Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Men ll

Two of my co-workers went to a day-long seminar on how boys learn and ways to 'assist' their educational outcomes. Unfortunately I was busy.

It was presented by well-known facilitator David Spraggs, a ECE teacher from Tauranga.

During my lunch break I got a chance to read his presentation. Well after reading the opening slide that praised the uniqueness and difference of God's glorious creations, I must admit I skimmed the rest - what was he thinking?

Anyway, it quickly became apparent where David stood politically and ideologically: boys fail because their teachers are female and the curriculum is gendered towards girls. Shit, right-wing 'mens rights' propaganda. Good thing I wasn't there after all.

There was a lot made of the fact that teachers are the sole determinant of learner success. Bullshit. While some teachers do well against the odds, this success is rarely replicated across schools - it's just too individual. This is the thinking behind standardised testing regimes like our National Standards farce here in Aotearoa. This position is classic right-wing rhetoric to mask the impact of social inequality as the main factor in ones success. Read back through this blog. Google it.

The curriculum is gendered to support girls. I know this is bullshit but I'll have to come back to this point as I can't find a certain article... but evidence suggests that despite equality of access, the voices of girls are often silenced and their subject choices are often the result of patriarchal social discourses.

Then he quotes Steve Biddulph. king of the "we need more masculinity to save our boys from all these fucking feminist teachers and their 'lets talk about it shall we' bullshit" and that's when I stopped reading. There was some stuff on engaging boys in learning but it looked like commonsense strategies that could apply to any bored restless kid, no matter their gender.

Just had to get that off my very masculine chest.

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