Boys vs girls in class

(14 Posts)
We3bunniesOfOrientAre Thu 06-Dec-12 12:20:37

I'd be interested to look at that. I spoke to a few parents this morning, I don't think many of them had thought about it much. Not sure whether best to approach as a school wide policy, or just this teacher. Dd1 who is a bit older says they don't have to line up in boys/ girls, but they usually choose to, which I am fine about. Dd2 however I have seen and heard the teacher saying 'boys here and girls here' also their chart in the classroom with all the points for the girls. Dd2 says that the girls are always ahead, but that it ends up as a draw, so they obviously massage the marks a little bit. Even so I agree it sends the wrong message.

I guess it is particularly as we had a similar issue with girls in nursery as Sushi and now dd2 plays mainly with the boys. I don't want her feeling that she is strange to want to associate more with the boys. She also has more 'boy' interests e.g. Maths, construction, which I really encourage. I might not have worried quite as much with dd1 as she is much more 'girl' oriented so it would be confirming her choice of friends, still not great for her awareness of equality but less personally relevant iykwim.

They differentiate for ability for tables etc so I don't feel that dd2 is stereotyped academically at the moment, but it is these more 'subtle' influences I am concerned about.

KRITIQ Thu 06-Dec-12 10:05:54

There is just SO much wrong with this and I hope you will raise your concerns firmly. Within my own lifetime (in the US at least, and even more recently elsewhere in the world,) classes were segregated by race. Now, we would (hopefully) all find that practice abhorrent, but effectively, this teacher is doing something similar along lines of gender. For all the reasons said above, this is wrong, wrong, wrong.

I can't lay my hand on it now, but there was a report perhaps 18 months ago of a study of primary school children where there was a conscious effort by teachers not to refer to the children by their sex or gender (i.e. no "boys line up on the right, girls on the left" or "boys read the first 2 paragraphs aloud then girls read the next two.") It wasn't even about challenging gender stereotypes (although if they came up, that happened.) It was basically just about giving no regard to gender differences in the class room.

From what I recall, the outcome was that children in the class were less likely to espouse or agree with gender stereotypes - the "only girls can do this" and the "that's a toy for boys," kinds of statements and beliefs.

If anyone remembers it and can find a link, please help.

The study would suggest that deliberately separating children by gender contributes to adoption of gender stereotypes by children, including the view of girls as inferior and setting up false barriers/conflicts between the sexes. Bear in mind, this was also the outcome of racial segregation in schools with regard to race. Should we be surprised it would be the same with any other characteristic of a human being?

AbigailAdams Thu 06-Dec-12 10:02:57

No worries Sushi. Thanks for the apology.

SushiPaws Thu 06-Dec-12 10:01:10

Yes Abigail, you're right, that was inappropriate. I just hated the way my dd was pushed out of the group of girls and made to feel like she was on her own. Some of the things these little girls did were very nasty, excluding dd and laughing at her for various reasons.

Because girls were told to play, sit and work as a group, dd was not able to escape. She was trying desperately to get in the favour of the ring leader who had 3 older sisters and had learned how to manage social groups. Dd went into that year very confident and left a very confused little girl. It took months to convince her it was okay to play with boys and girls.

Now in school, that group of girls are still there but dd has made other friends of both sexes.

I think the gender separation for rewards makes both sexes resent each other. The result is not good for social confidence.

Apologies for my earlier remark, not appropriate.

AbigailAdams Thu 06-Dec-12 09:22:45

Agree with the rest. Poor teaching practice, not helping anyone.

"little girl bitchy mean groups" These are 4 yr olds you are talking about. That is a horrible misogynistic thing to say.
"teaches children they should be judged on gender" It certainly does. Seems that the teachers aren't the only ones gender stereotyping.

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 06-Dec-12 08:56:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ConsiderCasey Thu 06-Dec-12 07:29:08

As an ex teacher who used that tactic just once in a desperate attempt to get the rowdy boys to behave I would say it's not a healthy tactic because although it may work, it breeds resentment towards the girls.

Plus it overlooks those boys who aren't rowdy. I always felt sorry for them, those middle unnoticed boys who were well behaved but were lumped together with the rowdies because of their gender.

SushiPaws Thu 06-Dec-12 07:20:08

Dd's nursery class at 3 was fantastic, teacher put the kids in groups of girls and boys, dd had both male and female friends.

In her next class at 4, the teacher did this gender separation. It was awful for dd, little girl bitchy mean groups meant she was ridiculed for wanting to play with the boys. The boys in general didn't do well, always low on the achievement chart. It was horrible to watch. I didn't say anything about the gender separation but I did complain that dd was unhappy.

Now she's in school, she is grouped with girls and boys, one of her best friends is male, she is much happier. The class is separated into reading groups and the children's behaviour is awarded on an individual basis.

I would say you should say something (even though I didn't). Gender separation like this is bad for both the sexes and teaches children they should be judged on gender, which is not something I'd like my kids to do.

We3bunniesOfOrientAre Thu 06-Dec-12 06:58:33

Ah yes Gold that would probably be dd! Spirited middle child. Glad I'm not too off target, it just seems so pervasive there. Children do at least go in through the same gates, but throughout all years they line up in boys and girls lines, this is the first time though that I have encountered this reward system.

ohfunnyface Thu 06-Dec-12 06:52:44

Great suggestion- you should totally make it. Two equal sized groups are important! As you say, at that age, 12 is more likely to settle more quickly than 18.

Also, there is very likely the odd naughty girl.in the girls group who can coast through on the backs of jer better behaved girl friends. Similarly; there will be boys who always behave well but are overshaddowed by a rowdy group and possible gender stereotyping on the part of the teacher

It's lazy grouping on her part too.

HogInABog Thu 06-Dec-12 06:45:36

I would say something. Aside from
The gender issue, rewards systems
should be there to encourage all. So the groups children are put in to strive for rewards should be such that the more disruptive children in the class are encouraged to be successful and given a fair chance of success. If the boys' group is always behind then they will feel they are failing. This isn't fair on those who are well behaved and it isn't teaching and encouraging the more easily distracted members of the class to behave well. It is simply reinforcing their behaviour and cementing the idea that they are "naughty boys".

BeataNoxPotter Thu 06-Dec-12 06:36:42

I would bring this up too. To address behaviour in a a class along gender lines is inappropriate and divisive and i wouldn't be happy about it, whether I had a DD or a DS.

We3bunniesOfOrientAre Thu 06-Dec-12 06:26:51

Wondering whether to say anything, in dd's class the teacher is always having a running tally of which gender is the best behaved - in lining up nicely, sitting on the mat etc. Girls are always in front, there are some disruptive boys, but also there are only about 12 girls and 18 boys, so obviously it is easier for 12 people to settle down than 18 people. They always line up in boys and girls lines on the playground etc too in all year groups. I just feel that in dd's class, given the gender split it will always be unfair.

I know that dd is really pleased that girls are always winning, but I feel for the boys, some of whom are lovely well mannered children. Also I guess on a wider level the constant grouping together of boys compared to girls. They have house colours, which are only used on Sports Day, could suggest that they use those groupings, or blue/brown eyes etc, or rotating the divisions. Wondering what other people's perspectives are and any experiences. If I did say anything it would be as a suggestion for class rep meeting rather than a rant. They are in yr1.

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