Posts Tagged ‘Gender Equality’

Father Posts Daughter’s Controversial Worksheet

November 11, 2012


I don’t have a particular issue with this worksheet. I honestly believe that differences exist between genders and understanding these differences can help you as a teacher or parent. My problem is with the teacher’s corrections. This young girl was entitled to respond the way they she did. It was an open-ended task that clearly had no right or wrong answer. By insisting that she fill out the table in a certain way, the teacher is in fact undermining the very nature of the task.

The girl’s father was far less generous about the objective of this activity than I was:

A little girl’s school assignment has generated impassioned debate online after her father, blogger Steve Bowler, sparked outrage by posting the third-grader’s worksheet, which dealt with gender stereotypes.

Dad, who designs and blogs about video games (@gameism on Twitter), pointed out his daughter’s unsuccessful attempt to separate items into three categories: boys, girls and both. On Saturday, he posted her completed worksheet and tweeted: “Proud my 8yo girl failed this worksheet. Wish she had failed it even ‘worse.’ #GenderBias”

Based on the image alone, Bowler tweeted that it looked like his daughter’s class was asked to sort activities and products like “Barbies” and “Erector sets” into gender columns. She crowded all the answers into a column labeled “Both,” and the teacher wrote at the bottom, “We talked about how each square needs to be filled in.”

“My wife brought [the worksheet] to my attention Friday night when we were looking through her schoolwork folder,” Bowler told HuffPost via email, adding that his daughter hadn’t complained about the assignment herself.

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Token Gestures Devalue Women

July 23, 2012

She may claim to have been joking, but here ‘joke’ clearly had a serious overtone. When volleyballer Natalie Cook claimed she would protest if a woman wasn’t given the honour of being the Olympic Games flag bearer, she was trying to influence a decision that should never be made on gender lines.

Australian beach volleyballer Natalie Cook says she won’t take part in the opening ceremony of the London Games unless a woman is chosen the carry the flag.

The 37 year-old says its about time a female was named as our flag bearer and is prepared to stage a protest if another man is selected as the flag bearer.

If a female is chosen to be flag bearer, Cook’s comments have the potential to devalue that athlete’s achievements. It could be seen as a decision made out of political correctness rather than merit. That wouldn’t be fair to the athlete.

If a male is chosen, they would have to face unnecessary guilt at depriving a woman from getting the honour. This too would be completely unfair.

Token gestures are disrespectful. Australia’s female athletes are exceptional. Should one of them be given the honour of holding our flag, they shouldn’t have the honour diminished by a feeling that it was bestowed due to political correctness rather than merit.

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Youth Violence Blamed on Lack of Male Teachers

June 24, 2011

This one wins “The Long Bow Award” for the most absurd theory in education.

A Decline in the number of male teachers is being blamed for rising youth violence.

Adolescent psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg said the lack of male teachers was a major problem.

“We know males give something different to the developing boy than what female teachers give. To some extent we have lost that male narrative and left it to Hollywood to teach boys about masculinity,” he said.

The article is right though in suggesting there are very real reasons why males are not finding teaching an attractive career path:

Low pay, a perception that teaching is “women’s work”, and fears of being labelled a pedophile have been blamed for the reluctance of young men to teach.

As long as males don’t find this career path appealing, we are wrong in believing that we even have a shortage of male teachers to begin with.  There’s nothing worse than a teacher that doesn’t enjoy what he/she does.

I wonder if this frenzy to have more male teachers will inspire a new kind of sexual equality.  I wonder if the following methods will be employed to get potential male teachers interested:

– Pay them more than female teachers

– Offer a university fees rebate for male teachers

– Create quota systems for males in schools and universities.

I believe all these measures would be a mistake.  Essentially what we are looking for are good teachers not male teachers.  Whilst I hope men come to discover what a wonderful profession this is, I wouldn’t push it.

As for the lack of male teachers being blamed for youth violence, I very much doubt it.  Male teachers can have a very strong effect on male students in particular, but the theory is outrageous at best.

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