The Feminization of Canadian Education.
What is feminization? It is an act of making something geared towards females. There was a time in our society when boys were doing significantly better than their female counterparts in school. In 1971 68% of university graduates were male, compared to women who represented 38% of the graduates. (Fernette, Zeman, 2008).That is when our society decided to rage “The War against Boys”. In Canada, traditional teaching methods were altered to better suit the needs of young girls, completely disregarding the male students. After years of tweaking and altering the curriculum and teaching styles, we are now entering an era when the girls are leading in all walks of education while boys are struggling to keep up. Also, today boys are also much more likely than girls to be misdiagnosed with a learning or behavioral problem as they are expected to live up to the behavioral standards of girls. Boys are falling behind girls in all subjects but the literacy gap between the two genders has increased greatly. In an attempt to equalize academic achievement, our education system has been feminized leading to boys lagging behind.
Biologically boys tend to be more active and energetic, which has lead to the misdiagnoses of many boys with learning disabilities and behavioral problems. Research has revealed, compared to girls young boys are four times more likely to have autism, three times more likely to be diagnosed with learning disabilities i.e. dyslexia and three times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD(Hammer,2010). Which leads to the question, are some these boys misunderstood? “I think that sometimes they’re punished and expected to be seated quietly and admonished when they’re not conforming to some quiet, passive sorts of behaviors.” Says Douglas Grosse, professor at Nipissing University’s Schulich school of Education. Teachers tend to prefer children that are quieter and can sit still for periods of time, however young boys find this much more difficult than young girls to do so. The male brain is designed to renew and recharge by entering what is called the “rest state.”(Gurian, Stevens, 2004). During this state they may drift off to sleep without finishing an assignment, they may stop taking notes in class etc. To pay more attention boys may fidget, and tap pencils to stay awake which is often perceived as distracting and interruptive by teachers (Gurian,Stevens,2004).Abraham(2010) describes ADHD as a common childhood disorder with core features that include an inability to focus, and hyper and impulsive behavior. In Canada prescriptions for Ritalin (drug for ADHD) and amphetamine like drugs have increased to 2.9 million in 2009, which is a 55% increase in the last four years(Abraham,2010). Majority of these drugs are prescribed to children under the age of seventeen, and 75% of these drugs are prescribed to males (Abraham, 2010). This disproportionate data clearly suggests that teachers are often too quick to label an active boy with a disorder. “What are we drugging? Female teachers who don’t understand boys like to run and jump and shout-that’s what boys do.”says Jon Bradley professor of education at McGill University. According to Abraham (2010) Toronto parent Donald Bruce spent up to 1, 2000$ in psychological assessment for his daughter Megan who in grade 3 was reading in at the rate of a kindergartener. Donald recalls getting his daughter in a special class was a battle and that she was prescribed Ritalin in grade 7 for her disorder. The story was completely different when it came to their six year old son Zach who was earning A’s and B’s in school. During the first parent-teacher conference Zach’s teacher referred to him as “an active boy in class, vocal…a socializer” and suggested his parents to look into the drug Ritalin. Mr. Bruce sought professional help and a psychologist concluded that his son was perfectly normal. “We don’t have a biological test to rule out ADHD and that gives the rise to the possibility that ADHD maybe misdiagnosed or missed.” says Rosemary Tannock a psychologist at the Toronto Sick Kids Hospital. The normal active behavior of boys is misleading teachers to falsely diagnose many young boys.