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Dr. Helen

“Boys are treated like defective girls.”

October 28th, 2013 - 5:50 am

Christina Hoff Sommers, author of The War Against Boys: How Misguided Policies are Harming Our Young Men, has an article in Time: What Schools Can Do to Help Boys Succeed:

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

Christina offers three suggestions to schools: Bring Back Recess, Turn Boys into Readers and Work With the Young Male Imagination. I agree but I wonder if we can trust schools not to botch up such suggestions. As the article points out, recess needs to be something boys want to do, not some dopey structured play, the books must be interesting to guys, not books that teachers think boys want to read or some list of acceptable PC material, and dealing with some boys being interested in war, weapons and pirates needs to be seen as normal, not aberrant behavior.

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All Comments   (20)
All Comments   (20)
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Rosemary Sutcliff's YA work is good. No wonderwoman and the wimp.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Going around with an English teacher--who gets it--and a couple of others. If Heinlein's stuff isn't available in quantity, try David Drake's RCN series.
Jim Kjelgaard is good, although not available in quantity for a class.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Christiana has three suggestions for the benefit of boys. Here are three for the girls:

1 - wean them off self-absorption

2 - inculcate self-reliance and a tougher mind

3 - praise and reward initiative and problem-solving behaviour

Boys that act up should be suppressed, not because rowdiness is 'messy', but because it's not serious and indifferent to mission. Children are defective ADULTS. Children grown to maturity are USELESS HUMAN BEINGS. That's enough now, eyes forward and attend to the lesson......'>.........
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Boys that act up should be suppressed,..."

Okay, now define "acting up". Because if the sum total of it is failure to follow "eyes forward and attend to the lesson......", you've pretty much defined boys' way of learning (active, participatory) as acting up at the outset.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
okay...... not respecting authority nor a less appealing presentation because your attention span is less than that of a gnat - or you're just being a little shi†. We're excessively in love of 'alternative learning styles'. One of the things we have to get past is that other people are not you and that reality isn't created in your head. A little tedium, frustration and twartment is a valid learning experience. You work against the person's nature to make her/him an adaptable human being. Warrior training, if you will.....'>.......
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
That's..... " Children grown to maturity (as children) are USELESS HUMAN BEINGS".....;p........
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
Time to return to gender segregated schools with men teaching boys and women teaching girls. Perhaps the feminists would even support it. The separation, that is. They would fight the funding and denigrate the schools as barbarian hatching grounds. It would still be better than the current system.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
"the books must be interesting to guys, not books that teachers think boys want to read or some list of acceptable PC material"

A thousand amens! Public Education taught me to hate reading because of reading assignments line A Separate Peace (incredibly depressing) and Catcher In They Rye (give me a break - I'm trying to avoid crass antisocial jerks like Holden Caulfield - I don't want that crap in first person narrative). The cure for that lesson began with vintage Heinlein, books like Tunnel in the Sky and The Star Beast.

(I graduated high school in '78.)
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
Having been a teacher at the junior high, high school and college level, I can state for a certainty that the greatest problem facing teachers, especially male teachers, is enforcing discipline and holding students to the grading standard.

Teachers are not allowed to enforce discipline. If a student gets out of line, it's the teacher's fault. In other words, the students can do whatever they want, and if the teacher speaks out about it, or god forbid files a discilprany report or even a tardy report, the teacher gets blamed for it.

Teachers are not allowed to enforce the grading standard. Basically, they are required to pass students regardless of their performance. Since the school gets paid by the government based on attendance and passing rates, the teacher cannot very well go about counting tardies and failing students.

I had this one class. It was a low level class. These kids were in the 9th grade but could barely perform at a 4th grade level. They could barely print, and some of them couldn't even spell their own names. They had been special ed all through junior high, and this was the first time they were mainstreamed. So I set up a writing schedule: Mondays, prewriting; Tuesdays, outlining; Wednesdays, writing; Thursdays, editing and rewriting; Fridays, proofreading.

Do you know how many tardy slips or disciplinary reports I had to file for these kids? None. The only times I called their parents were to tell them what good students their children were. Every day, they were on time, attentive, followed instructions, and completed their assignments. I let them write about whatever they wanted to write about--topic is of no relevance, what matters is structure, organization and development, grammar, punctuation and spelling. And one by one they would write their assignment, then bring it to me. I would look it over, mark the mistakes, and one by one they would return to their desks, correct their mistakes and rewrite their assignments. At the end of the week, they turned in tightly focussed, effectively organized, fully developed, error free papers. So I gave them all 100s. First time in their lives they had ever earned a 100. Now they were motivated.

Compare that with my honors class. These kids were supposed to be the best of the best. There was this one girl who was constantly tardy. It was like she thought she could just walk in to class whenever she wanted, sit down and start talking. Not paying attention, not following instructions, disrupting class. I was like, who are you, little Miss High School? I called her parents repeatedly to discuss her behavior.

When she turned her paper in, it was full of mistakes. So I gave her the grade she deserved, the lowest grade I was allowed to give her, a 50. You wouldn't believe the grief I took for that. Turns out that one of my low level students, Johnny, was her next door neighbor. He got a 100. And her parents threw a fit.

They came down to the shool, ranting and raving. "Our daughter has never gotten a grade below 90! Johnny is barely out of special ed. How can he make a 100 and our daughter make a 50?" They were very upset.

I said, well, this is Johnny's prewriting. He doesn't print well, but you'll notice there are no mistakes. He corrected them. This is Johnny's outline and rough draft. This is Johnny's final draft. You'll notice there are no mistakes.

This is my phone log of how many times I've called you to discuss your daughter's behavior. These are all the tardy slips I've had to file on her and these are all the disciplinary reports I've had to file on her. She didn't turn in her prewriting, she didn't turn in an outline, she didn't turn in a rough draft, she didn't edit or rewrite her rough draft, and when she turned in her final paper it was full of mistakes. Your daughter can't even spell.

That didn't go over very well. Of course, what happened was the next semester the principal took away all of my honors classes and gave me only lower level classes. Apparently, informing parents and giving their children the grades they deserve is unacceptable in this establishment.

That's teaching these days. That happened about 12 years ago, but I can only imagine it has gotten worse.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
This may not be the proper forum to thank Dr. Helen for her book that I read but thank you Dr. Helen for writing this book. Unfortunately, when I talk to other people(men and women) about these issues I am rejected as being to paranoid or I am told to "man up".
Ok, sorry on topic now! Since I am 45 I remember a day when recess was fun and we were able to run around and use our fingers as fake guns as cops and robbers or cowboys. Just young boy stuff. Unfortunately, today, this is frowned upon in some schools as not normal and even violent behavior. And all to often the public just accepts this as something the boys need to stop doing. This all goes to a broader approach to PC the population as a whole. The media is being used as a major tool for this because unfortunately people in this country (USA) watch way to much television. We are slyly and slowly being turned into a country of civilians that cannot think for themselves. Proof to myself of this is that I don't watch a whole lot of tv so I can still think for myself. Logically and objectively. While some of my friends which I know have the boob tube on constantly always think the same as the lame PC shows and lame PC commercials. In a way this is our own fault for creating television, radio, and print gods that are used to manipulate our way of thinking, whether it is accurate or not. Most of the time the media portrayal of PC topics is is not accurate and feeds on the emotional and subjective state of the citizens. This is why I do not watch a lot of television. Most of the shows and commercials just insult my intelligence. I think some people have watched so much crap on the boob tube that they actually think that some TV shows and commercials depict reality when in fact they do not.
I form my opinions on PC topics based on what I see around me. Of course this is only my small corner of the world. But I can no longer depend on the media to give me an accurate view of the big picture! So, when I talk to the media brainwashed people about PC topics I sometimes seem to offend people. But I am just basing my unpopular opinions on how I see people act and what they say. And the actions and ravings of so called PC victims are in no way the same as the media protrays them to be! Sorry for the length of this but as a 45 year old male witnessing the villianization of the white amercian male i am sick and tired of this crap! I have already(for the past 10 years of so) have implemented a lifestyle discussed in Dr. Hellen's book , "Men on Stike". And one thing is certain is if males decide to move out of this country in mass quantities then there goes the tax base that supports the PC movement and entitlement programs. So keep it up and they will have nobody to support them because in my experience(albeit limited) the PC movement and entitlement crowd feel they do not have to work so no taxes for these programs anymore!!!
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24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
Home schooling works. And Well.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
I believe that all remedy's are in vain, and, we will ride this out to the end. A world filled with fear of risk, which really the fear of boys being boys is a small part of the larger world of 'don't do this', don't say that', don't display this'. It so permeates our daily lives we unfortunately have surrendered to it already. Fear of liability leads the way. Where to?
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
The verse quotes were from Thomas Babbington Macauley's (sp?) 'The Lays of Ancient Rome'. Verse that made you believe in something bigger than yourself.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
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