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Subject: Boys in the modern classroom rss

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Paul W
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This video came to my attention on Facebook, so I thought I'd post it here for comment:



The main thesis is that the structure of classrooms these days puts boys at a disadvantage because of reduced active time in school, as well as a focus on topics (in particular with reading) that systematically appeal to girls more than boys.

At any rate, I thought it was interesting and I'm sympathetic to at least some of the statements and conclusions. It's certainly true that as a group girls have better test scores and grades than boys and more girls than boys are going to college. I also think that zero tolerance policies have gone way overboard in reacting to aggression and fail to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy manifestations thereof...which in turn disproportionately results in suspensions and expulsion of boys.

I think the "War on Boys" rhetoric is certainly hyperbole...but then, I'm assuming it's a riff on the equally ridiculous "War on Women" phrase.

Anyway, it was engaging enough that I figured I'd post for comment...what do you agree with, what do you take issue with, and why am I an idiot for posting this?
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Jarek Szczepanik
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IMO, there's some merit in this film. The question is, to what degree, is being a boy/girl (in terms of behaviour during childhood) a case of our evolutionary heritage and to what degree is it only gender (social imprinting)? Regardless of the answer, if there's really 50% of children who don't fit into a school model, and this 50% happens to be almost entirely boys, then something is wrong with the system (they haven't shown whether the differences in boys and girls' achievements were statistically significant).

I'm proud of the advances of 'the equality crusade'. But I'm afraid, that in many countries, men are forgotten and left behind. Creating a society based on equality means not only granting women the rights they lack, but also educating men why such changes are important, why are they made and helping them with redefining their manhood (there's an abyss between the representation of man in popular culture and the average or socially 'expected' man). Maybe it's a representation of this very problem?
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Junior McSpiffy
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I'm just waiting for Sue to unleash an exasperated sigh.
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Chad
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We are sending our son (and planning on sending our daughters) to a single sex high school.

So far for our son, it has been fantastic - less drama, less macho BS and a whole lot more learning.
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Josh
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The rhetorical games in the film were nauseating, but then I'm good at spotting those things and they always piss me off(makes watching news hard).

It seems the film is talking about a change in values rather than a 'war on boys'. Different things are prized in the modern classroom, and society has different needs and requirements of people living in it. To break it down into 'boys vs girls' is divisive and shallow.

The inclusion of the 'zero tolerance' line pretends to lend credibility to the other much more biased and conjectural elements of the movie. That's one play that really struck me. 'Oh look you can agree with this one thing, so agree with all of it!'

Anyway, I'd say the piece is tripe front to back. It may be *about* trends that may be worth discussing, but it's a shit vehicle for opening the discussion because it pisses right into the well from step one.
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Paul W
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Interesting, I don't think I see the trends as reflecting a "different needs and requirements" of members of society. Could you elaborate on what you mean by that, and how you think classroom changes help meet those needs?

I certainly agree that the "War on Boys" rhetoric is stupid and unproductive, but the stats about girls getting better grades and going to college at higher rates are real, so I don't think the gender angle is a red herring.
 
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Junior McSpiffy
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fizzmore wrote:
Interesting, I don't think I see the trends as reflecting a "different needs and requirements" of members of society. Could you elaborate on what you mean by that, and how you think classroom changes help meet those needs?


Less shirtless flexing.
 
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Josh
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fizzmore wrote:
Interesting, I don't think I see the trends as reflecting a "different needs and requirements" of members of society. Could you elaborate on what you mean by that, and how you think classroom changes help meet those needs?

I certainly agree that the "War on Boys" rhetoric is stupid and unproductive, but the stats about girls getting better grades and going to college at higher rates are real, so I don't think the gender angle is a red herring.


Our old curriculum comes from a time of expanding horizons, warfare, conquering, settling, etc. All good old fashioned red meat testosterone laden activities. Under that system girls languished and boys excelled. Competition, exceptionalism, factions, a lot of the elements of traditional education suited males and the time period better.

Now we're looking at new challenges. There are fewer horizons, and those that exist are going to be overcome through teamwork and collaboration rather than rugged individualism. Horizons aside population density and intercultural mingling mean that communication, networking, and 'touchy feely' estrogen laden skills are going to be much more important than they were previously.

Lets not pretend that testosterone is being banished from schools altogether. There's still plenty of sports, competitions, and other competitive activities to be undertaken.

I think things are definitely in transition and fine tuning will be in order along the way. Both schools and us as a people will need to continue to grow and adjust. The flagging grades are more a sign of the adjustment period than of any war on boys. Rather than 'how do we change these lessons for boys?' the question should be 'how do we make these lessons appeal to boys?' The difference is in the presentation, not in the content.
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Jon Badolato
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I am not so sure the stats about girls have anything to do with a "War on Boys". In my experience boys typically face more peer pressure to dumb things down or to not appear too intelligent. Our society doesn't value intelligence nearly as much as being a "jock" or being physically dominant. This societal tendency is causing ( to some extent ) the disparity between girls and boys in the classroom. It's not the only reason by any means but it is there.
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Paul W
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Shadrach wrote:
fizzmore wrote:
Interesting, I don't think I see the trends as reflecting a "different needs and requirements" of members of society. Could you elaborate on what you mean by that, and how you think classroom changes help meet those needs?

I certainly agree that the "War on Boys" rhetoric is stupid and unproductive, but the stats about girls getting better grades and going to college at higher rates are real, so I don't think the gender angle is a red herring.


Our old curriculum comes from a time of expanding horizons, warfare, conquering, settling, etc. All good old fashioned red meat testosterone laden activities. Under that system girls languished and boys excelled. Competition, exceptionalism, factions, a lot of the elements of traditional education suited males and the time period better.

Now we're looking at new challenges. There are fewer horizons, and those that exist are going to be overcome through teamwork and collaboration rather than rugged individualism. Horizons aside population density and intercultural mingling mean that communication, networking, and 'touchy feely' estrogen laden skills are going to be much more important than they were previously.

Lets not pretend that testosterone is being banished from schools altogether. There's still plenty of sports, competitions, and other competitive activities to be undertaken.

I think things are definitely in transition and fine tuning will be in order along the way. Both schools and us as a people will need to continue to grow and adjust. The flagging grades are more a sign of the adjustment period than of any war on boys. Rather than 'how do we change these lessons for boys?' the question should be 'how do we make these lessons appeal to boys?' The difference is in the presentation, not in the content.


I don't think I agree. I mean, I absolutely agree that cooperation and teamwork are vital skills, but I don't think those skills are inherently in opposition to aggression, which in its best form manifests as ambition, leadership, and vision. I think that trying to fight or suppress those impulses is both unnecessary and counterproductive.
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Josh
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fizzmore wrote:
Shadrach wrote:
fizzmore wrote:
Interesting, I don't think I see the trends as reflecting a "different needs and requirements" of members of society. Could you elaborate on what you mean by that, and how you think classroom changes help meet those needs?

I certainly agree that the "War on Boys" rhetoric is stupid and unproductive, but the stats about girls getting better grades and going to college at higher rates are real, so I don't think the gender angle is a red herring.


Our old curriculum comes from a time of expanding horizons, warfare, conquering, settling, etc. All good old fashioned red meat testosterone laden activities. Under that system girls languished and boys excelled. Competition, exceptionalism, factions, a lot of the elements of traditional education suited males and the time period better.

Now we're looking at new challenges. There are fewer horizons, and those that exist are going to be overcome through teamwork and collaboration rather than rugged individualism. Horizons aside population density and intercultural mingling mean that communication, networking, and 'touchy feely' estrogen laden skills are going to be much more important than they were previously.

Lets not pretend that testosterone is being banished from schools altogether. There's still plenty of sports, competitions, and other competitive activities to be undertaken.

I think things are definitely in transition and fine tuning will be in order along the way. Both schools and us as a people will need to continue to grow and adjust. The flagging grades are more a sign of the adjustment period than of any war on boys. Rather than 'how do we change these lessons for boys?' the question should be 'how do we make these lessons appeal to boys?' The difference is in the presentation, not in the content.


I don't think I agree. I mean, I absolutely agree that cooperation and teamwork are vital skills, but I don't think those skills are inherently in opposition to aggression, which in its best form manifests as ambition, leadership, and vision. I think that trying to fight or suppress those impulses is both unnecessary and counterproductive.


Aggression is good for building a focused homogeneous team. The kind of team that will build a bridge, settle a wasteland, or win a war. This is a good thing, and something much needed at one point(and still needed to a degree today!) it is very bad for building a more open team accepting of diverse inputs and roles. The kind of team that will tackle complex environmental, exoglobal, and societal problems. As I said previously I don't see this as replacing one with the other wholesale so much as re-balancing the mixture more in favor of what is needed with the problems we face. It can always swing back the other way in the future if needs demand it as well.
 
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Philip Thomas
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Many of these things seem familiar from my own education (which was in the 1980s so still "the modern classroom" I guess. Although my education was single sex from age 7, stories about monsters devouring cities were still going to get you less marks than stories developing a personal narrative.

On the other hand, I certainly wouldn't have wanted to read the Guiness Book of Records at that age (I was given copies for my birthday, but I never read them more than a few pages).
 
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Xander Fulton
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Shadrach wrote:
Our old curriculum comes from a time of expanding horizons, warfare, conquering, settling, etc.
...
Now we're looking at new challenges. There are fewer horizons, and those that exist are going to be overcome through teamwork and collaboration rather than rugged individualism.


Well, that just sounds like "giving up", that's what that does!

There's only fewer horizons if you've stopped looking for them, because you've decided it's time to be introverted...
 
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James Stein
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I strongly suspect it's got more to do with this figure: 76% of US public school teachers are female.
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Philip Thomas
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CaffeineBot wrote:
I strongly suspect it's got more to do with this figure: 76% of US public school teachers are female.


Well, if that is the "problem" then it is hardly a "modern" problem. Female teachers have been common for many centuries...
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Scott Russell
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I am eagerly awaiting the forces of political correctness to start programs tailored at giving boys extra help, scholarships just for boys and quotas to even out the male to female ratio for college entrants.

There are certainly some changes in class format away from direct competition and into more group based activities. This plays more into female (imprinted or instinctual) strengths. My favorite memories of elementary were the chalkboard races (two or three kids at the blackboard given a math problem, first one done stays up), spelling bees, public star charts for reading, SRA, handing out tests in grade order, etc. None of those were part of my kids' curricula. We are afraid to make kids feel bad for losing, even though that is a good motivator for many kids.

Josh mentioned that testosterone still has outlets at schools, but I think the outlets that are there are not available until middle to high school for sports. Even at recess the more active activities have been curtailed. No tag, freeze tag, football, etc. Soccer was about the only direct competition allowed at recess in my kids' elementary recess. Even then, moving competition to sports rather than academics means boys will excel more at sports rather than classes, is that really a good thing?
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Ken
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Having boy-girl twins who are now finishing their Sophomore year, I've had years of experiencing the boy-girl differences. And I think the video is really crap. Not only crap, it's crap that actually covers-up real problems. For example:

1. Ending recess isn't about lack of activity for kids, it's an attack on boys. Similarly, banning tag or dodge ball isn't about liability or enabling some forms of bullying, it's an attack on boys.

2. Zero-tolerance policies aren't bad because they're stupid, they're bad because they target boys.

3. Academic achievement between boys and girls is different because girls are given some form of preferential treatment rather than possibly reflecting broader differences in the way that society paints gender and behavior.

I mean, there's some value to making lots of the changes that are there. Kids should have recess. Zero-tolerance policies are stupid. But those have nothing to do with "boys" or "girls".

I can't say as I'm particularly surprised - it's "Prager University" and the American Enterprise Institute. They have an agenda that strikes me as latching on to any perceived differences and magnifying them in ridiculous ways, often to the detriment of their argument.

Why couldn't they do the piece without the stupid gender-casting in the first place? They touch on some real issues, but mask them by adding this layer of "government is making it hard on boys through public education." Dump the silly hyperbole and there's a much better conversation to be had.
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perfalbion wrote:
Having boy-girl twins who are now finishing their Sophomore year, I've had years of experiencing the boy-girl differences. And I think the video is really crap. Not only crap, it's crap that actually covers-up real problems. For example:

1. Ending recess isn't about lack of activity for kids, it's an attack on boys. Similarly, banning tag or dodge ball isn't about liability or enabling some forms of bullying, it's an attack on boys.

2. Zero-tolerance policies aren't bad because they're stupid, they're bad because they target boys.

3. Academic achievement between boys and girls is different because girls are given some form of preferential treatment rather than possibly reflecting broader differences in the way that society paints gender and behavior.

I mean, there's some value to making lots of the changes that are there. Kids should have recess. Zero-tolerance policies are stupid. But those have nothing to do with "boys" or "girls".

I can't say as I'm particularly surprised - it's "Prager University" and the American Enterprise Institute. They have an agenda that strikes me as latching on to any perceived differences and magnifying them in ridiculous ways, often to the detriment of their argument.

Why couldn't they do the piece without the stupid gender-casting in the first place? They touch on some real issues, but mask them by adding this layer of "government is making it hard on boys through public education." Dump the silly hyperbole and there's a much better conversation to be had.


As the parent of two boys and a girl, one boy still in elementary school - Ken is full of shit... I have 50% more anecdotes than him to draw my conclusions from. The video is spot on and the lady sums up the real crisis of boys nicely. Only a partisan moron claims data and information is bad because of the source.

The real proof is in advertising... as is the case for everything else on Earth from marketing climate crisis to selling iPhones. So... a Levi-Strauss ad from my era depicting the male image us boys were presented with:



And now... after a few decades of trying to force boys into some sort of feminine fantasy of masculinity without the masculine part we get this:




Ouch. That guy needs to play some fucking dodge ball, get into a few playground brawls and man up a bit. He looks like a flat-chested dyke who works out too much and has mirrors on every door in the apartment.
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J
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DWTripp wrote:
So... a Levi-Strauss ad from my era depicting the male image us boys were presented with:

The difference being that horses are not the main form of transportation any more, those ads went out with the buggy whips.
 
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Ken
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jmilum wrote:
DWTripp wrote:
So... a Levi-Strauss ad from my era depicting the male image us boys were presented with:

The difference being that horses are not the main form of transportation any more, those ads went out with the buggy whips.


Actually, I think it's perfect that DW linked to a bunch of stupid ads. It reflects the surface of the problem without actually bothering to contemplate any depth whatsoever. It focuses on the superficial and silly without having to actually examine the fundamentals.

Oh, and DW - I have one behind the twins, so you have 0% more experience than me where it comes to kids in the education system. All three are currently in school, so right now, I have 200% more experience with our current education system than you. And, if you bothered to actually respond to what I wrote, I noted that there are actual issues I think we should address that are in the video, but those are made silly by making them some form of reactionary crap rather than a real problem to be addressed.

Not that I actually would expect you to bother to do so. Far better to build on a stupid meme than actually talk about the problem.
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Drew1365 wrote:
I'm curious why the reaction to this video has fallen along RSP's usual partisan lines? Aren't the trends such that everyone should be concerned? (In particular parents of boys.)

Or are some of you so defensive about government education (and so invested in the "War on Women" meme) that you can't open your minds just a crack?

This isn't anything new. Summers wrote about this back in 2000.

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2000/05/the-war-...

http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/s/sommers-war.html

http://ideas.time.com/2013/08/19/school-has-become-too-hosti...

It's title is not a response to the fake "War on Women" meme. The book is 14 years old! It's been talked about over the last year because she came out with an updated and revised edition of her 2000 book. Because things aren't getting any better for boys.

They are growing up and they are just checking out.


Actually drew if you read instead of scanned the responses you'd see several of us 'libtards' (I don't self identify liberal but I know the label you prefer) are quite open to discussing the problem of underachieving and meansto address it. We just find the hackneyed conserf rhetoric she's spewing and the childish corrolation equals causation logic she's using to be entirely unhelpful to any discussion.
 
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Shawn Fox
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I don't have any kids myself but my sister has two boys and one girl. I agree with the video in many respects, I think modern education is a disaster for boys. The so called ADHD nonsense has always existed but now we can just drug the boys up so they go through school like zombies instead of actual people. We constantly tell them something is wrong with them and then act surprised when they don't have any motivation to do anything beyond playing video games and mastrubating to porn.
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Ken
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sfox wrote:
The so called ADHD nonsense...


Is not nonsense if you've ever actually encountered someone that has that particularly problem.

Quote:
...but now we can just drug the boys up...


Because doctors and parents aren't behaving particularly responsibly and don't actually apply the diagnostic criteria with a great deal of care.

None of which really has anything to do with the education system.
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jmilum wrote:
DWTripp wrote:
So... a Levi-Strauss ad from my era depicting the male image us boys were presented with:

The difference being that horses are not the main form of transportation any more, those ads went out with the buggy whips.


See? You're perfect example of the emasculated male. Instead of embracing equality for boys in a system that increasingly punishes male behavior and rewards females and males who act like females, you choose to side with stupidity.

FYI - there really are still horses. And there's even people who wear striped shirts, jump fences, ride horses and engage in physical activities. Some of them are actual men. Others are competent women who aren't cowed by masculine men. The ad is from the 50's. That's back when we had cars and roads and all kinds of stuff. Here's another example, also from the 50's:



Notice that the man looks like an actual man. And the young lady, while clearly feminine, doesn't look like some ineffectual and hopelessly incompetent female. I'd bet they both played dodge ball in elementary school and even if one of them got hit more than the others kids they didn't cry like babies and then grow up and become hateful school administrators with the sole goal of punishing anyone exhibiting male behavior.
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Lee Fisher
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You know horses are for girls right?
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