The issue of boys vs girls in school.
Statistically speaking, there are more boy geniuses than there are girl geniuses; if this true, then why is there a major disparity in achievement between boys vs girls in school?
The problem occurs across all grade levels from elementary to high school. There are more girls as the presidents of school organizations, more girls enrolled in advanced placement classes, and more girls than ever becoming the valedictorian of their classes.
Girls are receiving scholarships to colleges that never dreamed of having an equal male to female ratio because this generation is producing overachieving girls, while a great number of boys are lagging behind.
So what causes these gender issues in school?
How has the system set different standards and expectations for boys vs girls in school? Finally, what can teachers do to make the classroom equal for both sexes?
These answers are not easy to agree upon, but there are some theories worth contemplating.
When the rules for affirmative action and equal rights for girls entered the school system, people jumped at the chance to educate females to a greater extent. After all, it is the God-granted liberty of every American to receive equal treatment under the law. When girls were finally told that they could be somebody, it empowered them to prove people right.
Women from all generations applied to colleges and universities, and teachers began telling girls for the first time that they too could be astronauts or scientists if they wanted to. This idea in theory was a good idea, but what ended up happening is that the bar for expectations changed and was set differently for boys vs girls in school.
This is true especially in the younger years, when elementary-aged students are praised for their abilities to “follow the rules;” many attitudes and ideals are molded during these years.
Girls are praised and rewarded for things such as keeping their hands to themselves, controlling their bodily functions, and sitting quietly.
Boys, on the other hand, are chastised for the opposite behaviors simply because they have more testosterone than estrogen. The old saying, “Boys will be boys” is applicable even to a school environment, but those very behaviors that make them boys, also make them associate school with rules and restrictions instead of an environment where they are free to explore and learn.
In one scenario, they are encouraged to box out an opposing basketball player with force or tackle the opposing team’s quarterback with everything they have, but in the classroom they are told to keep their hands to themselves and keep their mouths closed.
I am not saying that they should be allowed to run wild in school, but the outlet and pride that they find through things such as physical activity is not often found in a classroom setting. For this very reason, they are becoming less interested in learning and more interested in finding ways to be removed from the classroom in order to do what they want. As girls pass them in achievements on every level, they are challenged increasingly less to do better. What was once an institution dominated by boys, girls are exceedingly higher performing as a whole.
So what can be done to solve this problem?
First of all, our society needs more men to be fathers and mentors. As a father, if you only attend sporting events and never think to attend parent/teacher conferences, then you are unknowingly telling your child that a sporting event is more important than his education. He will always remember that mom does the education stuff and dad comes to the important stuff.
On the same topic, where are all the men in education?
The education of generations of future leaders is an important role, and men and women alike have great responsibilities to teach girls and boys alike. Boys need to see male role models who value education; what better way than by having a male teacher that they respect and learn from?
In elementary schools, teachers can do several things to help boys be more successful.
First of all, they need to realize that there is a significance genetic and hormonal difference between boys and girls. What boys find awesome, girls find disgusting. Teachers need to find a way to celebrate these differences without invoking anarchy but also without breaking spirits.
A common misconception is that behavior determines ability. This is a tragedy on our society. There are many boy geniuses graduating at the bottom of their class because their teachers gave up on trying to see past their behavior years earlier.
Boys respond to encouragement in the same way that men respond to respect. Educators need to focus on the achievements of their male students in the same way as those of their female students.
The topic of boys vs girls in school will continue to be heavily debated throughout the rest of this generation until there is a noticeable reversal in achievement standards. If small steps are taken in the elementary years to empower boys to be successful in the classroom, in much the same way they did for girls years ago, then the trend could begin to level out again.
We need our boys to grow up and become men, and they must have an education in order to see what they are capable of achieving.
Trying to Understand Teenage Boys in School
Analyzing the Single Gender Classroom
Make Single-Sex Classes a Priority in Your School
Ways to Increase Girls’ Involvement in Class
Girls Deserve Same Education as Boys
Gender Equity in Schools
Pros and Cons of Single Sex Classes in K-12 Education
Girls Denied Same Opportunities as Boys to Excel in Math
image of boy raising hand by annissat