Can't they just develop a learning styles test for splitting the kids between the classes?



"Susan McGee Bailey of Wellesley College's Centers for Women summed up my reservations: "By assuming all boys are X and all girls Y, we are shortchanging students similar to the opposite sex in interest and abilities."

That sounds like standard issue non-speak.

So just what is she saying? Her last ten words assume differences by sex while the beginning says don't assume. Translation "Smart people like us have it figured right, our assumptions are precisely calibrated. Others screw up."

The Happy Feminist

I think she's saying that even if there is a general tendency among girls to act a particular way that is different than boys, it is grossly unfair to hold ALL girls to that standard, and vice-versa. Most sex differences tend to be based on averages. Even if you could prove that (for example) girls don't like to run around as much as boys, that doesn't mean that there aren't plenty of girls who DO like to run around and plenty of boys who can read for hours on end. Why do girls and boys who don't fit the supposed norm for their sex have to be forced into a cookie-cutter mold based on sex?


As you know, I'm not normally a skeptical person (ark ark), but I agree with your skepticism on this. It's unfortunate, but in the last 30 years trends in education have rarely been about improving education. They're usually about dollars. Follow the money on this one. It sounds like something professional educators and Ed colleges might try to initiate for economic reasons. Can you imagine the extra dollars that would flow to education if they could sell the public on the idea? Budgets would soar, universities would get to certify teachers not only by subject, but by student sex (!), and the number of extra jobs for union members would not be insignificant. It's not as easy as just splitting a school district into boys and girls. You'd probably need (or the state would mandate) that each district have particular resources and personnel available for each sex. And then the litigation! Oh my God, the litigation we'd see from parents, outside interest groups, and unions, when one sex was perceived as not having some classroom benefits as the other sex.

The Happy Feminist

Hmmm . . . I should shut up. This could be good for lawyers!

Rebecca E

Hey, I could read for hours as a kid. I also would have loved to reenact historical events in class. (Whenever they did stuff like that in L. M. Montgomery's books, it sounded like WAY more fun than anything I did in school!) Any time that we did get to do something that got us out of our seats, I was all for it. I was lucky enough to be in a gifted program that let us do things like act out Shakespeare's plays, spend a few hours with a mentor in the profession we were interested in, learn to play a musical instrument, build science fair projects or inventions...and we studied things like Ancient Greece and foreign languages, and I remember enjoying the learning a lot more than I ever did sitting at a desk.

Sure, in retrospect, the discipline required to sit at a desk and work and be quiet and not let my mind wander probably was worth a lot more than the regard I gave it - and I probably could benefit from a heaping helping of that discipline in my adult life - but at the time, I dreaded going to school most days, but loved going to my gifted program. I think both girls and boys can benefit from the "fun stuff" as well as the sitting-at-a-desk stuff. The US school system has its problems, and last I heard neither boys NOR girls were achieving as well as we think they should be. Improve the quality of education for both sexes, and both the boys and girls who are lagging behind will benefit.

It'd also be nice if we VALUED education a little bit more in the US, but that's just my wishness.


re: "I think she's saying...." at 9:01.

Oh, I do agree with you. That is what she is saying. It just sounded like such a classic of la-de-da Women's Center nonsense that I wanted to throw a bluebook at her. But that's me.

They really do believe the entire universe out there never has a thought without Ivy League guidance.

New topic.....
Richard is on the right track. These educational realignments sweep like prairie fire through the public schools - new math, phonics in...phonics out, whole word in..and out, bilingual works...doesn't...wait it does, etc. The assessment of new methods is pathetic, both by the educators and by the school boards and legislators who get swept up by the latest fad.

Winding down, or up?... and
reverting to my naturally earthy level... I think I could tell Dr. Leonard Sax something else that boys do better standing up and girls do better sitting down. But I won't. Refer to the article, paragraph 2, for Dr. Sax's insight.

The Happy Feminist

Hee hee.


So what's this about girls having to wait for instructions before beginning scientific experiments? If the boys don't wait also, how do they know what they're doing? As far as I'm concerned, they could abolish the experiments altogether. What's the point of doing the same test that's been done millions of times when you already know what the result is going to be? If they really want to make more productive classrooms, they should divide students based on how they learn best, whether it's through reading, writing, hands-on experience or lecturing. That would be interesting to see.

Rebecca E

liontamer wrote: "What's the point of doing the same test that's been done millions of times when you already know what the result is going to be?"

Because seeing it for yourself is different from reading it in a book? I know from reading that liquid nitrogen is really, really cold. But seeing an apple shatter, etc, was a lot neater and attention grabbing. I probably could have learned most of the principles in my physics class without doing the lab projects, but to actually see those principles in action? Not only interesting, but helps to drive home that what you're learning isn't just facts in a book, but real forces that affect the real world.

I'm not sure that even dividing people by how they learn best would work, because I think that just because you have a primary method of learning doesn't mean that other ways necessarily won't work, or that the skills involved in the methods you're not best at won't become useful to you later in life.

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