Separate Science Curricula For Boys and Girls? - U2 Feedback

Go Back   U2 Feedback > Lypton Village > Free Your Mind > Free Your Mind Archive
Click Here to Login
 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 03-15-2006, 02:55 PM   #1
Forum Moderator
 
yolland's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 7,471
Local Time: 03:41 PM
Separate Science Curricula For Boys and Girls?

Quote:
School science held back by battle of the sexes

By Richard Garner, Education Editor
Independent.co.uk, 13 March 2006


Boys want their science lessons to be about weapons of mass destruction and the effect of chemical weapons on the human body, while girls prefer to learn about how to deal with anorexia and bulimia or the significance of their dreams. These findings emerge in a study of what 15-year-olds want from science lessons conducted by Leeds University, published today. The stark contrast in what pupils look for from science has prompted researchers to call for curriculum planners to consider drafting separate syllabuses for each sex.

"The responses of the boys reflect strong interest in destructive technologies and events," say the researchers. Boys opted for alternative therapies as their most dreaded topic. Girls, by contrast, would prefer to learn about their own bodies. They wanted to know how to deal with eating disorders and they were also interested in how to beat cancer and what to do to keep fit, leaving teachers with a daunting prospect for teaching a mixed-gender class. There was, though, some measure of agreement on what they least wanted to learn about: both sexes were equally turned off by the thought of studying the benefits and possible hazards of modern farming methods. Neither wanted to study "famous scientists and their lives".

The findings come from a study by the Centre for Studies in Science and Mathematics Education at the University of Leeds, which aimed to find out how science could be made more popular. It follows years of decline in take-up of the subject at GCSE and A-level. Last summer the number of pupils taking a science GCSE fell by 8,000. While A-level entries rose overall by nearly 85,000 (12.1 per cent) between 1991 and 2005, entries in physics dropped by 35.2% and chemistry by 12.6%.

The researchers said that the "persistence of gender differentials" in what pupils wanted to study could be described as "disappointing" in view of the millions ploughed into ensuring equity of access. They said the question of separate lesson plans for each sex might have to be considered if the Government and curriculum planners really wanted to reverse the decline in take-up of the sciences at GCSE and A-level.

Boys like ...
--Explosive chemicals.
--How it feels to be weightless in space.
--How the atom bomb functions.
--Biological and chemical weapons and what they do to the human body.
--Black holes and other spectacular objects in outer space.
--How meteors, comets or asteroids can cause disasters on earth.
--The possibility of life outside earth.
--How computers work.
--The effects of strong electric shocks and lightning on the human body.
--Brutal, dangerous and threatening animals.

Girls like ...
--Why we dream and what it means.
--Cancer, what we know and how can we treat it.
--How to perform first aid and use basic medical equipment.
--How to exercise to keep the body fit.
--How we can protect ourselves against sexually transmitted diseases.
--What we know about HIV/Aids and how to control it.
--Life and death and the human soul.
--Biological and human aspects of abortion.
--Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.
--How alcohol might affect the body.
Sure! And since studies also show that boys in the main enjoy math more, while girls in the main fancy literature, how about separate tracks for those too? Because education is all about catering to what kids are most inclined to find entertaining, right?

I do think these findings are interesting as far as it goes, and perhaps they might have some value for thinking about ways to integrate a bit more applied science into the curriculum--tossing them the odd bone in amidst all the "unfun" stuff, so to speak. But overall, I suspect this is one more case of education researchers missing the point when it comes to diagnosing why kids' enthusiasm for science is really declining.

At the risk of sounding overly optimistic, I would say kids get disinterested in science mostly because parents, and to a lesser degree elementary teachers, aren't doing an adequate job of priming them with activities and interactions that provide them with a sense of just how satisfying and wonderment-provoking it can be to learn about how the physical world works. Just like reading to and with them when they're young teaches them a lifelong love of storytelling and narrative as a way of contemplating the world. No, organic chemistry wasn't my favorite subject either, but I always understood that in a broader context of becoming a scientifically literate person--a good which it never occurred to me to question, because I'd seen firsthand how much excitement and fascination it can open up for you when you're given the tools to understand why plants and animals and meteors and atom bombs work the way they do.
__________________

__________________
yolland is offline  
Old 03-16-2006, 06:45 AM   #2
Rock n' Roll Doggie
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: full of sound and fury
Posts: 3,386
Local Time: 03:41 AM
I can't believe they even considered it

foray
__________________

__________________
foray is offline  
Old 03-16-2006, 06:57 AM   #3
ONE
love, blood, life
 
A_Wanderer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: The Wild West
Posts: 12,518
Local Time: 12:41 AM
Engaging children to science means not teaching them to hate it, I say bring on more Dinosaurs if I was taught to tell the difference between a metatarsal and metacarpal in grade 4 I would be sitting much happier now

I think that there may be merit to using taylored curricula in single sex schools, brain development between the sexes is different and if there is trouble grasping the principles then kids are not going to get very far. These differences for better or worse should be considered.
__________________
A_Wanderer is offline  
Old 03-16-2006, 07:05 AM   #4
Rock n' Roll Doggie
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: full of sound and fury
Posts: 3,386
Local Time: 03:41 AM
In high school I was not allowed to join the cadet corps even though I wanted to, or attend metal shop or wood workshop courses because I was not a boy. I always felt slighted and disadvantaged by such gender-based school policies.

foray
__________________
foray is offline  
Old 03-16-2006, 07:10 AM   #5
ONE
love, blood, life
 
A_Wanderer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: The Wild West
Posts: 12,518
Local Time: 12:41 AM
I am not talking about exclusion, rather the ways that the concepts are introduced and again it was related to same sex schools.
__________________
A_Wanderer is offline  
Old 03-16-2006, 11:55 AM   #6
Blue Crack Addict
 
nbcrusader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Southern California
Posts: 22,071
Local Time: 06:41 AM
It is unfortunate that the study examined this issue using student preferences.

Boys and girls may learn differently and it would be a shame if we refused to acknowledge a difference and fine tune education to meet match those differences.

But I agree with Yolland's comment about "catering to what kids are most inclined to find entertaining". On many different levels, expectations are held short because we want acceptance from children. We saw a similar problem in the school lunch thread, where meals are structured around what children would be willing to eat, not what is most nutritious.
__________________
nbcrusader is offline  
Old 03-16-2006, 01:05 PM   #7
Blue Crack Addict
 
anitram's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NY
Posts: 16,294
Local Time: 09:41 AM
I understand employing different teaching methods for different students in order to best exploit their gifts and promote better understanding of the material. That's perfectly reasonable because you can't put a square peg into a round hole.

But who cares what the students want to be taught the most? Science is science and at the high school level, it is still rather basic. You should be taught the curriculum you need for further studies in university, not be dictating to the educators what does and doesn't interest you. Should girls only be taught math as it pertains to calculating the discount on a pair of shoes because that may interest us? How silly.
__________________
anitram is offline  
Old 03-16-2006, 06:45 PM   #8
Rock n' Roll Doggie
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: full of sound and fury
Posts: 3,386
Local Time: 03:41 AM
AWanderer: Putting emphasis on certain subjects for girls & boys can have the effect of exclusion, but you are right, I suppose we have to actually see how they draft the new program before we jump on it. I wonder if "drafting separate syllabuses for each sex" means different emphasis on subjects, or merely different methods of teaching (if so, it'd be interesting to see how).

f
__________________
foray is offline  
Old 03-16-2006, 06:52 PM   #9
Refugee
 
Muggsy's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: I live in colombia, with a box of watercolors and butterflies in my tummy
Posts: 2,033
Local Time: 09:41 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
I understand employing different teaching methods for different students in order to best exploit their gifts and promote better understanding of the material. That's perfectly reasonable because you can't put a square peg into a round hole.

But who cares what the students want to be taught the most? Science is science and at the high school level, it is still rather basic. You should be taught the curriculum you need for further studies in university, not be dictating to the educators what does and doesn't interest you. Should girls only be taught math as it pertains to calculating the discount on a pair of shoes because that may interest us? How silly.


and that would reinforce ideas like that women can't be good astronauts or archeologists and men can't be biologists or psychiatrists. It is important to teach the kids that they must think out of the "gender" box
__________________

__________________
Muggsy is offline  
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:41 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Design, images and all things inclusive copyright © Interference.com