(no subject)

From: Catherine P. Dooley (lpcainc@aol.com)
Date: Fri Dec 15 2000 - 16:42:04 EST

    I want to respond to Cornelia and Liz as part of this closing
statement.Many question how to relate to boys and can they really change to
be more
relational in their communications with others. My vote is YES! Boys are
quite capable of and even longing for real communication. But, because of
the early impact of "boy culture" and break from mom, haven't had the
at empathic and mutual communication. So I always say to adults, that with
boys you have to think of "getting in" as a process of "opening doors" to
real boy. We, the adults, have to be willing to keep going when met with
jokes, put downs, banter, bravado, denial, silence, anger. We need to lead
the way and show them how to get there. When we give up, power-over model
of "boy culture" is once again re-inforced. Also, boys experience over and
over, in response to their bravado, a giving up on communication with them
another adult. This confirms his alliance with "boy culture" and
maintains the problematic power-over model that exists in our culture. I
never know
with a boy in any given circumstance whether I'll have to get through ten
doors or fifty doors. But there are many creative ways to keep going when
met with resistance. I asked one boy when I got "in", if he talked with his
the way we were talking. He thought for a minute then said, "Well she
tries, but she gives up too easily".
    WE ARE THE CULTURE! If we observe or try only once with boys we are
giving our implicit approval to this style of non-communication. Boys will
tell me that a teacher or parent gave approval for a behavior I am
questioning. Upon further investigation the "approval" was that "s/he
didn't say we couldn't" ! Boys can learn how to be cooperative, sincere and
empathic in their dealings with others (and one another). But the challenge
is for
us the adults and the institutions in our culture to start intervening and
naming, teaching, expecting, rewarding a new model for boys.
    I want to respond to Liz about this. YES, I think it's crucial to keep
boys and girls together and especially in a school setting where
partnerships can be structured into the fabric. Girls and boys can be
co-investigators, collaborative partners on a task, mentors for one another
etc. For this reason I think it best NOT to separate the genders for
education. They need to learn from one another. Boys need to see and value
leadership skills in girls. Girls will certainly benefit from boys becoming
more communicative as partners and as friends .Otherwise when they come
together it's only about sexualizing with one another.

And Liz, I do think this works with race and SES if the school is committed
to learning from one another's differences. In fact, dealing with breaking
down barriers enhances school learning. If we can harness the energy spent
on worrying about power, position,& privilege among kids in the classroom,
we'd see a depth and breadth of learning that can't happen while kids are
burdened with the role straightjacket they now live with every day.

    On this note I will close and say that cultural change for boys doesn't
have to be all encompassing. Rather, even a two or three degree turn of
things in the culture makes an impact. Let's continue to work on this issue
together and within our institutions. Things are already very different for
boys in some ways and moving steadily in the right direction. Thank you all
for the privilege of being part of this panel and this very energizing
Cate Dooley

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