Re: Gender Equality

Mbradford1@aol.com
Thu, 16 Oct 1997 09:22:51 -0400 (EDT)

Sheri writes:

<< But I wonder if the teachers there
are aware of what tends to happen in school in terms of gender and would
actively try their best not to encourage the boys more etc. The thing
is that all teachers, when asked, swear they DON'T do this, but
objectively looking at them in action showa that they do.
>>

I don't think you can even use this as a basis for comparison because it is
so totally unlike what goes on in a Sudbury school. I mean, there are no
classes, and the "teachers" don't have any authority. The staff members
don't even "encourage" anything, whatsoever. I used to teach in public
school, so I know what you are talking about. I don't dispute that the
teachers call on boys more, but I would also add that when you are standing
in front of the classroom, it is the boys that raise their hands and want to
be called on. It is not just that the teachers are foolishly calling on only
boys without realizing it. But a Sudbury school is so inherently different
that I don't think you can compare it at all to a typical classroom
situation.

I don't see how differential treatment by staff members that may go on could
possibly be addressed institutionally. I think the most likely way it would
get addressed is if a staff member treated a girl differently than a boy and
one of the kids or staff pointed it out to that staff member. As I said
before, staff members are very aware that they should treat all people with
respect, regardless of age, gender etc. Isn't that the whole point of the
Sudbury model? If a staff member is starting from that point, he or she is
going to work on the rest as part of this ever-changing and challenging
community.

- Melissa, LVS