Bored, Bad and Out of Control: Do Boys Really Believe School Is Just a Place For Girls?
There’s no question that many disparities still exist in the workplace for women, especially as it relates to salary and opportunities for advancement. But when it comes to early education, boys may be the ones getting left behind. Of course it’s difficult to have conversations like these without getting into stereotypes of what makes a girl a girl and a boy a boy, but when we start thinking of the overarching culture of what makes each unique, the dialogue gets a little easier. Education researcher, Ali Carr-Chellman makes a great case for re-engaging boys in the act of learning — she says things like zero tolerance, the lack of male teachers in elementary schools and the high expectations of kindergarten students with respect to verbal skills sets boys up to feel completely out of sync with the education process.
Bottom line: many leave at the end of the day feeling that school is a place for girls. Could they be right?
Some of the facts Carr-Chellman cites in this presentation she delivered at the TEDxPSU conference:
- For every 100 girls suspended from school there are 250 boys
- For every 100 girls expelled from school there are 335 boys
- Boys are four times as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD
Zero Tolerance and Childhood Obesity: Is There a Connection?
As Ms. Carr-Chellman laid out the reasons for boys feeling left out, I couldn’t help thinking that these same constraints brought about by a zero tolerance approach to education and behavior might also be feeding childhood obesity rates since physical expression (read: acting out), and games such as capture the flag, tag and dodge-ball are often forbidden. I’m no expert on matters of health or education, but I couldn’t help making the connection.
Of course the goal is to educate children, but is there a way to tap into their passions, channel their natural curiosity and destructive tendencies and deliver academic performance? I have no idea, but I can’t help thinking that we may be suppressing something necessary for balance in our culture — not just the culture of boys, but what happens when we all grow up in a place where boyishness isn’t accepted.
Could we be hurting boys, and kids in general by frowning on boy culture? I’m really interested in others’ thoughts around this — please watch the video here and let me know if you believe it’s time to rethink our current approach to boyish behavior.
Photo Credit: orangeacid