According to the author, what has happened to boys and girls as a result of promoting relational events over competitive ones?
Tom Golden (2014) thinks that there has been a development in education that serves students badly. Golden seems to infer that the specific needs of boys are neglected in classrooms in order to serve the needs of girls. It is argued that girls are less competitive and more cooperative than boys. This feminization of the classroom fails to appeal to boys’ competitive nature. As a consequence, boys tune out in the classroom and fail to perform scholastically. There remain, according to Golden, two remaining areas where boys, hard-wired for competition, may thrive: in gaming and sports. Clearly, video-games which feature warriors undertaking heroic quests in which there are clearly delineated winners and losers are more attractive to boys than girls. It may be concluded from the above that a more competitive atmosphere transposed into the classroom would improve the performance of boys which has shown a decline in recent years.
Girls, by contrast, are doing very well indeed in what is described as “feminized” schools catering to what seems to be a cooperative, non-competitive environment that seems to suit boys very badly. If there is any competition among girls, it is specifically related to the physical qualities employed to gain the affection of boys who display the most masculine traits in their own areas of competition.
What is the relationship the author is creating between Attention Deficit Disorder and the expectation of boys in the classroom?
Tom Golden doesn’t explicitly refer to Attention Deficit Disorder as a disorder, beyond that reference to medication at the end of the article, by which is presumably meant the use of drugs to increase the attention level of male students faring poorly because the dominant style of teaching fails them. As evidence, Golden argues, areas of education in which boys could fulfill their nature have been removed in a “feminized” system. That recess when boys could play boy games has been taken away. Once, Golden recalls, there were gym classes and the competition of sports, and these are found no longer. By contrast, a school held up as example, one which encourages fierce competition between two teams in all aspect of school life, engages males deeply, and thereby solves the issue of Attention Deficit Disorder by that means. It is hoped that a system of that kind everywhere would have the same results.
The author claims that competition for girls is the ability to “choose a mate.” They have immediate status given to them with their physical appearance. Discuss this idea.
There is in Golden’s article the assumption that a contest for dominance in the animal kingdom, with the alpha-male winning the female for reproduction, may be transposed readily to human society. A proposition that just as the more powerful male wins the female, so in human society it is entirely natural to have boys compete with women looking on and favoring the winner for reproductive needs.
That approach as methodology has two major flaws. In the first place, Golden’s conclusion is untrue, or at least only marginally true among humans, and in the second, they are not altogether true in the animal kingdom. Vinita Mehta (2013), as an example, admits that “size matters” as brute strength for animals in general, but not for those who are monogamous, that is, they have partners like human beings. Among these animals, it is precisely the so-called “feminine” traits such as nurturing or caring which matters. We may conclude that there is no easy way to explain human nature by the laws of the animal kingdom. Moreover, within our human community such factors as status, intelligence, compatibility, shared interest surely play a role, and need to be added to the complex mix of traits females may seek for even short-term relationships, and still more when matrimony is involved. Not to be forgotten as well are cultural factors when property-relationships, family ties, marriage and such considerations are brought into play.
In this scheme, girls are reduced to passive spectators, at most serving as reward in a male-oriented contest in which suppressed masculine traits are expressed to the exclusion of females and in repudiation of seemingly inferior female qualities. There is in this a valorization of male traits and contempt for female ones which is deeply offensive and disturbing as a deliberate tactic of provocation.
While the article may be correct in the assumption that boys are encouraged to behave more like girls in the classroom and that competition is being discouraged, one could also argue that the educational system is still biased against girls. For example, girls have never been as strongly encouraged to pursue careers in the math and science fields. Discuss.
There is considerable evidence that at one point in their careers many women conclude that whatever career path they had under-taken seems unappealing. At the same time, scientific-technical occupations are entirely male-dominated. Basically, young women growing up hear complaints from their own female relatives and their friends of the great difficulties and heroic struggles that it takes to get ahead as a woman. There are complaints about being ignored, stuck in a position (sticky floor) and have invisible but all too real constraints on promotion (glass ceiling). In fact, no matter how much girls are urged to embark on scientific careers, (in) a very male world, they look at the male environment, and think of other ways to succeed (Morley, 2013). That image advanced by Golden of women sizing up man showing male traits to attract women intent on procreation simply ignore the great numbers of women who have proven themselves equal in the competitive world of today’s marketplace (Kaufman, 2013). That men are competitive and women are not has not been proven, making claims along this line highly doubtful.
The Millennials are said to be the most depressed and anxious of the last several generations. This is despite our current “everyone gets a trophy” mentality. How can we encourage more competition while teaching kids to deal with the pressures to succeed?
That Millennials are depressed and “everyone gets a trophy” belong to entirely different categories of life and ought not be compared one with the other. There are many reasons why we are depressed looking about the world around us and thinking about our prospects. Moreover, our educational system is in all but superficial aspects very competitive determining in the end the quality of our education and who we may network with for future success. The issue of how to encourage competition while teaching kids to deal with failure should be reconceived in this manner: teach kids to succeed cooperatively and to console each other in failure. Put differently, there need be at the same time team-based competition, and the development of more “feminine” team-building skills. The two are not mutually exclusive.
How can families encourage the emotional development of children including the competitive “nature” of boys and relational “nature” of girls?
The question contains a hidden assumption that there is such a thing as what is “natural” in either gender. There is at one end traits characteristic of girls and at the other of boys. Most of us are somewhere in-between, and more shaped by images in the media than by our genes. There are, however, occasions when male skills, so highly valued, work less well for career success than soft skills (Eby et al, 2003). It may well be that getting everyone to work together, understanding and responding to others with attention, personal neatness and such “female” traits should be studied by men who rely too much on masculine prowess, while many women should learn to assert themselves and at least understand the ways of alpha-like males. That way the issues related to gender differences may give way to sharing in this area as in other aspects of life, which may involve androgyny as my teacher has suggested.