Nothing to say about this, but the quoted bit is something I’ve been hearing about a lot lately from unpopular sources (successful teachers at conservative private schools or successful but unpopular teachers at public ones):

The Times – Neeeoww! Let’s stick up for boisterous boys<br/> Dreary coursework and earnest women teachers have let pupils down. Many prefer the excitement of sudden-death exams, by Libby Purves

As fewer and fewer primary teachers are men (rightly scared of demonisation as child molesters), a feminised culture rises. Boys, says the staffroom, are “exhausting”: lazy, aggressive, disrupters and debunkers, too fond of rude jokes. …

Quite apart from the literal feminisation of the teaching profession, even school routines militate against young male biology: as fewer children walk to school, boys arrive with natural surplus energy, which it is a torment to suppress. One primary school that used to start with a quiet assembly tried replacing it with ten minutes of energetic running at the start of the day: boys’ disruption in class fell away.

Various studies confirm the way that expectations of boys (trouble! disruptive!) can damage their education. In 1964 in California an experiment was carried out in which 132 five-year-olds were taught reading by a machine: both sexes reacted in the same way and the boys scored marginally higher. Taught conventionally by women teachers, boys’ scores dipped. The plea that teachers have to spend “three times more attention” on boys is countered by researched observations (in an Australian study of 2001) that actually, a lot of this attention is devoted to berating them for “inappropriate behaviour”. Some of which, of course, may be simply boisterousness: a more exuberant style of learning and reacting. Tiring, yes: but natural. Yet even at A level the poor lads suffer punitive assaults on their whole sex as they are forced to study feminist dystopianism like The Handmaid’s Tale alongside smugly pious girls.

For those of us who have been uneasy about this for years, and hated the growing triumphalism about girls outperforming boys, there was a considerable buzz in last week’s exam figures. GCSE coursework is a plodding, dreary business, less a test of knowledge and understanding than of compliance and tidy punctuality. It has ruled the roost under new Labour, but after various scandals is gradually being cut down in favour of the more daredevil, challenging ordeal of the “sudden death” exam where you have to pull out all the stops on one hot summer day.

They cut coursework from maths for this year: and what happens? After nearly 20 years of girls outdoing boys in that subject, the moment the coursework is dropped the boys surge slightly ahead. QED. It is only one small proof, but underlines the strong probability that the style, the ethos, the expectations of schools are demoralising boyish boys.

(Okay, I will say one thing slightly tangential to the whole thing: note how paranoia about molestors affects the situation twice. First, discouraging male teachers, leaving boys in the clutches of (what’s the opposite of misogyny?) women; then, discouraging parents from making their kids walk to school.)


Now I’m going to go off on a real tangent regarding my title: Somebody wrote an article (don’t remember where; probably The Times, but it was probably 4 in the morning and I didn’t send myself the link) about Teddy being not a womanizer but a slut. They had the wrong reason for it, though (something about equality, and women getting stuck with the more insulting term). A womanizer implies a certain debonair quality, but it would seem from everything I’ve read this week that he was more inclined to get drunk and randomly fall all over somebody of the opposite sex which, if you’ve known woman who’ve been like that, don’t get called “man-eaters.”

I know we’re not supposed to speak ill of the man, but I never knew how much everyone knew about him.