Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Trouble With Boys

I've found a brilliant article over at Newsweek about boys failing at school.

It's really very indepth and goes on for a few pages, but made me reevaluate the problem with linear schooling as I saw it.

Right now I am fighting for a statement of special educational needs for my son who has Aspergers Syndrome. If he is eventually awarded the assistance that the Educational Psychologist says he needs, the likelihood is that he will be given a female teaching assistant, but now I have read this article I wonder if that is such a good thing.

I especially loved the observation in the article that young men starting out at senior school, 11 to 13 or older, are entirely preoccupied, like teenage primates, with finding their place in the pack. Their world view is totally wrapped up in whether this or that activity makes them look weak. If asking for help appears weak then they just don't ask.

I am fascinated by the amazing effect, in one study, of providing every boy on one program with a male mentor, because somehow then, academic success ceases to be girly, weak, irrelevant and becomes something that earns them the respect of a 'strong' male.

Yes ok so it goes against the pc view of all people as equal, but this is about teaching a child in the throes of testosterone addled misconception. Sometimes you have to step into their world to reach them, and that doesn't mean admitting defeat or in any way subscribing to the male superiority theory. It just means accepting that, during puberty at least, male and female hormones result in you effectively trying to teach the same thing to two different species.

Its not fair to penalise them for not being girls.

Addendum: A feminist view, here.


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