Subject: [EDEQUITY Male Dialogue] Closing Statement by Craig Flood
This has been a real pleasure participating in this discussion the past
week. I have thoroughly appreciated the perspective and questions that have
posted by everyone. Time has not permitted me to respond to all that I
wouldhave liked, but I intend to follow up on several comments made through
email within the next week.
While we certainly could not cover the whole range of issues related to
boys during the week, we certainly touched on most of the significant ones
some point during the discussion. I am going to finish my contribution to
discussion by the listing "10 Strategies to Promote Healthy Development for
Boys" I develop in the chapter I wrote on boys and school for Harilyn
Rousso and Mike Wehmeyer's text, "Double Jeopardy: Addressing Gender Equity
in Special Education Services" due out in Spring 2001.
"10 Strategies to Promote Healthy Development for Boys"
1. "Connect men" with boys and the work of gender equity. Men are not the
problem; it is systemic. Despite over twenty five years of gender equity
efforts, advocacy for the issues in schools is sadly lacking the
participation of men. Men need to see their place in this work. My work
with the "Men Helping Boys" programs and the ones Deborah Mulligan
certainly bear out the benefits for boys!!
2. Take an active stand against "homophobia." Homophobia has a negative
impact on everyone within a school community; particularly gay and lesbian
students who need the open support of adults. As we have seen from its
broader definition, homophobic pressure plays a critical role in
maintaining the rigidity of traditional male roles for all boys. Adult
particular administrators and counselors, within the school community need
to take an
active role in helping boys understand this connection and working with
them to erase the shaming effect homophobia can have in the healthy
of both heterosexual male and gay and lesbian students.
3. Develop "emotional literacy" in boys. Here I see a relationship with
the relational psychology approaches that Cate Dooley discusses. They are
wonderful examples of the ways in which we need to develop the emotional
and relational spheres for boys so critical in healthy development.
4. Acknowledge the "links" between masculinity and violence. With 80-90%
of the violence committed by males, it is imperative that we make this
connection. If you haven't seen Jackson Katz' video "Tough Guise" I highly
recommend it. It clearly establishes the links, what is at stake for boys
and offers alternative views of masculinity that support healthy
development. Also read the following panel discussion available online:
Education Letter: Research Online. "Boys to Men: Questions of Violence."
5. Integrate "physical activity" into the curriculum. Essential for all
students, many elementary schools are seeing the particular benefits for
boys. I recently heard the schools in New Zealand build in 10 minutes an
hour of physical activity and have seen a drop in the identification of
6. Create "mutually empowering" school environments. Drs. Stephen Bergman
and Janet Surrey of The Stone Center at Wellesley College have been working
with men and women and boys and girls to assist them in creating school
environments designed to resist the divisive nature of traditional views of
masculine-feminine relationships. Through the use of facilitated gender
dialogues with males and females, their work focuses on the development of
strategies that are mutually empowering for both genders. Copies of their
articles are available for ordering at the Wellesley website.
7. "Disaggregate and analyze" school data by gender. Many excellent
programs for girls in mathematics and science have resulted from the
disaggregation of test data that has allowed schools to identify and
isolate academic areas of need based on gender. We know from national
that boys are at risk in the areas of reading and writing; these would be
areas to pay particular attention to at all levels. Finally, this data
would be extremely useful in understanding the links between gender and
education programs in schools for both boys and girls.
8. Teach "men's HIStories." Not the traditional stories. Boys of all
backgrounds can learn a great deal about alternatives to traditional
definitions of masculinity by understanding their developmental link to our
past and how men of particular times in our history were feeling about
their roles and lives. Michael Kimmel's "Against the Tide" tells the
pro-feminist men in America.
9. "Play up" the positives of athletics. Rather than perpetuating
masculine stereotypes, competitive athletics need to be the source of
experiences for boys and girls. Recognizing the benefits of active
participation in sports and as a counter to the exclusivity that can
develop in competitive athletics, many schools are opening up their
larger numbers of students.
10. "Educate parents" about healthier gender roles for boys. The critical
roles parents play in the life experiences of boys is obvious. Based on
our understanding of the research, mothers need to be encouraged to
the connections they have with their sons, particularly in the elementary
years. As Terrence Real indicates in "I Don't Want to Talk About It,"
encouragement to provide healthy alternatives to masculinity and boys
hunger for that kind of connection. Schools can be the conveyors of this
information and provide opportunities to discuss it with parents.
Once again, thank you all for your participation. Please feel free to
email me at anytime if you have questions or would be interested in program
development in this area.
Craig P. Flood, Ed.D.
C Flood Associates
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