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Old 09-23-2009, 11:01 AM   #1
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Question Question about education...

I’m curious to hear from parents (especially of boys) who have children in the K-12 age range…

I’m currently taking a “Educational Psychology” class, and the most recent article we read was about how boys are being left behind in schools because schools are geared towards girls’ learning styles. After doing some outside research on it I’ve solidified the fact that I’m majorly confused.

Article: http://www.newsweek.com/id/47522

I’ve noticed that ALL of the reasons that scholars think boys don’t fair well in schools apply to me. Also, according to most things I’ve read – if I were to go through public schools again – it seems fair to say they would tag me as having a LD or ED. I don’t sit still, I fidget constantly, I never look like I’m listening even though I am, and if I look like listening it means I’m off in a day dream never to return. I wouldn’t be surprised if I was tagged with ODD also, as I have a tendency to rebel against authority. I argue, over analyze, and question EVERYTHING. (In my opinion, that's part of a healthy learning process.)

I was a straight A student on the gifted track. Top of my class, high percentile on all standardized tests. But I fidgeted and didn’t listen or follow directions well. I only calmed down in middle school when I started swimming all year round - as it gave me an outlet for my energy. It scares the CRAP out of me that if I went through public schools today I more than likely would have been diagnosed and medicated for learning and behavioral disabilities I didn’t have.

So parents, any thoughts?

(Calm thoughts. I know some people can get riled up by this topic, and I don’t want a fight. I want information and opinions that will help me sort this issue out, as I do not have children to have experienced it myself.)

Thanks.
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Old 09-23-2009, 12:00 PM   #2
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Interesting.I have 3 boys..18, 15, 12.Oldest is in college.My boys are certainly not ADD.If they struggled with anything it was/is, turing in assignments.I have the ability to look at their grades on-line and constantly see missing assignments.In middle school my oldest began to have this problem...same with my middle child.I called the principal and his comment to me was "this is normal for boys at this age, very common".I really was not offered any assistance with the problem.I had to take care of it at home.So...Maybe it is true that boys are excused for certain behaviors because of their gender...not sure, but interesting.I will be anxious to see the responses of other parents.And one more thing, "just being a boy", does not excuse any behavior in my house.
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Old 09-23-2009, 12:26 PM   #3
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Hm... I re-read what I wrote and think I should clarify a bit. I wasn't saying all boys have ADD. What I meant was that there's a lot of people speculating that boys don't do as well in schools as girls.

A second issue is that many think children are too readily being diagnosed with ADD for normal child-like bahvior.

I personally seem to hit both of these thoughts, and I'm neither a boy nor have I been diagnosed with ADD. It makes me curious as to whats going on in schools...

Harris - Thanks for the response I too am looking forward to the others to see what people's experiences are.
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Old 09-23-2009, 12:44 PM   #4
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I'm not sure what is considered a "girl's" learning style vs. a "boy's" learning style- can you elaborate the difference?

That being said who knows- my brother hated school growing up my sister and I loved it. My mom had issues with him since pre-school when he wouldn't help put away toys! He'd just want to play all day. Now he's in college and doing pretty well. My mother never had issues with my sister and I when we were in school, we were A/B students and I have a master's now and my sister is in her last year at college. I'm actually surprised my brother is going to community college.
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Old 09-23-2009, 12:50 PM   #5
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Here's a link to the article... I'll add it to my original post to.

http://www.newsweek.com/id/47522

I don't agree with the article in a number of ways.

Basically, I think they're saying boys are more hands on and need step by step instructions - where girls are better to sit, take notes and learn passively.
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Old 09-23-2009, 01:45 PM   #6
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First of all, diagnosis of a child as ADD or ADHD must be done by qualified people. Doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists...There are too many teachers AND parents out there "diagnosing" children. They don't have the skills. I know, I used to be a teacher.

That being said, whether or not a child is diagnosed as ADHD, if they do have trouble paying attention or sitting still, then alternate teaching methods can be beneficial. Actually, most students would benefit from that style of teaching.

If the teachers out there know what they're doing (and I like to believe that there is at least a majority who do), then this should not put any child at a disadvantage. Of course, this requires a teacher to alter teaching methods without singling out a child. Some teachers have trouble with the subtlety of this.

Also, there is a vast difference between a child who argues, discusses, etc. on topic and one who argues, discusses, overanalyzes in an irrelevant or tangential manner. One is conducive to greater learning and one derails the lesson to one degree or another.

If you have teachers that are labeling your children who are not diagnosed by medical professionals, fight them every step of the way. Teachers need to know that they are not the authorities on this subject. In the same respect, parents shouldn't jump to the conclusion that they know how to diagnose their own children.

That's my two cents.
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Old 09-23-2009, 02:02 PM   #7
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My son is in Kindergarten. I was concerned that he would get in trouble in school. He's a very smart little boy. He's been reading for a long time. (He's the only child of old parents. ) Of the 15 children in his class, 6 are non-English speakers. Being a normal little boy, if he is bored, he's going to get in trouble. Every time! I was very concerned that the teacher would be spending so much time with the beginners, he would be bored, and possibly labeled a troublemaker or ADD/ADHD. Luckily, his teacher is wonderful. How she can keep 15 children in line, I don't know. She's amazing!
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Old 09-23-2009, 02:07 PM   #8
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I have two elementary age sons in public school. Both are very good students, academically and behavior wise. They are well behaved and take school seriously because I taught them those values at home.

As harrismm stated, being a boy doesn't excuse any bad behavior in my opinion. I've volunteered quite a bit at their school and I've seen many boys behaving in ways that would not be tolerated by myself as a parent. I've heard many boys parents look at their sons bad behavior, laugh and say "oh, boys will be boys". It is a common excuse used when parents are too lazy to teach their children how to act.

Do I think boys do not do as well as girls in school because the school does not teach them the way they need to be taught? Absolutely not. In my opinion, many of these boys were never taught at home to respect teachers and to take learning seriously. I personally have found that parents of girls tend to expect more from their daughters. Both boys and girls will rise up to the expectations that we as parents and educators give them.
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Old 09-23-2009, 02:11 PM   #9
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Timeforme, Well said! There is a boy in my son's class who embarrasses my son. He come home telling me how badly this child acts. He says, "Seth is disgusting!" That is Seth's mom's fault.
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Old 09-23-2009, 02:21 PM   #10
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Very interesting article!!I, as a mother of 3 boys, really appreciate your interest in this subject.My 3 boys were all considered above average intelligence in elementary school.All participated in talented development programs.All are very kind, well mannered.Middle school was when I started noticing the disorganization, which was mentioned in the article.Homework done at home....then found out they did not turn it in at school.My oldest would say he could not find it, forgot it, was in his locker......Same with second child when he got to be this age.Absolutely drove me insane.I LOVE having boys, but struggle with relating to this disorganized behavior.And as I mentioned earlier, my calls to the middle school did not result in any solutions.And frankly I got very tired of hearing, "Dont worry, your boys are really nice kids, the teachers all enjoy them, they will grow out of it".WHAT????Well guess what?They have not.My oldest is in college and still struggles with disorganization BIG TIME!!!My second child is in 10 th grade and I continually see missing assignments on the internet for him as well.It is very frustrating to be a involved mother and feel like somehow you are doing something wrong.Organization and accountability are skills they will need for the rest of their lives.On a happy note...my 12 year old is still a 4.0 student but is now at the age where his brothers started to slide, so we will see....TO BE CONTINUED
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Old 09-23-2009, 02:38 PM   #11
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I find it very interesting that many of the participants in this discussion have boys who are academically gifted. My 2 sons also participate in their schools pull-out gifted program.

harrismm~ My oldest son who is a straight A student is also highly unorganized! His desk at school is always a complete mess. Papers everywhere-never in their appropriate folder etc. I guess being bright and well-organized do not go hand in hand.

Chelby29~It can be tough having a child who can already read going into Kindergarten. It seems like that is the primary focus of K and can lead to boredom for sure. My oldest would "space out" during phonics time in K. You are fortunate that he has a great teacher!
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Old 09-23-2009, 03:57 PM   #12
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harrismm, I think the problem you're running into is the mindset of schools today, not just with boys. i have two boys and a girl, and I'm getting the same kind of response when my daughter forgets things.... "she's a great kid, don't worry, etc" I am worried though.. I WANT them to have consequences.. they need to learn organization and responsibility. I expect it of them at home, and I feel that school should expect it also, not just excuse them from doing things because they are well behaved children. I'm glad they are, but i want them to be well behaved children who turn in their assignments, lol.
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Old 09-23-2009, 04:04 PM   #13
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Not a parent, but an educator. Just thought this was interesting because in my intro the educational issues class we read an article (sorry no link, it was years ago) talking about how our educational system overlooks girls, and boys fair much better. Basically it said that studies showed girls are called upon less for answers and given less one-on-one attention than boys in the classroom.

And in regards to schools benefiting one gender's learning strategy better than the other: Any good teacher should incorporate multiple learning strategies into his/her lessons!!! Gender aside, different students learn differently. Lessons should be geared towards visual, kenesthetic, verbal-oral, and verbal-written learners. And it's really not that hard to do. You give out worksheets and study guides, explain what to do, show how to do it, and then have the students practice. Interact with the students: instead of lecturing them lead discussions, create activities that get them out of their seats (especially at the younger ages), and use charts, graphs, posters. Variety is so important.

As far as the ADD/ADHD bit. I was diagnosed in 1st grade as ADHD. My school told my parents I needed to be put on Ritalin and entered into special education classes. My parents' response was "no and NO." We moved school districts. I still struggled a bit with getting work done in class, getting distracted easily, and oh man did I fidget. But the older I got the better I learned to cope with it. By high school the only time my ADHD really held me back was on timed tests (Things take longer when you can't focus ya know). And I pissed off some of my teachers a fair bit but never got into any serious trouble. I got all As and Bs in school, without exceptional effort (I'm sure I could have gotten all As if I'd had the motivation). Not saying all children with ADD/ADHD can get by without treatment; my case is relatively mild. But parents do have a say in their child's treatment and education when it comes to these issues. There are teachers out there who want to dump all of their "problem" students in a resource room. Parents, don't let the schools push you around. Let the school know what you expect from them. If your child needs an IEP get as involved as possible in that process. Plenty of students with learning disabilities are capable of doing just as well or even better than "normal" students. Get involved, get involved, get involved!
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Old 09-23-2009, 04:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eumie View Post
First of all, diagnosis of a child as ADD or ADHD must be done by qualified people. Doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists...There are too many teachers AND parents out there "diagnosing" children. They don't have the skills. I know, I used to be a teacher.
Agreed. There is a process to diagnosing children with learning disabilities in schools and no teacher should ever label a child without going through this process. It starts when a teacher notices a problem (behavoir, child struggles to keep up with class, etc). The teacher should notify the school administration/counsilor and any staff who are regularly in contact with that child keep an eye on the "issue," it could be just a phase or something more serious. If it is determined that something more serious is likely then the parents are contacted. Given the parents' concent the child is given sight and hearing screenings (undiagnosed visual and hearing impairment can often lead to a frustrated child who acts out or falls behind in class). And finally the child is evaluated by a professional. If the child is diagnosed with a learning disability or behavioral disorder than an IEP (individualized education plan) and/or a BMP (behavior management/modification plan) is developed for that child by a board that includes teachers, administrators, councilors, spec. ed professionals, and of course parents!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timeforme View Post
Both boys and girls will rise up to the expectations that we as parents and educators give them.
Exactly!
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Old 09-23-2009, 08:59 PM   #15
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I kiss a middle school teacher each morning and night. I am the father and father in law of high school teachers.

My son came from a divorced home...mine...he graduated college Magna Cum Laude and is a high school history teacher and head boys track coach today at a high school of 4,000 students...in his 5th year...age 28.

My daughter came from a divorced home...mine...she graduated Magna Cum Laude with Honors....has a Master's Degree...is a scientist, employed with a company doing research with NAVY men...age 26

My step-daughter came from a divorced home...her mom's....she has an evil step-father...me...she is a junior at a college in NY....mostly A's...on her way...hope-hope to being a vet...age 21

My nephew was raised by his uncle because his daddy died and his mom is a basket case...I am the uncle....he had ADHD....he graduated high school...(how I will never know!)...has just finished his first year in the NAVY scoring near the top of his class...age 18

As long as we group kids all together and not allow them to learn at the red-blue-yellow bird levels....we fail them all. The higher kids cannot go higher...the middle kids are ok...the lower kids will never reach their best...as long as teachers are made to teach the "middle" and as long as it goes against the rules to separate into groups...we will fail the top and lower kids.

As long as we allow the "leaders" of our country to convince us that the schools are to raise your/our children...we will fail the kids.

As long as parents fail to teach their children to respect their teachers we will fail the kids.

How in the heck can a kid that plays video games for hours on end...skateboard for hours on end...

be told "he just doesn't have it in him to pay attention"...not his fault...

We have convinced our kids that school is entertainment....when they aren't entertained anymore then it is somebody else's fault....

and don't you dare discipline my child for being a jack-***....that just ain't right!

My ex-wife handed me my daughter's report card to me one time at one of her tennis matches for high school...a young man standing next to me (bf of my daughter's doubles partner) looked over my shoulder and saw her grades...all A's...he said WOW! Amanda gets good grades...I could never get all A's...I told him my daughter worked very hard to get those grades....I told him not everyone is able to get all A's...but the reward was in doing your best...I asked him if he was doing his best...he said No...

I can tell you that your kids are going to have good and poor teachers....from time to time....our leaders will fail to us from time to time...and you may fail your kid from time to time...but I will tell you that...IMHO...

the most important thing a kid learns during his school years...comes from home.
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