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Does the school system benefit girls more than boys? Show more Show less

Girls outperform boys across all subjects, in all age groups, and across all racial groups. They secure more university places and suffer fewer disciplinary problems. By contrast, boys are overrepresented in programs for students with special educational needs and account for around 93% of suspensions and disciplinary actions. Is the modern school system designed to benefit girls more than boys?
As schools have evolved, they have incorporated learning techniques and disciplinary practices that appeal to the ways female students learn and reward their strengths.
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More female teachers

Teachers, particularly at the primary and elementary level, are predominantly female. This robs boys of role models in the classroom and hinders academic development.

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Context

Female teachers are more likely to adopt teaching strategies and enforce behaviour norms that are better suited to female students. This disadvantages male students.[1]

The Argument

In the UK, only 15% of primary school teachers and 38% of secondary school teachers are male. The education sector is dominated by female teachers and female voices. [2] Female teachers are more likely to enforce behavioural expectations that require students to sit still in the classroom and work independently. Boys develop these abilities later than girls, making it difficult for them to do so.[3] Female teachers are also likely to teach content that appeals to their interests. They might teach more literature with female protagonists that female students can more closely relate to, further alienating boys in the classroom and demotivating male students.

Counter arguments

Existing data doesn’t indicate that the larger volume of female teachers in schools is hindering male students’ academic performances. The percentage of female teachers in the US has been increasing since the 1990s. However, over the same period, male students have been able to close the reading gap. This does not support the argument that female teachers are forcing unattainable behavioural expectations on boys. Nor does it support the theory that female teachers teach literature that alienates male students. If this were the case, we would expect the reading gap between male and female students to widen as the percentage of female teachers increased.[1] Another German study which tracked male and female student academic achievement up to the age of ten found that teacher gender, age, pay and qualifications had no impact on male or female students’ academic performance.[4] Similarly, a study undertaken in the UK looked examined 8,978 11-year-old boys across England and found that the teacher's gender was unrelated to academic performance. Male teachers did nothing to boost academic performance and, by contrast, researchers concluded that female educators actually improved the boys' attitude to learning. It could, therefore, be concluded that female educators bring out the best in both male and female students in primary school.[5]

Premises

[P1] Females outnumber males in the education sector. [P2] Female teachers are more likely to enforce behavioural norms that disadvantage male students. [P3] Therefore, the school system is disadvantageous to male students.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P3] This conclusion is not supported by the data.

References

  1. https://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teaching_now/2018/07/teaching_force_is_mostly_female_bad_for_boys.html
  2. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/533618/SFR21_2016_MainText.pdf
  3. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/11668169/Why-arent-we-doing-more-to-encourage-men-to-be-primary-school-teachers.html
  4. http://ftp.iza.org/dp11139.pdf
  5. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/4230120.stm

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This page was last edited on Tuesday, 24 Sep 2019 at 13:46 UTC