Teaching Society That Boys Really Are Different
This is a discussion on Teaching Society That Boys Really Are Different within the Chit chat (MAIN) anti misandry forums, part of the Introduction to anti misandry category; By VICKIE CHACHERE The Tampa Tribune Published: October 19, 2008 Before he was a best-selling author, respected social philosopher and ...
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Teaching Society That Boys Really Are Different
By VICKIE CHACHERE
The Tampa Tribune
Published: October 19, 2008
Before he was a best-selling author, respected social philosopher and corporate consultant, Michael Gurian was a 7-year-old boy whom no one seemed to understand.
He struggled with hyperactivity, was prescribed Ritalin and was considered a problem child. But he ultimately prevailed with the help of mentors who could see his potential. Now Gurian has become a voice for boys just like him - the ones who flounder in school, get diagnosed with behavioral conditions, and end up giving up on education. Gurian is coming to Tampa as the keynote speaker at The Ophelia Project's annual benefit dinner Thursday. He presents evidence that boys think and behave differently than girls based on their brain structures and brain chemistry and encourages public schools and families to embrace all that is enigmatic about boys.
I spoke with Gurian as he prepared for his visit to Tampa. The following are excerpts from that conversation.
Q: What do you see as the major issues facing boys in today's society?
A: People have to realize the development of the male brain - males are more fragile than we think. They may grow up to be tough ...but theirs is a fragile brain. When we look at all the brain disorder stats, males are dominating the stats. ... Two of those areas are discipline - boys are definitely set up to behave differently than girls - and the other is literacy. The female brain is more set up to be verbal; the male brain is more spatially oriented. When they teachers are trained, they are trained everyone is equal.
Boys have a more spatial brain, a more aggressive brain. ... We end up with boys moving into elementary school already feeling defective because they are told they are behaviorally defected. A lot of these boys end up hating school. ... They are now in a school system that does not understand them; now they hate school and they start separating from it. Males get two-thirds of the Ds and Fs in our schools. This becomes a huge problem when we move to high school, and of course they have a higher dropout rate. And then when we move into the economy, we see males are not trained enough. We are losing males who can survive and thrive. This mismatch of males to the system is starting when they are very young.
Q: So why do some boys do well in school?
A: I was a very verbal boy and not very physical; I was bad at sports, bad at athletics, but very verbal. They boys can have natural talent anywhere. Men tend to do better in hard sciences - physics, engineering, stuff that is spatial and mechanical. ... It is both nature and nurture. ... I started suggesting to teachers that they allow boys to draw what they are supposed to write and create a storyboard or comic book for what they are supposed to write. The right hemisphere of that male brain is trying to process the assignment, but that's the spatial side. If the teacher doesn't give the spatial prompt, all the boy does is stare at the blank paper. When they are told to draw a storyboard, they have access to their whole memory and then they can write.
Q: Are you in favor of same-sex education?
A: Yes. ... It really depends on how it is executed and the buy-in from the community. If a school district or a community is having trouble with either gender in any of the core areas, that should inspire an immediate interest in getting some training in how to do single-sex options. A lot of kids can learn in any environment. ... But should every school be single sex? No. I would not expect American education to go completely single-sex, but there are areas where it would be really important for teachers and principals to look at it. I would caution you; we've gone in to districts that have single-sex classrooms, but the teachers haven't had the training on how to teach just boys or teach just girls, and that totally backfires.
Q: It seems so political to admit that men's and women's brains work differently. How have you gotten past that?
A: Once they skeptics see the brain scans, they say, "OK. We are done with the political stuff." In the last five to seven years the brain research and the genetics research have been in the media constantly. When I started this in the late 1980s, it was nowhere. ... We don't get hit with the stuff I got hit with 20 years ago. There's very little politics in it at all.
Q: What might your 7-year-old self have wanted people to know about the ways boys think and behave?
A: My professional passion and my professional service all comes from wanting this next generation to have these tools so they the school system don't produce kids who hate school like I did. ... I had been that boy who was not considered wonderful, who was considered a problem. ... I can isolate two or three mentors - and we really teach a lot about mentoring - who really helped me. I got one of those in high school and two in college. The other thing that helped me was I joined the debate team; I was an argumentative guy. It gave me a structure and a community. It gave me a reason for being, and that took me into college.
I am one of those boys - and there are so many out there - who saw school as survival. We tried to find our purpose in life outside of school because in school we didn't see our purpose. We need boys to see that school is part of their purpose. When it's not linked to purpose, they get into gangs; they get into drugs. School is the best structure.
Q: So now, having teenage daughters, what have you come to learn about the female brain?
A: Girls are now succeeding so much in school and college, but when they get into the workplace, the stuff that made them successful in high school and college isn't translating - especially if they are in a field that has any kind of science side to it. Another big area is the emotional and relational ... Girls and women do process more emotive and sensorial data. That makes them better in writing English papers, but they also get caught up in relational aggression and confusion in the workplace. They need mentoring too.
Vickie Chachere is a Tribune editorial writer.The men's and fathers' movement needs to make sure it never sees females as the enemy,but only misandry--whether from females or from males.If not, we'll become like the bigoted feminists that this movement was formed to oppose.Glenn Sacks
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