View Full Version : Boys' Self-Esteem Problems in School

11-12-2010, 10:40 AM
This from The Daily Beast (http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-11-11/boys-self-esteem-problems/) by Lisa Wolfe:
As girls surge past boys in academics, and teachers preach the gospel of girl power, male adolescents are suffering a loss of self-worth. Lisa Wolfe talks to boys, teachers, and parents.

It’s parent-teacher night at a private middle school in New Jersey. Students have been asked to sit in as teachers inform their parents of their progress. A sixth-grade boy, whose mother asks he be identified as Dan, squirms as his teacher tells his parents he’s not trying hard enough in school. He looks away as the teacher directs his parents to a table of projects the class has done on ancient Greek civilization. Some projects are meticulous works of art, with edges burned to resemble old parchment.

Dan’s title page is plain and unillustrated, and he’s left an “e” out of “Greek.”

“You’ll never get anywhere if you don’t try,” says Dan’s father as they leave the classroom. “I don’t understand,” says Dan’s mother, whose two older daughters got straight As in school without her intervention.

For a few minutes, Dan acts like he doesn’t hear or care. But when he gets to the car he starts kicking the tires. “I’m sorry!” he says. “I’m sorry I’m not perfect like a girl!”

As girls catch up to—and surge past—boys in many educational realms, scenarios like this are playing out in homes and classrooms across the country. “Boys have stayed at the same level in school,” said Michael Thompson, a psychologist and the co-author of Raising Cain. “But girls have zoomed by them. Because of the anxious attention we pay to education, this can be demoralizing.”

The rise of girls in academia, from elementary school to college, has been well-documented. Girls are outperforming boys in all subjects except math and science, and even there, they’re closing the gap. There has been a steady 25-year decline in boys’ participation in extracurricular activities as girls take over clubs, newspapers, and yearbooks. For every 100 girls with learning disabilities there are 276 boys. For every 100 women graduating college, there are 77 men.

But how this shift is affecting boys psychologically is less well-known, perhaps partly because parents and teachers are reluctant to raise the question for fear it will be perceived as taking attention away from girls. But talk to them privately, and many teachers and parents say they worry that the sea change occurring in America’s classrooms is leaving boys feeling helpless and sapping them of their motivation.

read more>> (http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-11-11/boys-self-esteem-problems/)

11-12-2010, 12:03 PM
This is an excellent article. Thank you so much for posting it! I have a son and a daughter and this is an issue I have thought long and hard about in terms of where we decide to send our children to school. More male teachers is a wonderful beginning, but a deep understanding in our schools of how differently boys learn would be fantastic to see as well.