Monday, June 25, 2007

Soldiering on in the Battle of the Sexes

The Clark County Columbian recently published an article which reaffirms what we already know: boys and girls have differently wired brains. What is unclear, however, is how we as an educational system should respond to this. Most school districts show a "gender gap" in their test scores. If there is a physiological reason for this, there isn't much a classroom teacher can do to make a difference.

I was chatting with some teachers recently about student behavior in the hallways. There were several comments about touching, slapping, horseplay---and I had to ask if this was primarily observable in boys. This is one of the main ways in which young men communicate and as schools, we do our darndest to stop them. I'm not saying that any behaviors which might be dangerous to others should be tolerated, but at some point we have to honor their needs. I worry that schools have overcompensated in recent decades to be far too "girl friendly" for learning. How do we make the playing field a level one?

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