I believe the education system in the USA has become more orientated towards girls than boys! Having been a school administrator at all school levels in two countries, I consider that I have been in school systems long enough to make this statement and here are the reasons for my observations:
1. Boys need physical activity to let off pent up energy. In many Education Districts in the USA, recess has been removed from our schools and physical education is usually available only a part of the week, semester or year. With these restrictions boys are less able to ‘get physical’.
2. Passivity does not enhance boys’ learning. Students sit still at desks nearly all day long. My experience is that girls are less affected by this style of learning than boys. The more senses involved in the learning process the better the mind has of retaining information. Boys and girls are wired differently and boys, in particular, need more multi-sense learning.
3. Boys need to learn practical skills. High Schools have removed most technical courses from their curriculum. For example, boys miss the hands-on experience of woodwork, engineering and motor mechanics - which also begs the question, "Will there be enough able tradesmen around for the future?" There used to be practical courses for girls, too, but those skill-builders have also been relegated to the schools' dumpster! Men are required to provide for their families and while some will be academic in their careers, many boys need to gain the kind of education that will allow them to become expert in practical skills.
4. Students need both male and female educational input. Most teachers in Elementary and Middle School are female. When a child comes from a single parent family where mom is the provider, it might be High School before the child has any significant male input. There are significantly fewer male teachers than female in our education system. Please don't drop the guillotine on my head! This is not anti-female diatribe. It's what's actually happening out there in our public school system. I am extremely aware of how male-oriented education was for centuries, but I think the pendulum has swung too far the other way.
What can we do to counteract what our education system, and therefore society, has become?
• Discuss the above concerns with other parents.
• Talk to education officials about making public education more boy-friendly.
• Talk to your local politicians.
How can we ensure our boys get enough physical activity and learning at home?
• Ensure they get plenty of vigorous daily outside exercise,
• Encourage play where boys have to use their initiative.
• Limit children's daily exposure to passive activities like watching TV and playing with technical gadgetry.
• If you are a single female parent, try to find a man amongst your relatives or friends who would be prepared to act in a modeling role for your son(s).
Do my comments imply that I'm not concerned about the education or welfare of girls? Not at all! They are being well catered for and my concern is that we work towards a balance, realizing that male and female needs and learning styles are different.
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