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Ontario school fail

Dear Ontario school;

There is a lot wrong with this, and only a little bit right.

Using comics to get kids interested in reading is good.
Giving grade 7 boys Frank Miller to work with is not so good.
Giving girls midwifery instead of the goddamned Batman is frustrating and insulting on a number of levels.
Why do we need to give boys and girls different things to read at all?


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 23rd, 2009 01:12 pm (UTC)
Because for reasons I have yet to grok personally, there is a semi-universal belief that "boys don't like to read" (Yes, I'm self-selecting, but I just don't know that many men who DON'T like to read, and the boys (as in actual juveniles) I know, also like books.

Once you swallow "boys don't like to read", the rest of the blind idiot sexism is much easier to get down.
Apr. 23rd, 2009 04:18 pm (UTC)
True, it can be harder to get younger boys to sit still and get excited about books. However when books were chosen on a very similiar basis when I was younger I often felt like I was being punished with some sort of awful book while the boys got to read something interesting and "cool". Put that together with the separate PE classes based on "girls and boys" interests and I was a pretty frustrated kid.

That said I'm all for encouraging reading. I'd be all for using both maybe, or letting kids choose one of the two, but there is so much research on how to do these things RIGHT that it's frustrating to watch people just use commonly held stereotypes like facts! The teachers should do their homework first. ;)
Apr. 23rd, 2009 05:39 pm (UTC)
Okay - here's my arguement - I don't see this "hard to get boys to read" thing.

All the kids I know like to read. Yes, it's a matter of finding a book that triggers that kid into reading, but that's not a "girl book" vs. "boy book" thing.

What I was saying is once you can swallow the sexism in the idea that boys need some kind of special trigger to get them to read, that the rest of the stuff is so monumentally sexist is easier to fall into.

Assumption: Boys don't like reading. Boys need special motivation to do so.

Hypothesis: Boys need different material to read than girls.

Method: Create gender biased reading program to encourage reading skills in both sexes.

Do you see what I'm getting at?
Apr. 23rd, 2009 02:05 pm (UTC)
Midwives Apprentice is a comic book now? When I read it, it was still a novel. - My point being, that not only did they give these girls a comic about obstetrics, it was a sequential art re-telling of a novel...and those rarely turn out nearly as cool....
Apr. 23rd, 2009 02:28 pm (UTC)
Nope, the girls got the novel. They didn't get a comic at all.
Apr. 23rd, 2009 04:46 pm (UTC)
oh...well that's an even bigger fail....

with my very small sample group, my son is the reader, and my daughter prefers to just look at the pictures... Guess I musta got a couple freaks ;)
Apr. 23rd, 2009 02:17 pm (UTC)
I'm going to preface this with saying there's absolutely nothing wrong with comics; I just never got into them when I was younger because I read them too fast and wanted something that would keep my interest for longer.

I think one major problem is why we feel we have to trick kids into reading in the first place. Who's failing at teaching the children to love books? The school system? Parents? Both? *Some* of my generation - and some younger - turned out to love reading. What did we get that others didn't?
Apr. 23rd, 2009 03:34 pm (UTC)
I don't even have time to go into this. Just GRRRRR! ZING SMASH!

More later when I have a brain and more than two seconds to call my own. That may be MUCH later, at this point.
Apr. 23rd, 2009 03:39 pm (UTC)
And I thought I felt sick before I read this ...
Apr. 23rd, 2009 04:14 pm (UTC)
I can't articulate anything well at all due to excessive studying but this article frustrated me from the get go with the premise:

The article talks about addressing the gender gap in elementary girls, you know the time when girls learn a little faster than boys at language? I adore the level of concern for the boys and their temporary setback. On the plus side, they did attempt to encourage girls to build things.

On a personal level, I would have failed in this school, and been very hard on the teachers! I had something like that in the private school I went to for a year - the boys got to play cool sports and talk about ear's getting chopped off and read comics, and the girls got to play whiffle ball and TALK incessantly. Not everyone fits the gender stereotype and going out of their way to make things "cool" for the boys and not for the girls is just.....frusrating.

Also, there is some great research out there on how to do this RIGHT, at some ages apparently separation can benefit both genders but not like this. Why don't you just put them back in home ec and shop class and call it done.
Apr. 23rd, 2009 05:15 pm (UTC)
Take 2
Lunch is now over, but I'll try reposting, this time without markup errors:

You know, it's almost as if there haven't been over twenty years of research into the notion that kids learn things differently, in different ways, at different rates, and have different innate abilities, with which they approach learning. Or that educators can alter their teaching strategies to accommodate a number of different needs in the same classroom.

It's almost as if girls haven't thrived despite the relative paucity of girl-focussed books in elementary and middle school curricula (a paucity that is slowly being redressed).

It's almost as if publishers and teachers and librarians haven't been working for years to expand the availability of reading material that will appeal to different students.

It's almost as if it's totally okay to have students reading violent, misogynist material, as long as those student are boys.

What is this? 1940?
Apr. 23rd, 2009 06:14 pm (UTC)
I quite enjoyed The Midwife's Apprentice. In middle school I would have liked to read it and the comics.
Apr. 23rd, 2009 10:33 pm (UTC)
Yeah, given the choice I'd have opted for both, too. I think a lot of people would...

But the gender segregation thing is ridiculous. I shudder to think where they might go with that if this sort of thing takes off. Having to take home ec in grade 8 was bad enough, but at least they weren't separating off the girls in English and making us read romances or something.

On most of those mental gender type tests I score either bang in the middle or slightly to the masculine side, and I really don't think that's all that unusual. A lot of the mental and behavioral traits people insist on ascribing to gender are loosely associated with it at best. Not all girls like conventionally "girly" things and not all boys like "boyish" things either.

I remember talking with one of my cousins when he was around 10 or so (I think I was around 20 - most of my cousins are a lot younger than me) and him complaining about people thinking it was weird that he liked nature and animals and would rather go for a walk in the forest or play with his cat than do sports. "Why do people think only girls are allowed to like nature?" he asked, and I didn't have much of an answer for him other than "Because people are stupid."
Apr. 23rd, 2009 10:46 pm (UTC)
In the comic you linked to, I originally misread their instructions to him as "Write a story with a female character who is not a prostitute, and leave her alive," which is even more appropriate, really.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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