Re: coeducation brainstorming

Robert Tighe (tighe@APSICC.APS.EDU)
Thu, 14 May 1998 13:18:41 -0400

Linda Purrington asked about expanding my quote:

>>Robert Tighe said."....Personally, my preference would be to try to get
>>the male captains to try to be more social and less competitive...
>>Of course, that would have very little chance of success and would
>>probably get me branded as an insane person--not a good reputation
>>for a teacher......"

> Are we really saying that this problem is insoluble?

I would never say that it is insoluble, and did not mean to
imply that. I intended to recognize the difficulties, and the
need to be cautious and incremental, without getting too
depressed about the realities.

> Somehow, people need to approach this problem with both
> genders, not just in the classroom, but also on a wider level of
> national education policy. What would you propose, Robert,
> if you had your druthers?

Teachers need to work harder at recognizing individual traits and
encouraging individual skills in a way that subtly breaks down
stereotypes of maleness and femaleness. As long as the
stereotypes are reinforced at home and in peer groups, we cannot
expect them to respond quickly to our examples, but we can show
our students that there are alternate ways of thinking about
human potentials and roles.

In terms of setting examples, I agree with John Meyer's idea that
teachers should be Renaissance Persons; that there should be more
men in elementary teaching, but not necessarily , as Christopher
Bantick wanted, men who are "unapologetic about their masculinity".
Likewise, concerns about the "feminisation" of subject matter are
reactionary and inappropriate.

We need more teachers who will teach without concern about whether
a subject or activity is masculine or feminine, who will express
their enthusiasm for all aspects of human culture and natural
processes, and who will do so without apologies or embarrassment.

Finding and training such teachers will be a gradual process,
but it is possible. Reducing the effect of masculine/feminine
stereotyping will eventually reduce the inequities demonstrated
in the data which Robert Weverka provided, as people choose their
roles based more on their skills and interests rather than social
role expectations. I am less sure about what policies we can use
to encourage people into alternate careers in the meantime, but
this is important, too, for social perceptions are often based
on current practices and patterns.

-- Bob Tighe

Robert Tighe Resource Teacher
Instructional Technology
Albuquerque Public Schools Never doubt that a small group of
220 Monroe SW thoughtful, committed citizens can
Albuquerque, NM 87108-2811 change the world; indeed it's the
USA only thing that ever has.
505-256-4266 -- Margaret Mead

-- Bob

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