Reflection #2 Gender “refers to traits and behaviors that a particular culture judges to be appropriate for men and women”

(Woolfolk, 2010, p. 94). Although recently Sa dker (2002) has argued that neither gender “rules in school”(p. 240), in the past h e has argued that boys have an inherent advantage in school and test taking (Sad ker, 1994). Through her research, Sommers (2000) argues exactly the opposite: t he climate of American schools is fueling a large gender gap in achievement. Al though the contention that there is an intentional “War on Boys” is extreme, several factors suggest that schools and our culture fail to adequately foster non cogn itive skills of boys. Sadker (2002) reported that only 16% of elementary school teachers are m ale, and gender differences in college major selection convey that this is not c hanging anytime soon. This is an inherent disadvantage for boys, as students wh o share the same gender as their teacher perform better (Dee, 2006). But boys l ose more than 4% of a standard deviation of their grade by not experiencing a ma le teacher: They lose a role model. Vygotsky’s Sociocultural theory suggests tha t dialogues between children and more knowledgeable members of society have a la rge role in development (Woolfolk, 2010). While female teachers are no less qua lified than male teachers, they cannot teach boys what it means to be a responsi ble male by example. Male teachers also teach students a lesson by shattering c ultural norms. Showing boys that males can be teachers and that women can be do ctors can lead into a larger conversation about gender stereotypes. Kindlon and Thompson (2000) discuss how boys lack emotional literacy, and how boys may lose interest in school because of unspoken emotional issues. A male teacher who ca n convince boys that its ok to cry and have feelings may change a boys view on m asculinity. Because the effects of the Self-fulfilling prophecy are well established , Teachers of both genders also need to learn how to separate a bad action from a bad boy. My placement experiences have led me to believe that boys are harshl y punished more frequently than girls, even when committing the same action. Th is week, we had a particularly disruptive student named Terrance in the class. I could tell by his attitude he was not interested in complimentary colors. Whi le others, including girls, were off task, Terrance was being noisy and our subs titute teacher threatened to call his parents. After asking why he was not focu sed, I tried to help Terrance with his art assignment to no avail. But then the re was Danny O’Neil, who just joined my class in placement. With Danny, Terrance was different. They laughed, and Danny was the first person I have seen actuall y get Terrance to work. I believe Danny was succesfull because he was a rowdy b oy, and did something that I failed to do: he treated Terrance like every other student in the class. Terrance’s story is relevant, as some research suggests tha t there is a link between disruptive behavior in school and not pursuing higher education (Bertrand, 2011). School has always been a struggle for me, yet I am in college. I always used to talk during class, yet I was never screamed at. I cried at school, but was never derided. I thank Green Acres Elementary and Middle School for this. Teachers stressed the importance of expressing your feelings and understanding your classmates’ emotions. Punishment was replaced with a conversation about what went wrong. My 4th grade teacher Dudley inspired me when I had lost hope in le arning. Yet in my placements in St.Mary’s County, I see a school environment that ideals gender roles and contains virtually no adult males. To change the lives o f boys, the next generation of males can help in two ways. They must live in wa ys that make children fight their gender schemas, and they must flock to careers in education. References Bertrand, M., Pan, J., & National Bureau of Economic Research. (2011). The Troub le with Boys: Social Influences and the Gender Gap in Disruptive Behavior. Cam bridge, Mass: National Bureau of Economic Research. Dee,T.(2006). “The Why Chromosome: How a Teacher s Gender Affects Boys and Girls.” Education Next. 6(4): 68-75 Kindlon, D. J., Thompson, M., & Barker, T. (2000). Raising Cain: Protecting the

 

emotional life of boys. Failing at fairness: How our schools cheat g irls (1st Touchstone ed. New York: Simon and Schuster..). Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Sommers. Woolfolk.slate. Educational psychology (8th ed.).com/article/School-Suspensions-Among-Boys/129593/ . Additional Sources (articles that led me to research articles) http://www. C. A. & Sadker. Sadker. M. New York: Ballantine Books. H. (1995). The war against boys: How misguided feminism is harming o ur young menn.com/articles/health_and_science/the_hidden_brain/2011/03/psycho ut_sexism. (2000). D. (2001).html http://chronicle. E. New York: Touchstone. M.

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