Thursday, October 31, 2013

Boys are treated like defective girls

Christina Hoff Sommers writes in Time magazine:
Being a boy can be a serious liability in today’s classroom. As a group, boys are noisy, rowdy and hard to manage. Many are messy, disorganized and won’t sit still. Young male rambunctiousness, according to a recent study, leads teachers to underestimate their intellectual and academic abilities. “Girl behavior is the gold standard in schools,” says psychologist Michael Thompson. “Boys are treated like defective girls.” ...

In a major report released last year by the British Parliament’s Boys’ Reading Commission, the authors openly acknowledge sex differences and use a color-coded chart to illustrate boys’ and girls’ different reading preferences: girls prefer fiction, magazines, blogs and poetry; boys like comics, nonfiction and newspapers.
Most school reading assignments consist of worthless fiction. Nonfiction would be much better.

A NY Times writer defends fiction:
At a time when confirmation bias has never been more insidious, fiction may more effectively transmit hidden, difficult truths.

Nonfiction generally has the lead over fiction in being true: ...

But of course fiction also claims to be true. In Mary Shelley’s preface to “Frankenstein” (a preface that turns out to have been ghostwritten for her by Percy Bysshe Shelley), she (or he) says of her tale of the monster jolted to life by electricity, “However impossible as a physical fact,” it “affords a point of view . . . for the delineating of human passions more comprehensive and commanding than any which the ordinary relations of existing events can yield.” She (or he) adds, “I have thus endeavoured to preserve the truth of the elementary principles of human nature, while I have not scrupled to innovate upon their combinations.”
I don't know how serious she is. If you want to learn truths, reading Frankenstein is not the way.

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