web analytics
March 3, 2015 / 12 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Boys In The Back: Equalizing Education

Schonfeld-logo1

Think about the perfect student, the one who sits quietly, takes notes, and participates when called on. Now, were you imagining a boy or a girl? Chances are, your “perfect” student was a girl.

Why? The attributes I mentioned – sitting quietly, participating when called on, and taking notes – are noncognitive skills. These skills have nothing to do with a child’s intelligence and include: attentiveness, persistence, eagerness to learn, and the ability to sit still and work independently. Cristina Hoff Summers pointed out in a February article for The New York Times, “As most parents know, girls tend to develop these skills earlier and more naturally than boys.”

In essence, the whole system of education in our country is “rigged” against boys. And because of this, regardless of their intellectual ability, boys receive lower grades than girls. In fact, Summers points out that teachers tend to rate boys as less proficient in all skills (math, reading, writing) than girls, but on standardized tests, those same boys will score the same or better than the girls.

Saying that our education system is biased against boys might be true, but you could argue that our workplaces, which require people to sit and focus for long periods of time, are also rigged against boys and their later mastery of those essential noncognitive skills.

So, how can we, as parents and educators, make the learning process less unbalanced for our boys?. Here are some suggestions to help move our boys to the head of the class:

More boy-friendly reading assignments. In literacy education, there are often books that are labeled “boy books” or “girl books.” And, yep, you guessed it – most books incorporated into curricula would typically be labeled “girl books.” Instead of the more classic works of literature, curricula should include science fiction, fantasy, sports, and espionage genres. Even if the boys have not yet fully developed their “noncognitive skills” they will be more likely to read subjects that interest them. Of course, this does not mean that all books should be geared towards boys; rather, more books should be selected with their interests in mind.

More recess. Boys and girls need time to run around and shed their excess energy. In fact, research shows that children are able to better concentrate after they have done some exercise. So, how do you maximize boys’ learning? You let them run around the recess yard first. When they get back into class, their brains will be primed to learn.

More hands-on learning. While it’s true that boys lag behind girls in noncognitive skills such as sitting still and attending, this is no indication of their intelligence. Therefore, if we create hands-on learning opportunities (which do not rely on sitting still), we will be giving these boys a method through which to learn. For example, instead of talking about the lifecycle and anatomy of a plant, dissect a seed and use that hands-on activity as a jumping off point for discussion.

Single-sex classrooms. Our yeshivahs have single-sex classrooms, but just having a single-sex classroom is not enough to ensure that boys will learn up to their capabilities. That single-sex classroom must be run with the understanding that boys read different material, need to run around a little, and benefit from hands-on learning. Our classrooms and schools are already separate. Now, we need to make an effort to teach to our boys’ strengths.

 

Boys and Reading

Boys do not read at nearly the same level as girls. Reading Rockets, an organization devoted to promoting lifelong learning, states the situation bluntly:

The statistics are consistent: Young male readers lag behind their female counterparts. According to the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) in 2001, fourth-grade girls in all of the 30-plus participating countries scored higher in reading literacy than fourth-grade boys by a statistically significant amount. 

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Boys In The Back: Equalizing Education”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addresses a joint session of the US Congress on March 3, 2015.
‘Alliance Between Israel & US Must Always Remain Above Politics’
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

There is a point that many parenting books miss: children do more for us than we do for them.

Brigitte Gabriel

Brigitte was a nine-year-old girl when Islamic militants launched an assault on a Lebanese military base and destroyed her home.

Respler-022715

The husband needs to make some changes!

Purim is a fantastic time for fantasies, so I hope you won’t mind my fantasizing about how easy life would be if kids would prefer healthy cuisine over sweets. Imagine waking up to the call of “Mommy, when will my oatmeal be ready?”… As you rush to ladle out the hot unsweetened cereal, you rub […]

‘Double Gold’ awarded to 2012 Yarden Heights wine & 2011 Yarden Merlot Kela Single Vineyard.

One should not give the money before Purim morning or after sunset.

The mishloach manos of times gone by were sometimes simple and sometimes elaborate, but the main focus was on the preparation of the delicious food they contained.

One of the earliest special Purims we have on record was celebrated by the Jews of Granada and Shmuel HaNagid, the eleventh-century rav, poet, soldier and statesman, and one of the most influential Jews in Muslim Spain.

Jews, wake up! Stop educating the world and start educating yourselves.

The lessons conform to the sensitivities and needs of the Orthodox community…

The program took on special significance as it marked not only the first anniversary of Rebbetzin Kudan’s levayah but also the 27th yahrzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, a”h.

It was only in the reign of George III (1760-1820) that Jews became socially acceptable in Britain, and Nathan became music master to Princess Charlotte and musical librarian to King George IV.

It captures the love of the Jewish soul as only Shlomo Hamelech could portray it – and as only Rabbi Miller could explain it.

Erudite and academic, drawing from ancient and modern sources, the book can be discussed at the Shabbos table as well as in kollel.

More Articles from Rabbanit Chana Henkin
Schonfeld-logo1

Think about the perfect student, the one who sits quietly, takes notes, and participates when called on. Now, were you imagining a boy or a girl? Chances are, your “perfect” student was a girl.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/boys-in-the-back-equalizing-education/2014/01/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: