När jag känner mig ensam och haveristisk brukar jag numera läsa om hur andra länder försöker rekrytera män till skola och förskola.
I really want to make this point: We concentrate on high school dropouts. They’re 16 or 17 when they drop out, but I postulate that they dropped out in Grade 6. They physically couldn’t drop out because they were little and that’s against the law. We make them stay. But if they are already failing in these academic subjects, if they already don’t think positively of school, if they already feel stifled in their environments, they’ve dropped out mentally. Their attitude towards learning, their attitude towards school and the whole notion of intellectual pursuits has been damaged, in some cases beyond repair. That happens in elementary school.
So we’re putting all these resources into high schools to fight the problem. By then it’s too late. If we want to make an impact on the dropout problem, we should start in Grade 4.
What should be done in Grade 4 then?
Three things: First, make classes smaller. All the research shows that classes of 28, 32 and 36 don’t work. That’s mob control, that’s not a learning environment.
Number two, balance the curriculum by making it more boy-friendly. Look at ways of engaging them.
Third, let’s look at gender-specific classes for some subjects.
Would having more male elementary teachers help?
I’m not convinced that the gender of the teachers is the main issue. But a child on the English side in Quebec can go through to high school without ever having had a male teacher.
How many men in one of our cohorts?
The percentage of males in elementary education at McGill has dropped during my tenure from about 20 per cent [then] to five per cent now. I can see the day soon where we graduate a class of B.Ed Elementary with not one male.
We have to ask ourselves some very fundamental questions. First of all: Is this OK? Is this just the way things happen? Maybe this is just evolution. But now we’re looking at other things: the use of Ritalin, a high dropout rate, bullying, gangs. You say: ”Wait a minute…Do these seemingly separate things have a root in female school environments in Grades 4 to 6?” It’s an interesting question. I wish I had another 25 years to look at this one.
Jag brukar försöka undvika den infekterade ADHD/Ritalindiskussionen, men här är en rapport som tycks beskriva fördelarna med att medicinera.