reality”.

    Have you ever heard of dysfunctionality from the norm? Have you ever heard of people having biological problems? Just today I came across dwarfism in the paper, a hormonal malfunction:
    But who defines what the “norm” is? Science tells us that there is variation within the species, but it is man which labels and determines the norm.

    Because the word woman originates from womb man a social construct has been formulated to minimize women? Frankly Neely this is so ridiculous. It defies common sense, let alone biology.
    It is obviously much more complicated than that, Butler is not easy going stuff, but something tells me you would be entirely dismissive of it as “liberal arts” nonsense anyway.

    So you want me to believe that hormonal differences cause all sorts of physical differences between the sexes but they have no effect on personality? The feminists whine about about male patriarchy but can they name a single culture in the history of humanity where there wasn't male and female disticntions? Is it a coincidence that over the thousands of cultures we know of that no matriarchy as ever existed and that they all had male/female distinctions? Just a coincidence? Thousands of cultures with all having a similar social construct? How ridiculous. Again look at the animal world and you will see male and female traits. They weren't learned.
    I’m sure that hormones do have an effect on personality to some smaller degree, but I am sure that it is the cultural which determines identity, much more than hormones or anything which science can explore, however interesting science is, it is to social and cultural theorists we need to turn to in order to learn about social and cultural things. So for example, would you wear a skirt to walk down the street? I'm guessing not, but why not? It is just, after all, a piece of cloth to protect you from the elements. However, it is the cultural and social construction that attaches that particular piece of clothing a label of femininity, and isn’t that mental conditioning so strong, so ingrained in the psyche? However if you change culture and you go to Scotland a wear a kilt (which is just a skirt under a different name) the social connotation is one that is inherently masculine. It is the cultural which determines the ideal of masculine and feminine, which as I said previously is quite transient and therefore of course there are going to be differences amongst what it means to be male and female, over time and place, but they mostly culturally determined. Unless you want to argue that it is hormones that decides who should wear a piece of cloth that we give the name "skirt"?

  2. #17
    seasonably mediocre Il Penseroso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neely View Post
    But who defines what the “norm” is? Science tells us that there is variation within the species, but it is man which labels and determines the norm.


    So for example, would you wear a skirt to walk down the street? I'm guessing not, but why not? It is just, after all, a piece of cloth to protect you from the elements. However, it is the cultural and social construction that attaches that particular piece of clothing a label of femininity
    Are you equating an article of clothing with the cognitive processes involved in learning? That seems rather simplistic. Scientific studies (I'd have to find my linguistics textbook for specific reference, but I can do that if you'd like) have shown that there are early differences in how young boys and young girls behave and manifest themselves in learning environments. Sudies of apes, such as bobonos in the Congo, as well as chimpanzees, have shown differences between female apes and male apes in temperaments demonstrated in problem-solving. Is that also a matter of the culture solely?

    Biological differences are real and they impact learning preferences. I just don't think enhancing classroom competition is the most productive way to benefit overall learning.
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  3. #18
    What article on clothing? I'm just giving an example from off the top of my head on how we as a culture attach feminine and masculine constructs to inanimate objects. Is a piece of cloth that you wrap around your legs inherently male or female? No. Is the colour pink a girl’s colour? No. Is blue a boy’s colour. No. Such things are culturally fabricated, and if these things are, then what else is also picked up? What signs are present in society to tell us how we should behave?

    As I said I am sure that hormones do make a difference as to how young children behave and that biology is important, but I’m also sure that culture and language plays a huge role in shaping who we are as individuals.

    As someone who also works in a classroom (in the real world too, I’ll have you know) I can see that the sex of pupil does, on the whole, seem to make a difference, generally speaking, in learning styles and outcomes. For example, in the top bands of English, girls tend to come out on top, whereas in maths boys tend to have the upper hand slightly, though not as much as the girls do in English. This is backed up with statistics across the board, throughout the country generally – this appears to be a biological difference, appears to be, though I would hazard a thought that even some of that could be put down to cultural pressures. For example “poetry” is often seen as a “soft” subject, something that is not very masculine, and although we know this is nonsense, I’ve seen boys with my own eyes completely disengaged by the thought of having to study a “girly” module, "gay" it tends to get called. I think on the whole though, this difference is more down to the fact that girls tend to mature at an earlier age than boys, which seems to have an significant impact on learning, but my point is even here, don’t dismiss cultural construction out of hand; it plays an important part of forming our so called “natural” identity, much more than people realise, or it seems, will even entertain...
    Last edited by LitNetIsGreat; 12-29-2009 at 06:47 PM.

  4. #19
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Il Penseroso View Post
    I construe it to be "serious damage" if children grow up with the expectation that obliviousness toward others is acceptable. The original quotes the author of that article uses are laughable themselves; the parents saying "give it your best shot and have fun" are the progressives, in reality, and at one extreme you have parents who force their children into the view that winning is an object in itself without regard for their treatment of others (the other side) and in defiance of referees or other authority figures (potentially teachers). I see it as potentially damaging for players to learn from role models (their parents) who emphasize success in sports as the numerical ratio of wins to losses over relationships and fun. That is the hazard of a too competitive approach to eduction; students lose sight of the rewards of an education and see grades and such as the determining factor over what they get from classes.
    I don't know. I agree that parent's obnoxiously pushing kids in sports is not the best of all worlds, but i would have to see some statistics to be convinced it led to serious damage. Are they more likely to commit crimes or get into drugs? If you showed me something like that I would agree.

    Virgil,
    What are you advocating here? If you acknowledge differences in the mentality of boys vs. girls, do you think it is appropriate to segregate the sexes in early grades? Give them different educations? How do you see reports like that above impacting actual education procedures?
    I'm not an educator. I don't know what specific thing to advocate. But like I've mentioned, there was a coordinate effort to assist women in the last thirty years, and it's apparently worked. So I'd advocate a plan to assist boys now. There have been studies that show that girls do better in school in an all girls environment. I don't know if that applies to boys. Probably not, but we need to study it and come up with new approaches.


    Quote Originally Posted by Neely View Post
    Because academics don’t live in the real world! Though I am hardly an academic, you flatter me there, no just a part-time student and sort of a trainee teacher. I don’t read papers for the reasons I gave before.


    Judith Butler’s CV is quite impressive. Her “Gender Trouble” is arguably the most influential theoretical text of the 1990s which, as well as being an important feminist piece, was one of the founding texts of Queer Theory. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Yale University in philosophy and has taught at Johns Hopkins University and at the University of California at Berkeley. Her work distils forty years of French theory from important theorists in the field including the likes of Simone De Beauvoir, Julia Kristeva, Jacques Lacan, Lousis Althusser, Jacques Derrida and MichelFoucault. In short she is held in high regard in the academic world. However, something tells me that you will be unimpressed with all this “non-scientific rubbish” with its “whining feminists” and its aloof non-connection with “reality”.
    I am an engineer. I am completely unimpressed with anyone making scientific claims without any scientific schooling or experience. Period.

    But who defines what the “norm” is? Science tells us that there is variation within the species, but it is man which labels and determines the norm.
    Because the relationship between personality, hormones, and the brain and its maturity is largely not fully understood, identifying a norm is vague. But that's because we are in virgin territory. Since the brain and its functions remain undiscovered, it leads to all sorts of non scientists to come up with all sorts of nonsense theories, like vocabulary determines gender identity. Or should I even mention the nonsense about an Oedipal Complex. When we understand this relationship better, we will be able to identify norms and abnormalities. But I can tell you this with absolute confidence, having the urge to cut one's penis off and form a vagina - or what is supposed to pass for a vagina - between one's legs is not normal.

    I’m sure that hormones do have an effect on personality to some smaller degree, but I am sure that it is the cultural which determines identity, much more than hormones or anything which science can explore, however interesting science is, it is to social and cultural theorists we need to turn to in order to learn about social and cultural things. So for example, would you wear a skirt to walk down the street? I'm guessing not, but why not? It is just, after all, a piece of cloth to protect you from the elements. However, it is the cultural and social construction that attaches that particular piece of clothing a label of femininity, and isn’t that mental conditioning so strong, so ingrained in the psyche? However if you change culture and you go to Scotland a wear a kilt (which is just a skirt under a different name) the social connotation is one that is inherently masculine. It is the cultural which determines the ideal of masculine and feminine, which as I said previously is quite transient and therefore of course there are going to be differences amongst what it means to be male and female, over time and place, but they mostly culturally determined. Unless you want to argue that it is hormones that decides who should wear a piece of cloth that we give the name "skirt"?
    What you are describing there is cultural diversity, not gender identity. If men from Scotland feel that a kilt is masculine, then it is. It becomes identified with masculinity and therefore it's part of male identity. That doesn't support your argument at all. But I will take solace in your first sentence in that paragraph. Let's leave it that a complex interaction between hormones and brain function and development occurs to form personality, which includes gender identity. I guess we agree to some degree.

    Quote Originally Posted by Il Penseroso View Post
    Are you equating an article of clothing with the cognitive processes involved in learning? That seems rather simplistic. Scientific studies (I'd have to find my linguistics textbook for specific reference, but I can do that if you'd like) have shown that there are early differences in how young boys and young girls behave and manifest themselves in learning environments. Sudies of apes, such as bobonos in the Congo, as well as chimpanzees, have shown differences between female apes and male apes in temperaments demonstrated in problem-solving. Is that also a matter of the culture solely?

    Biological differences are real and they impact learning preferences.
    Thank you very much. Perhaps you said it better than I or it just took another reasonable voice to chime in, but i think we've made headway in persuasion.

    I just don't think enhancing classroom competition is the most productive way to benefit overall learning.
    I would love to run an experiment to find out. I think it's worthy of a few trials. Why not form the boys into teams, have practice studies, have them coordinate responsibilities, and then have oral and written competitions between them? When I was in high school I was part of the math team and we competed against other schools and that led to a playoff system and a championship. That was great. We wanted to beat the heck out of our rivals. I personally think the guy writing the article is on to something.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neely
    As someone who also works in a classroom (in the real world too, I’ll have you know) I can see that the sex of pupil does, on the whole, seem to make a difference, generally speaking, in learning styles and outcomes. For example, in the top bands of English, girls tend to come out on top, whereas in maths boys tend to have the upper hand slightly, though not as much as the girls do in English.
    Observation is the first step at science. Good for you. Now don't let all that other non scientific nonsense distort you views.

    Actually Neely, here's another one for you. If social construct is the predominant factor in gender identity, then why is it that there aren't whole groups of siblings that are transgender? Obviously the social construct within their families was pretty much the same for all the siblings, why is it only an isolated case here or there?
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  5. #20
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    My own experience of Primary school teaching is that there are few men, and this naturally has an effect upon the school culture. Many Primary schools in Coventry have no male staff, and I think this is reflected across the country.

    I honestly did feel sorry for the boys, (and myself). There was much more singing - and the staff were expected to join in enthusiastically! (miming saved me) - and a lot less sport. Sports day was avoided if possible, or was one of those pointless, non-competitve affairs. There were 4 male teachers in a school of 38 staff, and so I think there was a bias against the interests of young boys. I can't blame the female teachers - they were doing their job well. It did skew the culture though. The male colleagues and I used to moan about it in the staff room regularly.

    It continues to be a hot topic in he news too. In the Times today they were reporting that boys are significantly behind girls in writing when they get to Reception, (4-5 yrs). Gender differences and developmental factors were cited as the cause, and they were exploring ways of engaging boys in interesting ways to develop the fine motor skills for writing. It is a moot point though, whether this should be pushed at all.

    There is a problem with boys in school, and it begins early.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    I am an engineer. I am completely unimpressed with anyone making scientific claims without any scientific schooling or experience. Period.
    Of course, I agree with this statement Virgil. However, it is a scientific fact that a large amount of human behavior is learned. You need only look at the variety of cultural forms of gender to realize that it is substantially malleable. Gender expectations vary through different cultures and times. Concrete biological inclinations will colour the forms that gender norms take, but we shouldn't just accept what we expect of males to be what is the natural way of being "male".
    Last edited by OrphanPip; 12-30-2009 at 05:22 AM.
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    seasonably mediocre Il Penseroso's Avatar
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    Virgil,
    Linguistic studies of classroom behavior focusing on gender differences have shown males to act in a more dominant manner, asserting ideas as if to control classroom discussion. This is essentially a competitive endeavor; each male student attepts to manage the floor of debate or exchange of ideas by injecting his opinion over the ideas of others, often resorting to speedy responses without time for deeper thought and understanding. Particularly for high school age and below, do we really trust students' competitive nerves and emotional nature to sidestep themselves and allow truly balanced perspectives to develop?

    My question for you is whether or not this is really the most productive learning environment, for either males or females. If participation becomes a competition, dependent largely on power relationships developed between peers, what type of learning is taking place? Is it the fullest possible? Aren't more deliberative classroom environments better suited for developing real critical thinkers, capable of combining concepts to adapt to variables as they occur?

    Neely,
    My question was directed to what seems to me to be your linking of the internal processes of learning to an external article of clothing (your skirt example). The latter is, obviously, socially conditioned; however, the former is more open to debate, and perhaps (hopefully) impossible to quantify as far as which is the predominant influence. I agree that culture has an important influence over what interests individuals (generally reflected externally, especially amongst socially conscious teenagers), but I also think that biology plays an important role, particulalry when dealing with internal processes such as cognition.
    and somehow a dog
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  8. #23
    I am an engineer. I am completely unimpressed with anyone making scientific claims without any scientific schooling or experience. Period.
    She’s not making scientific claims, she’s a philosopher, a theorist, she is making cultural observations on a cultural topic, and she is one of the best and most important in her particular field – though like similar theorists not easy reading!

    Because the relationship between personality, hormones, and the brain and its maturity is largely not fully understood, identifying a norm is vague. But that's because we are in virgin territory. Since the brain and its functions remain undiscovered, it leads to all sorts of non scientists to come up with all sorts of nonsense theories, like vocabulary determines gender identity. Or should I even mention the nonsense about an Oedipal Complex. When we understand this relationship better, we will be able to identify norms and abnormalities. But I can tell you this with absolute confidence, having the urge to cut one's penis off and form a vagina - or what is supposed to pass for a vagina - between one's legs is not normal.
    Don’t forget that a large part of science is just theory too based on observations and speculations. If I’m right in remembering a scientific theory has to go a hell of a long way to actually be proven as a “fact”. I mean even what I would call the solid things like gravity and evolution have not yet passed into scientific “law” to the best of my knowledge, and evolution still seems to kick up a fuss. Just the other day I caught sight of a documentary about sharks (I though the kids would like it) and it showed sharks sleeping at the bottom of the ocean – this was obviously counter to the biology text book which I had at college showing a little diagram explaining that sharks needed to maintain a forward motion in order to breathe. That’s just a minor thing, but it goes to show that science is far from the solid rock some people take it for, science is largely theory too.

    As for literary theory, which by its very nature borrows from other from other disciplines such as politics, social, linguistic, psychology, philosophy amongst everything else, I can honestly say that it is the single most important thing that I have covered during my six years of undergraduate study. Theory naturally takes from other disciplines because in an attempt to understand the literature, it must try to understand the motivations of that literature, which it needs to turn to the outside world to do. So to understand a character in a novel we might find it fruitful to turn to psychology, in psychoanalysis. In examining the structures present in the novel, say the church, education – we might turn to political theory. Either way literary theory naturally borrows from other disciplines (even science) in order to interpret events in a plot or character in a work of literature or art. Think of literature just capturing a moment in time, for example a Victorian novel, it is also capturing, like a photograph, the thoughts and motivations of that particular period, which in turn could lead us to looking “outside” of the text in order to learn more about it, or at least to undercover potential areas of exploration.

    I would seriously consider theory a little before you totally dismiss it, what has been for me and many who study it, as a huge area of learning - sure it is not always applicable, but it is a great tool to have in the tool box! I would again recommend Peter Barry’s Beginning Theory, (Manchester University Press) as a great and lasting introductionary text on theory, though self-studying theory is not easy without the support of tutors and other students, you still might be able to gain a great deal by self-study. Your reaction to psychoanalysis is actually quite typical and not far off my position at all in starting literary theory, but when you start to see things from a psychoanalytical perspective in a text the evidence, like in science, seems to overwhelmingly mount up, that it is hard to be so dismissive of. Actually the Turn of the Screw is quite a handy set text of psychoanalysis if you’re still reading that then that is a great text to start on. If you’re interested ill post a few things in the relevant section if I have time, but myself I only have a foundation grip of theory, even after 2/3 years of studying theory on and off, I’m certainly not an expert or specialised in any one particular branch.

    (With the vocabulary thing it is rather the other way round: vocabulary doesn’t determine gender identity, it is gender roles that helped to determine vocabulary. So for example in the past very few women worked down the sewers, (bless them not a women’s job?!) so they got the name “manhole” by default. Women in the past couldn’t possibly be trusted to run a large company so the title of “chairman” became the natural default. There is no term for a female teacher in France, I believe, because, bless them again, surely women aren’t bright enough to teach at the highest level? And then as we label things in nature, like “lion” and “lioness”, the male of the species is the default term – because it is a man that is deciding the labels! And as you look at the world around you, as you look at “mankind” you can see how language suits the dominant male party and why some feminists, or even non-feminists don’t think such terms are quite fair. Anyway, such a point was only really a minor footnote.)
    Observation is the first step at science. Good for you. Now don't let all that other non scientific nonsense distort you views.
    See my above post about theory, and don’t be so dismissive.


    Actually Neely, here's another one for you. If social construct is the predominant factor in gender identity, then why is it that there aren't whole groups of siblings that are transgender? Obviously the social construct within their families was pretty much the same for all the siblings, why is it only an isolated case here or there?
    Social construction is a factor in determining gender, but not the sex of the individual. What you are really talking about here is the sexual identity of a person which actually brings up a whole new nest of bees – which I may stir at a later date, but would perhaps rather not! Though in short I think the “sex” of an individual is quite inherent from birth, as I said, as Butler would state, but her main point, and it would be worth reading Foucault here too, is that such categories of “male” “female” “transsexual” etc, are quite unstable notions in themselves.

    Neely,
    My question was directed to what seems to me to be your linking of the internal processes of learning to an external article of clothing (your skirt example). The latter is, obviously, socially conditioned; however, the former is more open to debate, and perhaps (hopefully) impossible to quantify as far as which is the predominant influence. I agree that culture has an important influence over what interests individuals (generally reflected externally, especially amongst socially conscious teenagers), but I also think that biology plays an important role, particulalry when dealing with internal processes such as cognition.
    OK, I'll let you off the hook...
    Last edited by LitNetIsGreat; 12-30-2009 at 12:41 PM.

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    The value of any piece of cultural criticism decreases every time it mentions "political correctness."

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    veni vidi vixi Bakiryu's Avatar
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    we should just throw them into a snake pit and be done with it. pfft. men.
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  11. #26
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrphanPip View Post
    Of course, I agree with this statement Virgil. However, it is a scientific fact that a large amount of human behavior is learned. You need only look at the variety of cultural forms of gender to realize that it is substantially malleable. Gender expectations vary through different cultures and times. Concrete biological inclinations will colour the forms that gender norms take, but we shouldn't just accept what we expect of males to be what is the natural way of being "male".
    First I am not going to put myself forth as an expert or even someone who has done any study in this area. But let me put forth this hypothesis. Like I addressed the kilt as hypothetically masculine in Scotland, there is cultural behavior that overlays our identities, but at the root there is still something biological which is masculine and feminine. How that gets intertwined must be incredibly complex, but it is evident there are levels of hormonal differences (possibly even brain structure) between the sexes. Just look at the different energy levels of boys. Look at the predominance toward the physical in teen boys. Look at aptitudes. Those are not culturally learned. I would expect those go across cultures. Cultural identity is masking over certain gender innateness, but it's there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Il Penseroso View Post
    Virgil,
    Linguistic studies of classroom behavior focusing on gender differences have shown males to act in a more dominant manner, asserting ideas as if to control classroom discussion. This is essentially a competitive endeavor; each male student attepts to manage the floor of debate or exchange of ideas by injecting his opinion over the ideas of others, often resorting to speedy responses without time for deeper thought and understanding. Particularly for high school age and below, do we really trust students' competitive nerves and emotional nature to sidestep themselves and allow truly balanced perspectives to develop?

    My question for you is whether or not this is really the most productive learning environment, for either males or females. If participation becomes a competition, dependent largely on power relationships developed between peers, what type of learning is taking place? Is it the fullest possible? Aren't more deliberative classroom environments better suited for developing real critical thinkers, capable of combining concepts to adapt to variables as they occur?
    All I'm saying is it's worth a study. I don't know and you don't know. In my career as an engineer, i have been continually surprised at what turns out to work and what doesn't. That's actually ther difference between an inexperienced engineer and one with experience. The best engineering teacher I ever had in college stressed that assumptions almost always lead you astray. You have to work out the equations and run the experiments. Look at the assumptions Neely and the Judith Butler types make. Until you run an experiment I can't predict. Utalizing what seems to be an innate competitiveness to boys is an interesting hypothesis worth putting to the test.
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  12. #27
    TobeFrank Paulclem's Avatar
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    I don't know much about the theories, science etc, but when it comes to education you have to remember that the kids have already gone through a number of developmental stages and the teaching environment needs to provide the best learning model for the kids.
    Of course this doesn't happen. It is pot luck whether your kid will get a sympathetic and understanding teacher, let alone one who can try to adapt to the needs of the pupils. I would have liked to have tried the Australian method of 15 mins pysical exercise before lessons in the primary school I worked in. It was supposedly good for boys to do this, but there was absolutely no flexibility in the curriculum. I would have liked to have tried different teaching methods like mind mapping and using music, but didn't become aware of them until after I had left Primary school teaching to teach adults.

    Certainly there is a lack of role models and an apprecation of how boys learn. I don't know about the theories, but many of the boys I taught were more active, less attentive and less likely to fit into the one stop shop model of schooling that was offered them. You may not want boys sword fighting and playing war in school- which they definately wanted to - but conversely there was a palpable fear of the things that interested boys - sport, conflict, machines, adventure and competition.

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    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paulclem View Post
    My own experience of Primary school teaching is that there are few men, and this naturally has an effect upon the school culture. Many Primary schools in Coventry have no male staff, and I think this is reflected across the country.

    I honestly did feel sorry for the boys, (and myself). There was much more singing - and the staff were expected to join in enthusiastically! (miming saved me) - and a lot less sport. Sports day was avoided if possible, or was one of those pointless, non-competitve affairs. There were 4 male teachers in a school of 38 staff, and so I think there was a bias against the interests of young boys. I can't blame the female teachers - they were doing their job well. It did skew the culture though. The male colleagues and I used to moan about it in the staff room regularly.

    It continues to be a hot topic in he news too. In the Times today they were reporting that boys are significantly behind girls in writing when they get to Reception, (4-5 yrs). Gender differences and developmental factors were cited as the cause, and they were exploring ways of engaging boys in interesting ways to develop the fine motor skills for writing. It is a moot point though, whether this should be pushed at all.

    There is a problem with boys in school, and it begins early.
    Quote Originally Posted by Paulclem View Post
    I don't know much about the theories, science etc, but when it comes to education you have to remember that the kids have already gone through a number of developmental stages and the teaching environment needs to provide the best learning model for the kids.
    Of course this doesn't happen. It is pot luck whether your kid will get a sympathetic and understanding teacher, let alone one who can try to adapt to the needs of the pupils. I would have liked to have tried the Australian method of 15 mins pysical exercise before lessons in the primary school I worked in. It was supposedly good for boys to do this, but there was absolutely no flexibility in the curriculum. I would have liked to have tried different teaching methods like mind mapping and using music, but didn't become aware of them until after I had left Primary school teaching to teach adults.

    Certainly there is a lack of role models and an apprecation of how boys learn. I don't know about the theories, but many of the boys I taught were more active, less attentive and less likely to fit into the one stop shop model of schooling that was offered them. You may not want boys sword fighting and playing war in school- which they definately wanted to - but conversely there was a palpable fear of the things that interested boys - sport, conflict, machines, adventure and competition.
    Oh Paul, I didn't mean to ignore your first post. But I seemed to have by pass it accidently. I completely agree with you. It seems like you are experiencing the issue first hand and are looking for solutions. Anyone saying that it's not an issue is sticking their head in the sand.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    "Love follows knowledge." – St. Catherine of Siena

    My literature blog: http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/

  14. #29
    TobeFrank Paulclem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    Oh Paul, I didn't mean to ignore your first post. But I seemed to have by pass it accidently. I completely agree with you. It seems like you are experiencing the issue first hand and are looking for solutions. Anyone saying that it's not an issue is sticking their head in the sand.
    No worries Virgil - I didn't feel ignored. I merely felt I was adding a slightly different anecdotal perspective.

  15. #30
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neely View Post
    She’s not making scientific claims, she’s a philosopher, a theorist, she is making cultural observations on a cultural topic, and she is one of the best and most important in her particular field – though like similar theorists not easy reading!
    She's making biological claims when she says that gender identity is not innate/biological. Yes sir, she is making scientific claims.

    Don’t forget that a large part of science is just theory too based on observations and speculations. If I’m right in remembering a scientific theory has to go a hell of a long way to actually be proven as a “fact”. I mean even what I would call the solid things like gravity and evolution have not yet passed into scientific “law” to the best of my knowledge, and evolution still seems to kick up a fuss. Just the other day I caught sight of a documentary about sharks (I though the kids would like it) and it showed sharks sleeping at the bottom of the ocean – this was obviously counter to the biology text book which I had at college showing a little diagram explaining that sharks needed to maintain a forward motion in order to breathe. That’s just a minor thing, but it goes to show that science is far from the solid rock some people take it for, science is largely theory too.
    If science can go astray - and i've never said it can't - what makes you think that a social scientist (that term rubs me the wrong way because there is nothing scientific about it) can by pulling things out of the air or by intuition or by whatever magic you want to hang your hat on can understand biology? At one time it was intuition that it was in the semen that a baby was formed and placed into a woman's womb. Boy as that wrong biology.

    As for literary theory, which by its very nature borrows from other from other disciplines such as politics, social, linguistic, psychology, philosophy amongst everything else, I can honestly say that it is the single most important thing that I have covered during my six years of undergraduate study. Theory naturally takes from other disciplines because in an attempt to understand the literature, it must try to understand the motivations of that literature, which it needs to turn to the outside world to do. So to understand a character in a novel we might find it fruitful to turn to psychology, in psychoanalysis. In examining the structures present in the novel, say the church, education – we might turn to political theory. Either way literary theory naturally borrows from other disciplines (even science) in order to interpret events in a plot or character in a work of literature or art. Think of literature just capturing a moment in time, for example a Victorian novel, it is also capturing, like a photograph, the thoughts and motivations of that particular period, which in turn could lead us to looking “outside” of the text in order to learn more about it, or at least to undercover potential areas of exploration.
    I don't know how literary theory came into this, but I guess all that deconstruction nonsense all interweaves together. Look, this pseudo science is as valid as the intuition that the earth is flat, or that the sun revolves around, or that the earth was created 6000 years ago, or that evolution doesn't exist. All of these ideas were divined magically by people who weren't qualified to make such statements. At least they had the excuse that the scientific method wasn't understood yet. Judith Butler and all these deconstructionist, post structuralists, new historicism, feminsts, psychoanlytists (why are there so many? because they all jump from one divination to another? ), or whatever is the latests fad don't have that excuse.

    I guess the rest is repetition and no use going over the same ground. Let's leave it as we disagree. But it was fun.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    "Love follows knowledge." – St. Catherine of Siena

    My literature blog: http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/

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