Are Women Teachers to Blame for Boys' Low Test Scores?
In "The Mind of Man" by David Thomas, the academic performances of both men and women are scrutinized. He quotes an old calypso song "Man Smart, Woman Smarter" (120). But is this true, and if it is true, why are women generally regarded as being smarter, especially in their primary and secondary education?
Dr. John Nicholson, author of "A Question of Sex", states that men and women are different in the types of mental tasks they perform (120). Times magazine states in an article published in January 1992, that "Males excel at rotating three-dimensional objects in their head. Females prove better at reading the emotions of people in photographs" (121). The author of the article is referring to the fact that maybe our brains are put together differently.
Girls and boys performances in school are much different. The girls get the high grades and the boys leave. Why? Is it just because their brains are different? David Thomas argues that there has to be other factors involved. It can't just be brain function. He suggests that the social aspect in these studies must also be looked at and considered.
He looks at how boys speak up more in class and girls remain quiet. He states society has often viewed a girl who speaks out as "hectoring and domineering" (121). He also points out that boys get punished more for their behavior. Tony Mooney wrote in the Independent on Sunday: "Women teachers find boys too noisy, too aggressive, too boisterous" (121). By this he means teachers favor girls over boys because boys are not acting like the girls. And the majority of primary school teachers are women. Mooneys own son remarked how the female teachers shouted at him more than the male teachers did. I am sure that there are many male teachers who feel the same way as these female teachers. There is a certain environment that is critical for learning to take place. If the boys are always too noisy, too aggressive or too boisterous, then, of course, they are going to have to face the consequences of their actions.
An experiment at the University of California, Los Angeles proved interesting when a machine taught both boys and girls. The boys ended up scoring higher than when a woman taught them. I am wondering if girls scored higher than the boys did when male teachers teach them? I also wonder how the girls scored when taught by a machine; maybe they scored higher, too. At the secondary school level boys do perform better on technical or scientific subjects. Now this goes back to the first assumption that our brains work differently, or is it because more male teachers may teach these subjects? According to Mooney, teacher of the similar sex may have the "instinctive understanding that an adult will enjoy with a child who is going through a process which he or she went through too" (122). In other words, they can relate better with a child of the same sex. I am a female kindergarten teacher and...