Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Tuesday Post To While the Happy Hours Away

... or something.

I'm sure this is no surprise to some- boys are not learning language skills in school:

Boys lag behind girls and emerge from school ill-prepared for a world that demands stronger language skills than ever before, according to a new book, and their careers and even their relationship prospects are suffering as a result. 

In Why Boys Fail: Saving our Sons from an Educational System That’s Leaving Them Behind, former USA Today writer Richard Whitmire argues that the gaps between boys and girls are only widening, but there’s resistance to acknowledging and fixing the problem.

“It’s politically incorrect to watch out for the boys,” he says. “There’s still this mindset that girls have to be protected and nurtured, that men succeed so well in the marketplace, let’s not worry about them. I don’t think people realize the implications of not doing something.”

The central contention of Whitmire’s book is that: “The world has gotten more verbal; boys haven’t.”

Girls have an easier time with reading and language than boys in the earliest years of school, he says, but until the past two decades, boys would catch up by the time they reached Grade 4 or 5. Now, however, school curricula are more challenging in earlier grades -- particularly when it comes to language -- and many boys never get a firm footing in reading, he says. 

And with science and math increasingly taught in word-problem format, boys struggling with language fall behind in other subjects, Whitmire says. 

“Some boys absorb it just fine but a fair number don’t, and they struggle, they get turned off to reading,” he says. “They look around and see that mostly girls are succeeding and they conclude that school is for girls and look elsewhere for satisfaction.”

Barry MacDonald, a Vancouver-based education counsellor and author of Boy Smarts: Mentoring Boys for Success at School, says boys tend to like visual, active learning and feel alienated by “traditional” classrooms where every answer has to be written down. He doesn’t favour single-sex classrooms, but he says there aren’t enough role models to show boys that learning and reading doesn’t have to be girls’ work.

I don't think Mr. McDonald has it right when he declares reading to be "girls' work". Reading isn't gender-based, unlike brain wiring. It is true boys lag behind until they reach a certain age before catching up. However, the entire education system in Canada is  behind other countries (see here). The bar has been lowered. What may have been apart of the curriculum when one was a student is not so now. Things like reading aloud, independent learning and critical thinking are not encouraged or even developed in school. It is no surprise, therefore, that boys would fall behind in language studies.

There are many factors that can determine a student's outcome- the student's personal commitment, the parents' involvement, the teacher's fitness as an educator and the materials provided. There are also ideological factors, as well. In the rush to get girls caught up with math and science, boys have been left on the wayside. Why abandon a chunk of a country's population now?

Related: we've devolved as a race because we can't, like, talk:

I recently watched a television program in which a woman described a baby squirrel that she had found in her yard. "And he was like, you know, 'Helloooo, what are you looking at?' and stuff, and I'm like, you know, 'Can I, like, pick you up?,' and he goes, like, 'Brrrp brrrp brrrp,' and I'm like, you know, 'Whoa, that is so wow!'" She rambled on, speaking in self-quotations, sound effects and other vocabulary substitutes, punctuating her sentences with facial tics and lateral eye shifts. All the while, however, she never said anything specific about her encounter with the squirrel. 

Uh-oh. It was a classic case of Vagueness, the linguistic virus that infected spoken language in the late 20th century. Squirrel Woman sounded like a high school junior, but she appeared to be in her mid-40s, old enough to have been an early carrier of the contagion. She might even have been a college intern in the days when Vagueness emerged from the shadows of slang and mounted an all-out assault on American English.

When I was a kid, my parents made me look words up in the dictionary. Why aren't parents making kids do that now? Must an entire generation be reduced to making gibberish sounds in order to communicate with others? Spoken and written language sets us apart from the other species that walk this Earth. Why not use it?

Surprise, surprise:

A top Chinese official has backed ailing North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's plans to hand power to his son, the North's state media said on Tuesday, hailing the "successful solution" to allow continued socialist rule.

Meng Jianzhu, China's public security minister, congratulated Kim's youngest son Jong-un on his appointment as vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission last year, "hailing the successful solution of the issue of succession to the Korean revolution," KCNA news agency reported.

Who didn't see that coming? Thus, China's continued thumb over North Korea remains.

Sarah Palin is annoyed with Time magazine:

Sarah Palin's recent email to Time Magazine Congressional Correspondent Jay Newton-Small started off congenial enough. The mood soon shifted dramatically when Gov. Palin attacked the magazine over the "total lies" that had been published about her. Included in her email is not only a call for a retraction of the false stories, but a demand for an apology to Fox News' Sean Hannity and Christina Aguilera who were both included in the story Time ran. The text of the email follows:

"Subject: Great job, MSM!

Jay - pls tell your bosses there at Time Magazine thank you for the invitations to attend the upcoming functions. I'll sure put a lot of thought into those invitations.

Then, have your editors retract Time's most recent ridiculous lies about me supposedly giving Sean Hannity a radio interview wherein I supposedly talked about Christina Aguilera (that I slammed her for her Nat'l Anthem mistake, and called for her deportation, etc). You guys were fooled into running a fake story that even US Weekly pulled and apologized for their blunder. Total lies - and you guys (once again) even put quotation marks around things I have never uttered. Then, Time needs to run an apology to Christina along with the retraction. (Add Hannity in your apology, too...those good folks don't deserve to be in a caustic, untrue story about me.) Thanks much - keep up the great work, Time Magazine."

I honestly don't know how this woman deals with this day in and day out. How does she have the patience to be calm about the slanders and lies people toss at her? It's bad enough that idiots print things that patently absurd and untrue, it is quite another to do this to one person in particular. Journalists aren't just not doing their jobs; they are the equivalent of catty high school girls spreading rumours and hoping one will stick.

High school is over, guys.

What people fail to realise is that after an overthrow (or a desired one), there must be something or someone filling the void. Right now, neither Egypt nor Iran have that. Democracy and stability do not magically happen. It takes time and a keen understanding of human will and ability. It's childish to assume that after a revolt, the chips will fall neatly into place. No. That's a fool's paradise. Things gel together when something rational fills the void of a dreadful totalitarian state. I don't suspect that will happen in the Middle East any time soon.

That's what happens when you let military dictatorships, communism or Islamofascism have free reign. Except I sincerely doubt the Poles were ever mad thugs who married their cousins and blew up houses of worship.

And now, by the snowy power of Grayskull.


Anonymous said...

The female-dominant (as opposed to female-dominated) curriculum is not new, nor is it news to me. Compare it to other issues like the amount of publicity and research that is dedicated to breast cancer when prostate cancer afflicts and kills more people every year. Clearly, women's lives are worth more than men's live; men's LEARNING and EDUCATION are well behind even that, aren't they?


Osumashi Kinyobe said...

I think this problem is a little more complex than just that but I do think the "feminisation" of education has definitely hindered boys' progress. The feminists who have no children, nor do they even like them, have used girls as pawns to press their spiteful hate on boys. Immoral and impractical. When the girls grow up, do the feminists think they who have been moulded in their spiteful, selfish and childless image will look after their decrepit behinds? Nope.