[EDEQUITY] Re: Boys and School Article

From: Jan Mokros (jan_mokros@terc.edu)
Date: Mon May 22 2000 - 10:59:50 EDT

As others may have said in their responses, it's not the group of "boys" or
"girls" that teachers should be responding to, it's each individual. I
worry when someone like Cooper says she knows my middle school boy, and
that he's like all other American boys. In fact, my son is much
different--and I know many middle school boys who are different. They are
at great risk in our classrooms. My son is organized to a fault, and loves
English and history. He also loves classical music, cooking, musical
comedies, Madonna, and disco. He does not like sports (nor is he good at
them) and has never been interested in video games. A teacher who expects
him to be like "all other boys" will totally miss the mark, and will be
reinforcing masculine stereotypes that have dominated American culture for
what seems like an eternity. A classroom culture which reinforces these
"boy" stereotypes--or girl stereotypes, for that matter, will be
experienced as hostile to boys like my son.
     I think that we have to remember that there is tremendous diversity
within each gender, that gender is a construct we use to help us think
about fairness and equity. The studies on gender differences are helpful to
us when they point out areas where teachers may need to be more aware of
how gender so pervasively influences classroom practice. But whenever
these gender constructs get in the way of treating children as individuals,
they are no longer useful.

"Jan Mokros" <jan_mokros@terc.edu>

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