Dealing with Gender Gap in Our Schools; Opinion

The Journal (Newcastle, England), July 26, 2013 | Go to article overview

Dealing with Gender Gap in Our Schools; Opinion


Byline: Stephen Lambert

THERE are striking differences between the sexes in education, but experts are divided as to why young men do less well at every stage while young women do better than ever. There is evidence teachers are not as strict with boys. They are more likely to extend deadlines for their written work, to have lower expectations of them and be more tolerant of low level anti-social behaviour . Yet four out of five permanent exclusions from schools are male and there appears to be a growing laddish, anti-learning culture among some working-class white boys in many of our inner-city comprehensive schools.

Another key factor cited by sociologists is the sharp decline in traditional male jobs, in the face of which some young men have given up.

Many lack motivation and ambition, have low expectations and a low self-image. Too often this leads some into anti-social behaviour or low levels of criminality.

Although the number of unskilled jobs has rapidly declined in the last decade, employment opportunities for women in the service sector have increased. As a result, they have become more aspirational and are less likely to see having a home or family as their primary goal in life.

In a post-industrial city like Newcastle, many young women from all backgrounds have mothers in paid jobs, who in turn provide positive role models for them.

Many now acknowledge that their futures involve both paid employment, often in conjunction with parental responsibilities. They want a career and independence, and are more likely to attend college or university to attain these aims.

There is mounting evidence that girls work harder at school and are better motivated. Coursework seems to suit them, they put more energy into written work, spend more time on homework and tend to be better organised.

Finally, by the age of 16, young women are more mature than boys by up to two years, according to some experts. …

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