Monday, December 05, 2005

Disappearing Act: Boys will be Boys

This article begins by asking why there are fewer and fewer men on college campuses and here focuses on the innate differences betweeen Men and Women. These differences are not obvious in certain quarters. Take Harvard University for example.

The Washington Post:

Now, however, the boys who don't fit the classrooms are glaringly clear. Many families are barely involved in their children's education. Girls outperform boys in nearly every academic area. Many of the old principles of education are diminished. In a classroom of 30 kids, about five boys will begin to fail in the first few years of pre-school and elementary school. By fifth grade, they will be diagnosed as learning disabled, ADD/ADHD, behaviorally disordered or "unmotivated." They will no longer do their homework (though they may say they are doing it), they will disrupt class or withdraw from it, they will find a few islands of competence (like video games or computers) and overemphasize those.

Boys have a lot of Huck Finn in them -- they don't, on average, learn as well as girls by sitting still, concentrating, multitasking, listening to words. For 20 years, I have been taking brain research into homes and classrooms to show teachers, parents and others how differently boys and girls learn. Once a person sees a PET or SPECT scan of a boy's brain and a girl's brain, showing the different ways these brains learn, they understand. As one teacher put it to me, "Wow, no wonder we're having so many problems with boys."

Yet every decade the industrial classroom becomes more and more protective of the female learning style and harsher on the male, yielding statistics such as these:

The majority of National Merit scholarships, as well as college academic scholarships, go to girls and young women.

Boys and young men comprise the majority of high school dropouts, as high as 80 percent in many cities.

Boys and young men are 1 1/2 years behind girls and young women in reading ability (this gap does not even out in high school, as some have argued; a male reading/writing gap continues into college and the workplace)."

My friend Ken Miller says that any boy who can sit through hours of classroom instruction is clearly suffering from attention surplus disorder. Normal boys can't do it.

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