absence of girls removes pressure to conform to masculine stereotype, claims us researcher
the guardian, wednesday 20 january 2010
boys' schools are the perfect place to teach young men to express their emotions and are more likely to get involved in activities such as art, dance and music, according to research released today.考试用书
far from the traditional image of a culture of aggressive masculinity in which students either sink or swim, the absence of girls gives boys the chance to develop without pressure to conform to a stereo*type, the us study says.
boys at single sex schools were said to be more likely to get involved in cultural and artistic activities that helped develop their emotional expressiveness, rather than feeling they had to conform to the "boy code" of hiding their emotions to be a "real man".
the report, presented at a conference of the international boys' schools coalition in london attended by the heads of private and state schools, goes against received wisdom that boys do better when taught alongside girls.
the headmaster of eton, tony little, warned that boys were being failed by the british education system because it had become too focused on girls. he criticised teachers for failing to recognise that boys are actually more emotional than girls, despite the fact that girls "turn on the waterworks".
the research argued that boys often perform badly in mixed schools because they become demoralised when their female counterparts do better earlier in verbal skills and reading, because the left side of the brain develops faster in girls. they also felt they had to be "cool" rather than studious.
but in single sex schools teachers are able to tailor lessons to boys' learning style, letting them move around the classroom and getting them to compete in teams to prevent boredom, wrote the study's author, education expert abigail james, of the university of virginia.
teachers could encourage boys to enjoy reading and writing with specifically "boy-focused" approaches such as themes and characters that appeal to them. boys in boys' schools "loved" to pen verse because they enjoyed the "inherent structure in poems", james said. because, the researchers say, boys generally have better spatial skills, more acute vision, learn best through touch, are more impulsive and more physically active, they need to be given "hands-on" lessons where they are allowed to walk around, with this natural impulse not seen as disruptive. "boys in mixed schools view classical music as feminine and prefer the modern genre in which violence and sexism are major themes," james wrote.
single sex education also made it less likely that boys would feel they had to conform to a stereotype gained from the media by girls that men should be "masterful and in charge" in relationships. "in the present sexualised atmosphere prevalent in mixed schools, boys feel coerced into acting like men before they understand themselves well enough to know what that means," the report said.