The notion that middle school is the critical time to intervene because that's
when girls seem to finalize their decisions has bothered me for a long time.
When my daughters were in middle school, both of them seemed to occasionally
make snap decisions. When I talked to them, though, I found out that the
background leading to the "snap" had almost invariably been building up for a
long time; we just hadn't talked about that topic before, or I had dismissed
the importance of what they were saying to me earlier. I'm a full-time high
school teacher, not a researcher, soI'm not going to do this myself. But surely
someone should (if they have not already done so) study how this decision to
ditch science and math develops. It may be that the disaster is in middle
school but the crisis occurs earlier. (The crisis is the point when you can
actually change the futured.
So, I think you might be able to get girls to "opt in" strongly during
elementary school. But elementary school might also be where the decision to
"opt out" begins to solidify even though the results of that decision-making
don't become apparent for a year or two.
Bill Lamb <email@example.com>
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