School & Cosmetics (was: Dissertation help)

Wed, 16 Oct 1996 10:54:38 -0600 (MDT)

Barbara Tavares wrote:

> I personally feel just as much as the "uncool" perception about math is
> the heavy pressure of the importance of physical attractiveness. This
> priority for many girls drains away the energy for other goals. I haven't
> seen any dirct research in this, however.

As a middle school teacher I should have recognized this conflict of
priorities years ago. In the seventh and eighth grades, many (most?)
girls begin to spend much of their "learning" time and effort finding
out about cosmetics and hairstyling and other appearance-related topics.
If allowed by the teacher, much of their classroom time would be
devoted to makeup and discussions about beauty tips. I probably
missed many opportunities to engage students by not realizing and
mentioning that trying out new cosmetic effects is, in effect, an
experimental method with similarities to the scientific method.

My memory tells me that the girls who succeed in math and science
are generally those who do not spend hours every morning preparing
their face and hair, but is this cause and effect? Or are both
indirectly related through some third factor, such as self-esteem?
My memory also tells me that those girls who spent the most time
on appearances tended to be those with the worst self-image, a
factor seemingly unrelated to basic intelligence or academic

These are areas which have not been adequately studied and which
could produce useful conclusions about teaching strategies.

-- Bob

Robert Tighe Resource Teacher
Instructional Technology
Albuquerque Public Schools Science is always wrong. It never
220 Monroe SW solves a problem without creating
Albuquerque, NM 87108-2811 ten more. - George Bernard Shaw

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