I have hesitated about getting into this boy/girl debate, but as a teacher
I feel I must respond to the Desiree Cooper article. There are few teachers
who are not aware of what middle school age boys are like. And if they do
not teach in a way that responds to the needs these young males, they are
going to be very unsuccessful in keeping their any order in their
classrooms. One of the hardest things I have to do is not to ignore the
girls in my efforts to keep the boys busy and active. Also I must point out
that as a girl I had a real need to be active more than school permitted.
Luckily I had teachers who did not make such sharp gender delineations.
Bear in mind that a teacher has a responsibility to ready middle school
students for high school where, sad to say, teachers are less apt to
tolerate any behavior that disrupts the classroom. Thus sometimes it may
seem that the teachers are "getting on their (the boys) cases". It used to
be that parents played an active role in making sure their children
understood appropriate group behavior. Now that this is no longer so,
teachers do have to teach such behavior as well as content and process.
My recommendation is that all middle school classrooms be made more active
and experiential for both boys and girls. And that parents listens to their
children's complaints seriously without emotional reaction and help their
children find non-disruptive solutions for functioning successfully in the
classroom. This will benefit the students as they get out in a real world
that will not be so child-centered.
An old lady teacher who loves teaching boys!
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