Tuesday, October 14, 2008

the boy school

Boys are less likely to graduate high school or college than girls.

Over the past month or so, I've thrown a lot of stats and ideas out about what schools have been doing to dumb down boys, turn them away from reading and writing, and pretty much destroy their chances over the past couple decades. Again, schools have embraced models for teaching and learning, and adopted expectations for performance and behavior that preordain a lack of success on the part of boys.

So, to wrap this series of blog posts up, I have a list of ideas about what a good "boy school" would incorporate. Here goes:

  • Since boys need competition, it needs to be reintroduced in their school. Infusing healthy and fun competition (individuals, group, class), boys will get more engaged in their learning.
  • When reading and writing, schools have to be more careful about choosing gender-relative subjects. Girls tend to enjoy reading stories with male protagonists/archetypes, but boys do not tend to enjoy those based around females.
  • Things, especially reading and writing, need to be broken into parts... like models, the things boys like to build and destroy.
  • Boy schools don't necessarily emphasize "nice play." Instead, they have hierarchies based on competitiveness.
  • Competition should be used to go to the next higher level.
  • Positive male attributes must be recognized... stories often have kids thanking mom for the nice dinner, but never express gratitude to dad for paying the electric bill. Instead, dads are often characterized as abusive, neglectful boozers. Those aren't the only male characters out there in great stories, folks...
  • Boy schools allow for plenty of individual activities.
  • Boy schools don't structure expectations so that boys are punished or fall behind for not expressing their confusion when they "don't get it."
Think about it. If you're a parent or teacher, I know you recognize how schools don't do the things listed above anymore.

And that's how we're leaving those kids behind.