A libertarian inclined blog for teachers and learners of all ages. Comments, emails and links to other educational stuff welcome.
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Category archive: Girls
Miss Snuffleupagus reports and reflects:
When I worked in all-boys schools, I learnt a foolproof method of breaking up fights. I simply had to put myself in the middle of the two combatants, and they would immediately step away from each other. It had something to do with being in a predominantly male environment. The boys instinctively knew that hitting a girl, or even coming close to doing so, was unacceptable. Male teachers for instance, could not use my tactic successfully. They had to separate the boys by force.
Having used my clever method for years, it has become an instinctive reaction when I see a fight. I forget that in a mixed school, the constant presence of the girls means that chivalry is not cherished by the boys, as it is in a male-only environment.
Entire books could be (have been?) written about what happens to behaviour when a school switches from all boy to boy-girl. I remember being told by an academic at Royal Holloway College, which was near us when I grew up, that when they did that switch, one of the big changes was that all the gays suddenly came blazing out of their closets and started dressing like they were on TV or something. All that well-dressed competition? Don’t know, but that’s apparently what happened.
From last Friday’s Evening Standard Magazine, in a piece about the clothing business lady who models her own bikinis, Elizabeth Hurley:
How is Damian getting on with the girls in his new co-ed school? ‘He loves it,’ she says. ‘I’m having to teach him how to play with girls. He’s only really used to playing with boys, and so when I see him rugby tackling the girls to the floor, I have to explain that it is not very gentlemanly. When two six-year-old boys are rolling around on the grass fighting, and one says to the other, “Get off,” boys just do it harder. I’m trying to make him understand that when a girl says, “Get off,” you have to get off – immediately! Not a bad lesson to learn early. ...
Studentteacher83 reports on a town-country culture clash:
Year 7 camp takes place at the end of June and everything is being planned out. Two girls in my form asked if there would be anywhere to plug in hair straighteners. I know it’s only a camp for twelve year olds and it’s not like we’re heading out into a forest and surving by eating moss and slugs but they’re not really getting into the Ray Mears spirit of things.
Camps. Camping. In the countryside, presumably. I’ve often thought that it might make sense to crank up the Boy Scouts and the Girl Guides again, but make the background urban rather than rural. Instead of learning tracking in the countryside, you’d learn how to follow someone in a city. Instead of map reading in the mountains, it would be map reading with the A-Z. Memorise not trees, but the London Underground. Instead of animal spotting, car or motorbike repair. (First aid, however, would still be first aid.)
I think I am glad about this, not because I hate literature and art and all that, but because I love it, but a lot of them don’t:
For generations, the study of literature has been a pillar of liberal education, a prime forum for cultural self-examination, and a favorite major for students seeking deeper understanding of the human experience.
But over the last decade or so, more and more literary scholars have agreed that the field has become moribund, aimless, and increasingly irrelevant to the concerns not only of the “outside world,” but also to the world inside the ivory tower. Class enrollments and funding are down, morale is sagging, huge numbers of PhDs can’t find jobs, and books languish unpublished or unpurchased because almost no one, not even other literary scholars, wants to read them.
I can still remember a one-to-one lesson (more of a conversation really) which I did with Smart Girl (who is Smart Boy‘s sister) in which we discussed how she might set about choosing a boy friend. One way, we agreed (and I think we really did agree – I honestly don’t remember this as just me telling her and her staying quiet), to check out boys is to put them through ordeals, of the sort that happen to Young Men in Literature. As Author, she would put her Young Men through dramas and disasters and triumphs, and her Young Ladies would thus be able satisfactorily to choose between them, on the basis of more than mere charm and good looks.
If they wrote about things like that in Literary Criticism, maybe people might want to read it.
The author of the piece quoted above thinks literary criticism needs to become more like science. I suspect that this belief is more like the problem than the solution. The desire to produce “theories” of literature is, I feel, the problem. But his point is that these theories can and should be tested. It is worth reading, as we bloggers say, the whole thing.
There’s very little advice in men’s magazines, because men don’t think there’s a lot they don’t know. Women do. Women want to learn. Men think, “I know what I’m doing, just show me somebody naked.”
Number 77 here.