Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Wait a minute...Reverse that...Thank you.

Because we have a 3rd grade girl, we know, roughly, where our 1st grade boy should be academically. A few months ago, we looked at the school work that he was bringing home and were disappointed.

Much of it was not done. Often what was done was wrong. When things were done wrong, there was no attempt by the teachers to offer instruction or correction.

In short, the work, particularly in writing, was shoddy.

So, my sister asked for a conference. The teacher was able to show her enough other work to satisfy us that he was doing better than the things he brought home led us to believe.

Still, my sister stated her worry that his writing wasn't as good as it should be, and wasn't anywhere near where his sister was at a comparable time.

At that point the teacher said: "Well, he's a boy, and boys aren't as good at writing."

At that point, my sister's jaw just about hit the floor.

Image a teacher saying this: "Well, she's a girl, and girls aren't as good at math."

It would never happen. NEVER. But a first grade teacher with a masters in education spewed the opposite at us.

This is what boys are up against. Expectations that they can't be expected to be as good as girls, a lack of interest in getting them to be as good as girls, and an acceptance of their second class status in the classroom.

No wonder boys are doing so very badly; this stuff starts as soon as they pick up a pencil.

1 comment:

Tom Comeau said...

We've talked about this exact issue in School Improvement Team meetings at the elementary level (where I was the PTA rep).

The problem seems to be that boys are more likely to find the act of holding a pencil physically uncomfortable, and so they avoid writing until their hands are more full developed.

I don't know why this would be true, or if there is an medical or developmental research to support it. The assertion, which came from several teachers, originate with boys complaining that it hurt to hold a pencil.

There were several adaptations, including padding that slipped over the pencil and changes to grip, and I think some teaching methods were easier on the joints that others. (Sorry, I don't remember if chancery or Zaner-Bloser was preferred.)

I suggest you talk to your son to see if he has mechanical trouble with writing. Boys can do as well as girls (and we did things to assure that they could succeed, just as we put extra attention into assuring we didn't short the girls on math) if they are appropriately taught.